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Ten Oldest Universities in Nigeria:Establishment Year

by Omale Philip
Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife
6 Mins Read

Looking for information on the ten oldest universities in Nigeria? What are the first ten universities in Nigeria? There is a rapid increase in the number of universities in the country because more universities are being created. The country has a large number of public universities which are own by the government and private universities own by individuals or organization.

The oldest and first university in Nigeria was established in 1948 before the country’s independence. Since then, many higher education institutions have been created both Federal, State and Private universities.

Interested in knowing universities in Nigeria the oldest ten that were established? Below we have list the ten oldest universities in Nigeria and their establishment year.

Ten Oldest Universities in Nigeria and Their Year of Establishment

University of Ibadan (UI) – 1948

The University of Ibadan (UI) as it’s popularly known was established in the year 1948 and is the first and oldest university in Nigeria to be created. University of Ibadan is located in the city of Ibadan, Oyo state Western Nigeria.

UI originated from Yaba Higher College, Lagos which was established in 1932 after the college moved to Ibadan in 1948. There it was made a university and called University of Ibadan.

The University of Ibadan is also ranked best university in Nigeria apart from been the the first oldest university in the country. Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Bola Ige, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Kole Omotosho and several others are notable and famous alumni of the University of Ibadan.

The university boast of a total of 16 faculties: Agriculture, Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Education, Environmental Design and Management, Law, Multidisciplinary Studies, Pharmacy, Public Health, Renewable Natural Resources, Sciences, Social Sciences, Technology, and Veterinary Medicine.

University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) – 1960

The University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) as it’s popularly called is the second oldest university in Nigeria. UNN was established in the year 1960 and is located in Nsukka Enugu, Eastern Nigeria.

The popular University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) is home to many Nigerian students and those from eastern Nigeria. The university has three campuses each situated in – Nsukka, Enugu and Ituku Ozalla. A total of 19 faculties currently: faculty of Agriculture, Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Biological Science, Business Administration, Dentistry, Education, Health Sciences, Environmental Studies, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Public Health, Renewable Natural Resources, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Vocational Techincal Education.

The University of Nigeria Nsukka is not only one of the oldest Nigerian university is also listed in the best universities in Nigeria. UNN famous and notable alumni are Charles Soludo, Chris Ngige, Godwin Emefiele, Dora Akunyili, Peter Odili etc.

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife – 1961

The Obafemi Awolowo University also known as OAU occupies the 3rd position in the list of oldest Nigerian Universities and is ranked among the best university in Nigeria. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) was established as a university in the year 1961 after Nigeria got her independence, located in Ile-Ife, Osun Western Nigeria.

The school was previously known as University of Ife, but got it name changed to Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife in memory and remembrance of the efforts by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

The school is among the prefered university in the country and is home to many Nigerian students especially those from the West.

Currently, the university faculties are; Administration, Agriculture, Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Business Administration, Clinical Sciences, Dentistry, Education, Environmental Design and Management, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, Sciences, Social Sciences, Technology.

In the list of notable and prominent alumni of Obafemi Awolowo University are Jimoh Ibrahim, Femi Otedola, Olajumoke Adenowo, Oluwarotimi Odunayo, Akinwumi Adesina, Lai Mohammed.

READ ALSO: Top Ten Universities in Africa

Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria – 1962

The Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria also called ABU Zaria is the fourth oldest university in Nigerian that was created. Established in the year 1962 and is located in Zaria, Kaduna Northern Nigeria.

The higher institution was first known as School of Arabic Studies situated in Kano, then changed to University of Northern Nigeria after it moved to Zaria.

The university name got changed to Ahmedu Bello University after the first premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello. Currently, it’s home to a very large number of students from the North and among most prefered Nigerian Universities by high school leavers.

Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria is ranked as one of the best university in the country. ABU has Kongo and Samaru as it campuses and sixteen(16) faculties. Kongo campus houses faculty of administration and faculty of Law. While Samaru the main campus houses Faculty of Agriculture, Arts, Education, Engineering, Life Science, Physical Science, Environmental Design.

Former presisent of Nigeria Umaru Yar’adua Musa, Atiku Abubakar, Idris Legbo Kutigi, Nasir Ahmad El-rufai, Nuhu Ribadu are ABU Zaria notable and prominent alumni.

University of Lagos (UNILAG) – 1962

The University of Lagos is popularly called UNILAG, is among the first generation of universities in the country and is the fifth (5) oldest Nigerian university. The university was established in the year 1962 and is located in Lagos, South West of the country.

As a result to create more higher institutions in the country the University of Lagos was established and became one of the first generation university in Nigeria

The school offers various range of courses and bachelor, masters, Doctorate and Postgraduate programmes. The institution is a conventional university that is well sought after by many high school leavers.

University of Lagos has twelve Faculties currently – they are: faculty of Arts, Basic Medical Sciences, Business Administration, Clinical Sciences, Dental Sciences, Education, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Law, Pharmacy, Science, and Social Sciences. UNILAG two campuses are Akoka campus and Medical campus in Idi-araba, Surulere.

The university notable alumni known so far are Wale Adenuga, Chike Obi, Joke Silva, Lazarus Ekwueme etc.

University of Benin (UNIBEN) – 1970

The University of Benin UNIBEN as it’s popularly called is among the first generation university and oldest Nigerian university occupies the 6th position. Founded in 1970 and is located in Benin, Edo Southern Nigeria.

The school initially started as Institute of Technology then was established as a university and got it name changed to University of Benin. The institution is highly sought after by many high school graduates.

UNIBEN has 13 faculties and is the first university in Nigeria to have a female vice-chancellor who held the position for six (6) years.

Popular and notable alumni of UNIBEN are Richard Mofe Damijo actor in Nigeria film industry, Babatunde Fashola ex-governor of Lagos state, Bright Okpoch (Basket mouth) comedian, James Ibori Ex-governor of Delta state.

University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) – 1975

The University of Maiduguri UNIMAID is the seventh oldest university in Nigeria, established in 1975 and located in Maiduguri, Northern Nigeria.

UNIMAID was established as a result of the plan by the Federal government to expand and create more institutions in the country and is a public university that is focused on agricultural research and conflict management/resolution.

The university is sought after by many northern Nigerian students after University of Jos and Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. UNIMAID has 11 faculties which are agriculture, arts, dentistry, education, engineering, law, management science, pharmacy, science, social sciences, and veterinary medicine

One of University of Maiduguri prominent and notable alumni is Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai.

University of Calabar (UNICAL) – 1975

The University of Calabar is popularly called UNICAL is among Nigeria’s second generation university to be created. UNICAL is the eight (8) oldest university in Nigeria which was established in 1975 and located in Calabar, Cross River Southern Nigeria.

The university has quite an interesting history as male students in the school are called Malabites while their female students are called Malabressess. Coined from the name Malabo capital of Equatorial Guinea as a result of the challenges encountered by the university students which coincided with the hard suffering by some Nigerians who were deported at Malabo.

The University of Calabar had a tremendous development as it one of the universities in the country to automate students registration process through the college’s portal. Currently, the school has fourteen (14) faculties: agriculture, art, biological science, education, engineering, law, management sciences, physical sciences, social sciences

Notable and prominent alumni produced by the university are Godswill Akpabia, Stephanie Okereke, Reuben Abati, Kate Henshaw.

University of Jos (UNIJOS) – 1975

The University of Jos started as a satelite campus of the University of Ibadan in 1972. The institution is popularly known as UNIJOS and is among the second generation of universities in Nigeria.

UNIJOS is the Nineth (9) oldest university in Nigeria and was established as a university in 1975. Located in Jos, Plateau state North Central Nigeria. A total of 575 students in number when the university began it classes in 1975, the students were spread over the four faculties that existed then: Arts and Social sciences, Education, Natural sciences, and Medical sciences.

Over the years the University of Jos has offered diverse course and programmes to students and has made breakthrough in the research for malaria and snake venom.

University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) – 1975

The school is also another second generation university that was established, the university which is known popularly as UNILORIN is the tenth oldest Nigerian university established in 1975. Located in Ilorin, Kwara state, Northcentral Nigeria and is one of the top selected universities by many secondary school graduates reason been because of the university fast academic calendar.

The University of Ilorin is the higher institution in the country with the largest land mass of approximately 5000 hectares. UNILORIN has 15 faculties and the number of staff to student currently are 3000 and 29, 954.

Some of the notable alumni of the university are Femi Adebayo, Charles Ayo, Nkem Owoh, and Aize Obayan.

Here is a summary of the list of ten oldest universities in Nigeria. Among the Nigerian universities, the top oldest universities in Nigeria and their establishment year are;

  • University of Ibadan (UI) – 1948
  • University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) – 1960
  • Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) – 1961
  • Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria – 1962
  • University of Lagos (UNILAG) – 1962
  • University of Benin (UNIBEN) – 1970
  • University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) – 1975
  • University 0f Calabar (UNICAL) – 1975
  • University of Jos (UNIJOS) – 1975
  • University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) – 1975

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