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The 10 Oldest Universities In Nigeria

University education is very important. This is why everyone wants to get a bachelor’s degree and why there are so many undergraduates in Nigeria. 

In Nigeria today, almost every state can boast of at least 2 Universities – a federal and a state university. Before all these many universities came to be, there was a time when there was no University in Nigeria. Some Universities that are standing tall today are some of the very firsts to be established in the country.

1. University of Ibadan 

The University of Ibadan, or UI as it is also called, was founded in 1948 and is Nigeria’s first university. It was a College of the University of London in a special scheme until 1962, when it became a full-fledged autonomous university. 

The University, which began with academic programs in the arts, science, and medicine, has grown into a complete learning institution with academic programs in seventeen faculties. The University of Ibadan has a long and illustrious history, making it one of Africa’s most prominent universities.

2. University of Nigeria

The University of Nigeria Nsukka, or UNN, is a federal university in Nigeria’s Enugu State. It was founded by Nnamdi Azikiwe in 1955 and was inaugurated on October 7, 1960. It includes three campuses in Enugu State – Nsukka, Enugu, and Ituku-Ozalla – as well as an Aba campus in Abia State.

The University of Nigeria is the country’s first fully indigenous and independent university. It imitated the American educational system. It is Africa’s first land-grant University and one of Nigeria’s top five universities in terms of performance.

3. Obafemi Awolowo University

Obafemi Awolowo Institution (OAU) is a federal university in Osun State in the historic city of Ile-Ife. The University was founded in 1961 by the regional government of Western Nigeria, led by late chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. 

However, classes didn’t start until October 1962. On May 12, 1987, the university was renamed Obafemi Awolowo University in honor of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. As you should know, Awolowo was the first premier of the Western Region of Nigeria. Also, the University was his idea. 

4. University of Lagos

UNILAG might just be the most popular university in Nigeria. What’s certain is that it’s the 4th oldest university in Nigeria. It was formed in 1962 and is one of Nigeria’s five first-generation universities. In major education magazines, it is considered among the best universities in the world. 

UNILAG currently has three campuses. Two of its campuses are in Yaba while the College of Medicine is in Surulere’s Idi-Araba. The University currently enrolls about 57,000 students and admits over 9,000 undergraduate students each year.

5. Ahmadu Bello University

Ahmadu Bello University is one of the oldest public universities in Nigeria. It is located in Zaria, Kaduna State. Also known as ABU, this University was established on October 4, 1962. At the time, it was known as the University of Northern Nigeria. 

ABU had four faculties with 15 departments when it opened in 1962. There were only 426 students in total throughout all programs. As you would know, it’s named after Nigeria’s first Northern Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello. 

6. University of Benin

The University of Benin (UNIBEN) is a public research university in the south southern city of Benin in Edo State. It was created in 1970 and is a federal university. Before now, the University was known as the Institute of Technology. 

This University currently has an estimated 75,000 students. It has two main campuses, the Ugbowo Campus and Ekehuan Campus. The University is renowned for their College of Medical Sciences. Hence, it’s one of the best schools to study medicine in Nigeria. 

7. University of Port Harcourt

The University of Port Harcourt is a university in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It began as University College in 1975 and was declared a university in 1977. Notably, Times Higher Education (THE) placed the University of Port Harcourt sixth in Africa and first in Nigeria in 2015.

UNIPORT has made history by being the first institution in Nigeria to teach a group of nuclear engineers. The World Bank also awarded the University a grant to establish a center of excellence in oilfield chemicals.

8. University of Jos

In November 1971, the University of Jos was founded from a satellite campus of the University of Ibadan – the oldest University in Nigeria. The University was created as a separate school in October 1975 by the then-military administration of General Murtala Mohammed.

This 8th oldest University in Nigeria is located in Plateau State of which Jos is the capital. The admissions process is quite competitive. Engineering, medicine, law, science, and other disciplines of study are among the courses offered at the University of Jos.

9. Bayero University Kano

Bayero Institution Kano (BUK) is one of the oldest Nigerian universities located in Kano, Kano State. It was established in 1975, when Bayero University College was certified from university to university. It is Kano State’s first university and one of the firsts in Northern Nigeria. 

Before even becoming a University College, the University was previously known as the Ahmadu Bello College. It was first renamed after the Ahmadu Bello University was established. It’s named after Abdullahi Bayero, the then Emir of Kano. 

10. University of Maiduguri

The University of Maiduguri is located in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. It was founded in 1975 as one of the second-generation universities that were part of the Federal Military Government’s Third National Development Plan. 

The university did not have its own physical structures when it was founded. In April 1976 it took over the facility of the North East College of Arts and Science’s.

Bottom Line 

University of Ibadan is the oldest university in Nigeria. The school existed before Nigeria got her independence as was made a University not long after independence. After the University of Ibadan came other oldest universities as listed in this article.