Igbinedion University is the first private University in Nigeria, and it was established in the year 1999. Referred to as Igbinedion University, Okada (IOU), the University was founded by Sir Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion CFR, a billionaire, philanthropist and a prominent Benin Chief. The university which is located at Okada, headquarters of Ovia North-East Local Government Area, Edo state, has seven Colleges (and each college with its own library) namely: College of Law, College of Health Sciences, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, College of Business and Management Studies, College of Pharmacy, College of Engineering and College of Arts and Social Sciences. The University has both its undergraduate and graduate programmes accredited by the National Universities Commission and the relevant professional bodies such as; the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN (Medicine), Council of Legal Education (Law), Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN (Engineering), Computer Professional Council of Nigeria (Computer Science), and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN (Accounting). The accreditation of all the programmes including medicine, law, engineering and accounting by these bodies confirms the high quality of academic programme offered by the university.
IOU: Knowledge and Excellence
Though the university has a potential of about 5000 student population across all seven colleges, The University has actually produced well over 10,000 graduates in various undergraduate and postgraduate courses since its inception in 1999. The quality of the human resource and capabilities of these students are witnessed by the fact that they are well spread and engaged at reputable firms within and outside Nigeria.
The university has the motto, ‘Knowledge and Excellence’ and indeed, the motto has been a focal point and motivation both for the staff and students of the university. For example, the University has exhibited excellence by recording several landmark achievements. Some of these include; being the first Private University to produce medical doctors in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as producing the first private university graduate in 2006 to bag a first class at the highly competitive Nigeria Law School.
IOU: Local yet Global
The University has not rested on its laurels nor has it relaxed its set-out vision and mission; to be an internationally competitive university. The strategic relationships, external linkages and networks it has been establishing with ‘older and mentoring-capable’ universities and development partners is the attestation to this vision drive. For example, by March 2007, the university had established linkages with the University of Westminster (UK) in the areas of staff development, diplomatic studies and ICT and Howard University, USA (telemedicine and teleconferencing), and was finalizing an exchange programme with East Carolina University (USA) in the area of global development. The university was admitted into full membership of the Global University Network for Innovation, GUNI, based in Barcelona, Spain, the European Association for International Education, EAIE, and the Network towards Unity for Health (Maastricht, the Netherlands) amongst other external affiliations. It was also part of the Consortium of Development Partnerships, CDP, a conglomerate of universities, research institutions, governments and development partners in North America, Europe and West Africa. IUO’s Centre for Presidential Studies coordinated and continues to coordinate Module 8 of the CDP’s project on Local Contexts of Conflict and Peace-building in West Africa that involves researchers from Ghana, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, the Netherlands and Nigeria.
So as it is said, ‘the journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step’, it is not said whether that step is a ‘baby-step’ or a ‘giant step’. Given the manner of giant strides Igbinedion University has made since its establishment, it can be argued that it has been taking steps after the ‘giant’ order. While we ponder on those, we must celebrate the fact that it has paved the way for many other private universities to appear on the playing surface. A real trail blazer; Nigeria’s first private University; Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Nigeria.
Featured image source: Daily Times Nigeria