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Do You Know The First Public University in Nigeria?

Nigeria is a hub for academics; both in terms of institutions and human resources. This is evidenced by the millions of Nigerians, performing on astonishing and outstanding levels both locally and globally. In recent times, University education in Nigeria has been fast evolving at the speed of light; with the advent and establishment of so many public and private universities; almost on yearly basis, in order to meet with the numerous applications for admissions by secondary school leavers. But of the so many universities already existent, do you know the first of these Universities in Nigeria? Well, if you don’t, these articles seek to furnish you with that fact.

The first University in Nigeria is the University of Ibadan (formerly referred to as University College, Ibadan). Established on the 17 November 1948 (and which later became a full-fledged independent university in 1962), the University has the Motto, “Recte Sapere Fons” (To think straight is the fount of knowledge) and it is situated in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo state, Nigeria.

As a citadel of learning, it has (besides the College of Medicine), twelve other faculties. These faculties are as follows: Arts, Science, Agriculture and Forestry, Renewable Natural Resources, Social Sciences, Education, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Technology, Law, Public Health, and Dentistry. A thirteenth, Economics, Environmental Design and Management, has been in the pipeline.

The university is also well equipped with residential halls for accommodating the male and female students at all levels; Undergraduate and Post Graduate. These residential halls include at least the following: Mellanby Hall (male, undergraduate) which is the first residence hall in the university, named after Kenneth Mellanby, the first Principal of University College, Ibadan (1947–53). Another is Queen Elizabeth II Hall (female, undergraduate), which is the first female hall and named after Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the University of Ibadan in February 1956 and performed the formal opening ceremony of the Hall. There are also other halls such as; the Tedder Hall (male, undergraduate), named after Lord Tedder, Sultan Bello Hall (male, undergraduate), which is named after Muhammed Bello, grandfather of Ahmadu Bello and the Kuti Hall (male, undergraduate) which is named after the late Rev. Israel Oladotun Ransome Kuti.

Other more notable halls include the Obafemi Awolowo Hall (female, undergraduate and postgraduate) which represents the biggest hall in the University of Ibadan and, arguably, the biggest in the rest of West Africa. Then the Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall (male, undergraduate) which is commonly known as Zik Hall, and its occupants as Zikites. It accommodates 999 students every session and it is normally referred to as the Heartbeat of the University of Ibadan. It is also known as the Baluba Republic and shares a long-standing rivalry with Independence Hall. Zik Hall is well known for its “Aroism” — an avenue where Zikites make gest of themselves and other non-residents especially females. The other halls include; the Independence Hall (male, undergraduate), Tafawa Balewa Hall (mixed, postgraduate), Queen Idia Hall (female, undergraduate), Alexander Brown Hall and the Abdulsalam Abubakar Hall (mixed, postgraduate).

The University of Ibadan is also equipped with facilities such as internet cafés, Knowledge Hubs, cafeterias, laundry centres, mini-marts, press boards, common-rooms, gymnasia (in some halls), kitchenettes, etc. There are water and electricity supply. Electricity supply is also augmented by the inverter system. Football, table tennis and lawn tennis are sports often played and watched by students. In addition, the university has residential and sports facilities for staff and students on campus, as well as separate botanical and zoological gardens. In September 2016, it became the first Nigerian university to make the top 1000 in Times Higher Education rankings. Prior to that, it had always made the top African 10 in Webometrics Rankings.

The University of Ibadan has its Chancellor in the person of the Sultan of Sokoto, His Royal Highness, Saad Abubakar. It is affiliated with the Association of African Universities (AAU), Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

An institution of gigantic reputation, it is normal that men and women of calibre are alumni of such an institution. Some notable names that are Alumni of University of Ibadan include: John Omoniyi Abiri; a Nigerian academic, Sadique Abubakar; Nigeria Chief of Air Staff, Chinua Achebe; novelist, author of Things Fall Apart, Abdulganiyu Abdulrasaq; Lawyer, former President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Dapo Lam Adesina; Member of House of Representative for Ibadan North East/South Federal Constituency, Claude Ake; Professor of Political Economy, international scholar and social crusader. Others include Grace Alele-Williams; Nigeria’s first female Vice-Chancellor, Alexander Animalu; Emeritus Professor, former Director National Mathematical Centre, Abuja, Emeka Anyaoku; former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kayode Are; former National Security Adviser and former Director General of the State Security Service, Ladipo Ayodeji Banjo; Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan in 1984. Other notable names still include the writers, J. P. Clark and Chukwuemeka Ike, Funmi Iyanda; Nigerian talk show host, broadcaster, journalist, William Kumuyi; founder and General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry. James Meredith; a Civil Rights Movement figure, Michael Omolewa; former President of UNESCO General Conference and Ambassador of Nigeria to UNESCO, Ken Saro-Wiwa; the civil rights activist, Wole Soyinka; winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, and former EFCC boss, Farida Waziri.

One of the very notable sand landmark structures of the University is the Kenneth Dike Library; the central library with a large capacity for students, and housing books relating to virtually all fields of knowledge both in and outside the university community. The library is named after the first Vice-Chancellor of the University.

Featured image source: The Guardian Nigeria

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Jeremiah Aluwong

Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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