By Nehi Igbinijesu.
Did you know that the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s oldest university, was started in 1932 as Yaba College, Lagos before being transferred to Ibadan in 1948?
Founded on 17 November 1948, the University College Ibadan (as it was known) was originally instituted to be a satellite college of the University of London. Designed by British architects, the school’s native ambience showed remarkable promise of becoming the academic Mecca of Africa. And indeed it was for a while, boasting of academic icons like Chinua Achebe, author of Things Fall Apart; Wole Soyinka, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature; Odia Ofeimun ( a popular poet and guerilla journalist); Jacob Ade Ajayi (a foremost maverick of African History); John Pepper Clark ( an iconic playwright and poet); Emeka Anyaoku (former Secretary-General to the Commonwealth); Farida Waziri (former Chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission); Grace Alele- Williams (Nigeria’s first female University Vice-Chancellor); and a great host of others.
In his book, The Succession Crisis In Nigeria, Pastor Wale Adefarasin gives an account of the hope Ambassador Walter Carrington drew from the inception of the University when he first visited as a Peace Corps member. He further took to account the Ambassador’s dismay upon a recent visit to Nigeria’s premier university; a decline so reminiscent of the decay in Nigeria’s education system.
The University College Ibadan was renamed University of Ibadan when it became an independent university in 1962. Rt. Hon. Tafawa Balewa and Professor Kenneth Onwuka Dike were it’s first indigenous Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor respectively upon the departure of the British at independence.
Primarily residential in its design, the University of Ibadan accommodates both undergraduate and post-graduate students in twelve halls.
The University student body’s vocal stance about social injustice in society has never waned, recent of which was its active role in the anti-subsidy protests of January 2012.
It is desired that one day the University, like its contemporaries around the world, will be a hot- bed for start-ups and innovations that will transform Nigeria.