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Top 10 Oldest Universities in Nigeria - When and How They Founded

Nigeria already had its first university before independence and the number of universities in Nigeria has continued to grow since then. Now it is no longer just about the government, but also about private individuals. The motivation has always been to meet the steadily growing demands on further education in the country. So many people, especially the youngsters who have not yet had to make a decision for a higher institution, do not know exactly which one is which. It is very useful for them to learn about the first universities that were founded in our noble land, as it is always believed that even as they age, they have the best educational institutions, resources and reputations.

So here are the oldest universities in Nigeria:

1. University of Ibadan (UI), Oyo - 1948

The University of Ibadan which was founded in Ibadan in 1984 metamorphosis from Yaba Higher College. Yaba High College was founded in Yaba, Lagos in 1932 as the first tertiary educational institution in Nigeria. However, as the need for a university became more pressing in 1948, the college's staff were transferred to establish the University of Ibadan as an external college to the University of London, and the college's premises were used for the new Yaba College of Technology. RT. Hon. Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, first prime minister of independent Nigeria, was the first chancellor, while Kenneth Dike was the first Nigerian vice-chancellor of the university, after which the library of the University of Ibadan is named. The University's current Vice Chancellor is Isaac F. Adewole. Although the University of Ibadan is the oldest, it is currently one of the top Nigerian universities.

2. University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State - 1960

It was the search for a university in the eastern part of Nigeria that gave rise to the University of Nigeria. A law in support of this search was passed on May 18, 1955, and the university was officially opened on October 7, 1960. Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Kent represented Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Nigerian Independence celebrations, conducted the opening ceremonies and laid the foundation stone for one of the university's early buildings. The first female vice chancellor of the university was Dr. George Marion Johnson, while her current VC is Professor Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba. The University of Nigeria (UNN) was the first fully-fledged indigenous and first autonomous university in Nigeria. It is still one of the best and most sought after universities in Nigeria.

3. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Efe - 1961

The Obafemi Awolowo University was founded in 2000 as the University of Ife was the brainchild of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. It was renamed Obafemi Awolowo University on May 12, 1987. The decision to establish this facility was in response to Western excitement over the need for a higher institution to provide the education of their many high school graduates at the time. The cause of the uproar was the then Ashby Commission's plan to build additional universities in northern and eastern Nigeria without considering the west. On June 8, 1961, the Law Establishing the Provisional Council for the University was passed by the Legislature of the Western Region, and on the 26th of that month the University Provisional Council was officially inaugurated, chaired by Chief Rotimi Williams. OAU is also one of the highly recommended universities in Nigeria.

4. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria - 1962

The School of Arabic Studies in Kano was the starting point of the Ahmadu Bello University. The school was expanded from the northern region to the Ahmadu Bello University of Arabic and Islamic Studies, named after the region's dominant political leader, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello. This came before the plans in the Ashby Commission report were implemented to create additional universities to meet the academic needs of the country. However, the recommendations of the Ashby Commission's report provided a better direction and it was ultimately decided to build a university in northern Nigeria in Zaria (instead of Kano). The university took over the facilities of the Nigerian College of Art, Science and Technology in Samaru near Zaria and built the Ahmadu Bello College in Kano, the Agricultural Research Institute in Samaru, the Administrative Institute in Zaria and the Veterinary Research Institute in Vom on the Jos Plateau. The law establishing the new university was passed by the North Region legislature in 1961. It was decided to name the university after Ahmadu Bello.

5. The University of Lagos, Lagos State - 1962

The establishment of the University of Lagos wasThis was done in Nigeria's drive to invest in the training of professional workers in order to achieve rapid industrialization and post-independence development. The indispensable need to create more universities to achieve this goal facilitated the creation of the University of Lagos. The Ashby Commission's report, "Investing in Education", recommended the establishment of a new university in Lagos, the then federal capital, to provide education for students in the fields of economics, commerce, business administration and university management. In 1961, the Federal Government commissioned the UNESCO Advisory Commission with the detailed planning of the new university, and on October 22, 1962, the University of Lagos was founded at the instigation of the Law on the University of Lagos of Lagos.

6. University of Benin, Edo - 1970

The University of Benin in the city of Benin, Edo State was founded in 1970. It began as an institute of technology and was declared a full-fledged institute by the National University Commission (NUC) on July 1, 1971. Mid-Western State Governor Colonel SO Ogbemudia (also a visitor to the university at the time) officially renamed the Institute of Technology known in University of Benin. On April 1, 1975, at the request of the state government, the university was taken over by the federal government and converted into a federal university. Today the University of Benin has one of the best medical schools in Nigeria.

7. Maiduguri University, Borno - 1975

Maiduguri University was approved by the federal government in 1975 as part of the Third Development Plan, which emphasizes the creation of more universities in the country. It was the government's intention to make the facility one of the most important higher education institutions in the country. The University of Maiduguri is located in the Nigerian state of Borno and now has over 34,000 students from all over the world. Her current VC is Professor M. M. Daura.

8. The University of Calabar, Cross River - 1975

The University of Calabar is one of the second generation Nigerian universities. The university was a campus of the University of Nigeria until 1975. The male students are known as Malabites, while the female students are Malabressen. The male hostel is called Malabo. This was the result of challenges faced by the students at a time that coincided with the plight of Nigerian deportees from Equatorial Guinea (whose capital is Malabo) in Malabo. The University of Calabar was one of the leading Nigerian universities to automate student enrollment processes through the college portal. The school is located in Calabar, the capital of the state of Cross River.

9. University of Jos - 1975

What became the University of Jos was founded in November 1971 as a satellite campus of the University of Ibadan. The first students were admitted in January 1972 as pre-students with the first Bachelor of Arts course from October 1973. In October 1975, the then military government under General Murtala Mohammed founded UniJos as an independent institution. The first Vice Chancellor of UniJos was Professor Gilbert Onuaguluchi. Classes began at the reorganized Jos University in October 1976 with 575 students spread across the four faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Education, Science and Medicine. UniJos currently has around 30,000 students, with Prof. Hayward B. Mafuyai being the current Vice Chancellor.

10. The University of Ilorin, Kwara State - 1975

The University of Ilorin was initially a University College, established in 1975 under the direction of the then Director, Dr. T.N. Tamuno. In 1975, the ruling military government passed a decree establishing the university. Subsequently, in October 1977, with the appointment of the then Rector, Professor O.O. Akinkugbe, for the first Vice Chancellor the status of full autonomy. Former Vice Chancellor Professor Is-haq Oloyede is the first Unilorin graduate to hold this position. The workforce and student population are currently around 3,040 and 20,084, respectively. The institution is one of the universities in Nigeria that tops the list of the best Nigerian universities.

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