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The 13 Oldest Universities in Nigeria

The 13 Oldest Universities in Nigeria – Nigeria has a long history of higher education, with the first universities being established during the colonial era in the 1940s. Since then, the country’s university system has expanded rapidly to over 150 institutions today. Nigeria’s oldest universities have played a pivotal role in educating some of the country’s greatest leaders, innovators and thinkers for over half a century.The 13 Oldest Universities in Nigeria

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of Nigeria’s 14 oldest universities, highlighting when they were established, their key features, and locations. Understanding the history and evolution of these important institutions provides insight into the development of higher education in Africa’s most populous country.

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The 15 Oldest University in Nigeria Are:

1. University of Ibadan (est. 1948)

The University of Ibadan is Nigeria’s oldest university, established in 1948. Located in Oyo State in southwestern Nigeria, it began as an affiliate college of the University of London. The university was founded by the regional government partly in response to the need for qualified staff to take over from the colonial administration.

A major feature of Ibadan is its sprawling campus which covers over 2,000 acres of land. It has a large student population of over 35,000 students. Ibadan is composed of 13 faculties including arts, science, education, agriculture, veterinary medicine, technology, law, public health, pharmacy and dentistry. The university teaches a broad range of courses and has a strong research focus. Prominent alumni from Ibadan include author Chinua Achebe and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

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2. University of Nigeria, Nsukka (est. 1960)

Founded in 1960, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) is Nigeria’s first autonomous university. Based in Enugu State, UNN was established following Nigeria’s independence to promote national unity and accelerate decolonization.

A major landmark, UNN has three campuses in Nsukka, Enugu, and Ituku-Ozalla. It incorporates 15 faculties, over 100 academic departments and extensive research centers and libraries. Originally focused on arts, sciences and medicine, UNN has expanded to broad fields including agriculture, engineering, law, education and veterinary medicine. Notable alumni include late author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

3. Ahmadu Bello University (est. 1962)

Located in Zaria, Kaduna State, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) was founded in 1962 as the University of Northern Nigeria, before changing its name in honor of Sardauna of Sokoto Sir Ahmadu Bello.

With its motto “Work and Worship”, ABU has a strong Islamic culture and major facilities for Islamic studies. It maintains a large central campus along with teaching hospitals, agricultural centers and engineering workshops. ABU incorporates two “mega faculties” – arts/social sciences/education and sciences/medicine/pharmaceutical sciences, along with faculties for law, administration, environmental design and agriculture. Alumni include former Nigerian president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.Good morning My Love Message

4. University of Lagos (est. 1962)

The University of Lagos, popularly known as Unilag, was established in 1962 as an affiliate of the University of London. Located in Lagos State, Unilag is one of Nigeria’s largest universities with over 60,000 students.

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Unilag incorporates multiple campuses and colleges focused on arts, sciences, medicine, engineering, social sciences, law and education. It has a sprawling main campus located in Akoka, Lagos. Unilag has been recognized for pioneering petroleum engineering and marine sciences programs in Nigeria. Notable alumni include late activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and novelist Lola Shoneyin.

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5. Obafemi Awolowo University (est. 1962)

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) was established in 1962 as the University of Ife, before being renamed in honor of Nigerian statesman Obafemi Awolowo. Located in Osun State, OAU has a picturesque campus situated on expansive forested lands.

OAU comprises major faculties of administration, agriculture, arts, education, environmental design, law, pharmacy, sciences, social sciences, technology and a college of health sciences. It also manages one of the largest university teaching hospitals in Nigeria. Prominent OAU alumni include Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and late afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.Romantic love message

6. University of Ilorin (est. 1975)

Founded in 1975, the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) is one of Nigeria’s largest universities with over 50,000 students. Unilorin is located in Kwara State with a campus spanning 15,000 acres of land.

Unilorin incorporates 12 faculties offering academic programs in arts, education, engineering, law, life sciences, management sciences, pharmacy, physical sciences, social sciences and veterinary medicine. As a leading research university, Unilorin houses several specialized centers and institutes. Notable alumni include mathematician Olabisi Ugbebor and Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.

7. Bayero University Kano (est. 1977)

Situated in northern Nigeria’s major commercial hub Kano, Bayero University was founded in 1977. Named after Islamic scholar Abdullahi Bayero, the university has a strong focus on Islamic and African studies. Its faculties include agriculture, arts and Islamic studies, education, engineering, law, life sciences, medicine, earth and environmental studies, pharmacy and physical sciences.

The university has two main campuses – Old Campus adjacent to the city center, and New Campus located in a more spacious setting. Bayero University alumni include former heads of state Abdulsalami Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari.

8. University of Calabar (est. 1975)

The University of Calabar was established by the federal government in 1975 as part of a wider initiative to expand university education across all regions of the country. Located in Cross River State in Nigeria’s deep south, it has a serene campus situated near the Calabar River.NYSC Portal

The university’s academic divisions include agriculture, arts, biological sciences, clinical sciences, dentistry, environmental sciences, graduate studies, law, medicine and pharmaceutical sciences. It runs specialized institutes and centers focusing on malaria research, governance and development, health and tourism. Notable alumni include Nigerian track star Mercy Nku and former minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

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9. Usmanu Danfodiyo University (est. 1975)

Usmanu Danfodiyo University, located in Sokoto State, was established in 1975 as part of a drive to expand higher education in northern Nigeria. The university is named after Islamic scholar and 19th century ruler Usman Dan Fodio and has a strong focus on Islamic studies and law.

UDU incorporates faculties of agriculture, arts and languages, education, engineering, law, pharmaceutical sciences, sciences, social sciences, and veterinary medicine. It manages over 50,000 students on its main campus located near Sokoto metropolis. Notable alumni include Nigerian Defense Academy first commandant Muhammadu Buhari.

10. University of Port Harcourt (est. 1975)

The University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) was founded in 1975 in Rivers State, within the oil-rich Niger Delta region. UNIPORT has faculties of humanities, social sciences, education, engineering, agriculture, management sciences, natural and applied sciences.

UNIPORT is located in the state’s capital city Port Harcourt, with additional campuses in Aluu and Okrika. It is acclaimed for its oil and gas, geosciences and marine engineering programs. Prominent alumni include Nigerian authors Elechi Amadi and Ben Okri.

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11. Olabisi Onabanjo University (est. 1982)

Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) was established in 1982 and named after Nigerian politician Olabisi Onabanjo, who was governor of Ogun State 1979-1983. It has its main campus located in Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State and additional campuses in Sagamu and Ijebu-Igbo.Information guide Nigeria

OOU comprises six faculties offering academic programs in arts, education, engineering, law, sciences, social and management sciences. It also has colleges focused on health sciences and medicine. Alumni of the university include human rights activist Femi Falana and businessman Aliko Dangote.

12. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (est. 1990)

The Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is one of Nigeria’s specialty universities focused on technical and science-based education. LAUTECH was founded in 1990 in Ogbomoso, Oyo State as part of a drive to expand technical skills and applied knowledge in the country.

With the motto “Technology for Service”, LAUTECH has six major faculties and one college that provide teaching and research in fields like engineering, environmental sciences, management sciences, pure and applied sciences, technology and medicine. Notable alumni include mathematician Oluwasanmi Koyejo.

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13. Niger Delta University (est. 2000)

One of Nigeria’s newer universities, the Niger Delta University (NDU) was established in 2000 by the Bayelsa State government. Located in the southern oil-rich Niger Delta, NDU aims to accelerate education and development in the region.JAMB portal

NDU’s faculties and departments focus on fields like agriculture, arts, education, engineering, law, pharmacy, sciences, social sciences and medicine. It maintains campuses in Amassoma, Bayelsa State and Okolobiri, Delta State. Notable alumni include Nigerian professional basketball player Festus Ezeli.


Nigeria’s oldest universities have rich histories extending back over 70 years. These institutions have played an integral role in Nigeria’s national development by educating generations of scientists, writers, doctors, lawyers, engineers and other important professionals.

While each university has its own unique features and specializations, some common traits include large campuses, strong Nigerian traditions, diverse academic faculties and departments, and many accomplished alumni. These universities will continue shaping Nigeria’s future by conducting vital research and producing the country’s next leaders.

This overview provides insight into 15 pioneering universities that laid the foundations for quality higher education across Nigeria. Their enduring legacies and traditions will continue inspiring current and future university students to excel in their academic and professional careers.

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