10 Oldest Universities in Nigeria

Nigeria recognizes 170 universities which can make choosing the best university to study confusing. Without mincing words, federal universities that have lasted a lifetime are better options. Because they’ve stood the test of time and are still forging ahead.

The reason this article promises to walk you through the top 10 oldest universities in Nigeria.

10. University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) – 1975

The University of Ilorin is a federal government-owned institution, founded and established by a decree of the federal military government in August 1975.

UNILORIN isn’t only among the top 10 ancient universities in Nigeria alone, it is one of the cheapest as well and it is located in the capital city of Kwara state, Ilorin.

As of 2021, the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) revealed that UNILORIN was the most sought-after university among prospective undergraduates in Nigeria.

UNILORIN came into existence in 1975 and has made 15 different faculties available for aspiring students. A few of them include.

  • Law.
  • Veterinary medicine.
  • Basic Medical Sciences, and Clinical Sciences.
  • Communication and Information Technology.
  • Physical Sciences.
  • Arts. Management sciences.
  • Agriculture.
  • Engineering and Technology.

9. University of Jos (UNIJOS) – 1975

The University of Jos originated from being the satellite campus of the University of Ibadan in 1971. It wasn’t until 1972 that UNIJOS started lectures for pre-degree students and a year later, started the Bachelor of Art degrees in 1973.

The University of Jos was established as a separate institution by the then-military regime of General Murtala Mohammed in October 1975. Professor Gilbert Onuaguluchi was the first Vice-Chancellor of UNIJOS. Classes began in October 1976 at the newly reorganized University of Jos, with 575 students spread across the four existing faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Education, Natural Sciences, and Medical Sciences.

In 1977, post-graduate programs were introduced. By 1978, the faculties of law and environmental sciences had been established, while the faculties of arts and social sciences had been divided.

8. University of Maiduguri (UNIMED) – 1975

The University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) is a Federal higher institution located in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State in northeast Nigeria. The university was created by the federal government of Nigeria in 1975, with the intention of it becoming one of the country’s principal higher-education institutions.

With the encouragement of the federal government, the university has recently been increasing its research efforts, particularly in the fields of agriculture, medicine and conflict resolution, and expanding the university press. The university is the major higher institution of learning in the north-eastern part of the country.

UNIMED students enjoy good roads, a good power supply, and a breathtaking library. As well as standardized building structures.

7. University of Calabar (UNICAL) – 1975

The University of Calabar may be in 7th position in our list of the oldest universities in Nigeria. Nevertheless, it is the first university to grant students easier registration processing through the college portal.

What became a full-time federal university, started as one of the Nsukka campuses. In 1975, the story changed with the inception of UNICAL, founded in Calabar, the capital of Cross Rivers.

This school comprises four affiliate tertiary institutions and fourteen different faculties.

6. University of Benin (UNIBEN) – 1970

UNIBEN is the first university in the country that offers pharmacy students a doctorate in pharmacy (Pharm.D). The institute of technology created in 1970 gave rise to this university. It is situated in Edo State on the outskirts of Benin.

UNIBEN badged its full accreditation from NUC on the 1st of July 1971. And became the property of the federal republic of Nigeria on the 1st of April 1975. This ancient school continues to strive and develop to become one of the best universities to study medicine.

5. University of Lagos (UNILAG) – 1962

UNILAG was established in 1962, two years after Nigeria gained independence from Britain. It was one of the country’s first five universities, now known as “first generation universities.” Eni Njoku was appointed as the university’s first black vice-chancellor in 1962, and he served until 1965, when he was succeeded by Saburi Biobaku.

Saburi, however, was stabbed by Kayode Adams, a student radical who believed Biobaku’s appointment was unfair and ethnically motivated.

UNILAG currently has three campuses on Lagos’s mainland. While two of its campuses are in Yaba (the main campus in Akoka and the newly created campus at the former school of radiography), the college of medicine is in Idi-Araba, Surulere. Its main campus, which spans 802 acres, is largely surrounded by the Lagos lagoon. Currently, the University of Lagos admits over 9,000 undergraduate students per year and enrolls over 57,000 students.

4. Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) – 1962

Named after Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardana of Sokoto, also, the first premier in northern Nigeria. This school boasts of housing the largest teaching hospital in the federal republic of Nigeria.

ABU became the successor of Arabic studies in Kano State. This happened when the Arabic studies school location changed from Kano to Zaria.

Birthed on the 22nd of December 1962, it’s located in Zaria, Kaduna state. ABU has just two campuses; the Samaru and Kongo campuses.

3. Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) – 1962

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is a federal government-owned university that is located in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. The university was founded in 1961 and classes commenced in October 1962 as the “University of Ife” by the regional government of Western Nigeria, which was led by Samuel Ladoke Akintola, and was renamed “Obafemi Awolowo University” on 12 May 1987 in honour of Obafemi Awolowo (1909–1987), the first premier of the Western Region of Nigeria, whose idea the university was.

The school formerly called “University of Ife”, became “Obafemi Awolowo University in 1987.” This was in honor of Obafemi Awolowo, the man behind its existence and success.

2. University of Nigeria, Nsukka – 1960

The big brain behind the establishment of this university in 1955 is no one else but Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He was the premier of the western region at that time.

UNN is an autonomous university because it is the first university to award its graduates a Nigerian degree. You’d find this tertiary institution at Nsukka, Enugu state.

Although created in 1955, lectures didn’t start in the school until the 17th of October 1960, after independence.

1. University of Ibadan (UI) – 1948

The University of Ibadan (UI) is the oldest university in Nigeria. The university was founded in 1948 as University College Ibadan, one of many colleges within the University of London. It became an independent university in 1962 and is the oldest degree-awarding institution in Nigeria.

The Yaba high college created in 1932, birthed the university of Ibadan after its location changed from Lagos to Ibadan. This college focused on providing post-secondary vocational knowledge.

Being the pioneer university in Nigeria, universities such as the University of Jos (UNIJOS) and the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), all came out from the University of Ibadan.

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