University of Ibadan

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University of Ibadan was founded in 1948 and is the oldest university in Nigeria. It was originally called University College, Ibadan then affiliated with London University. In 1962, the name was changed to the current form, the University of Ibadan sometimes called U.I. The university offers academic and professional programmes at the 'doctoral, master's, diploma and certificate levels through academic departments in the Faculties of Agriculture, Arts, Education, Science, Social Science, Technology, Dentistry, Pharmacy, veterinary medicine, the College of Medicine, and some academic institutes and centers. The University also has the largest number of postgraduate students in the country.'

The university's motto is 'for knowledge and sound judgement'.


In its early years, the university of Ibadan was sometimes described as a residential college of tutorials towards passing the external exams of the University of London degrees in arts, science, agriculture and medicine no much different from private citizens who sat for the same exam with the exception of offering group classes and a residence for students. It generated criticism sometimes described as ill-founded from many nationalist politicians.

Proposals for a university to be sited on West Africa soil dates back to the late nineteenth century when three notable English speaking West Africans, Africanus Horton, Edward Blyden and Casey Hayford advocated the establishment of a center for higher education. Though the creation of a college of higher learning met brick walls from both the colonial officers and residents in West Africa, prior to the founding of the University at Ibadan, British West Africa had three higher learning centers, one at Achimota, Fourah Bay College and Yaba Higher College.

In 1933, an Advisory Committee on Education in the colonies submitted a report on higher education which suggested the founding of higher education in the colonies following the mentalities and environment of the people as the demand for higher education among Africans was fulfilled with students attending universities abroad which was thought to have been designed for those particular areas. The report also suggested the proposed universities might be linked with the London University. Just before World War 2, British interest in developing the colonies and its resources with assistance from outside if necessary brought more interest in a university as a medium to develop the physical, mental and moral state of the colonies. An important commission, the Elliot Commission was set up to study higher education in West Africa and at the same time another was set up, the Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies under Justice Cyril Asquith. The Elliot commission submitted two reports to the secretary of state for the colonies, a majority report and a minority report. Both reports suggested the siting of a University at Ibadan. The Asquith Commission recommended the speedy set up of a university college towards the goal of becoming a university. The Asquith Commission also suggested that the universities should have a special relationship with the London University and appropriate funds under the colonial development and welfare act should be dedicated to the establishment of the university and the college should be residential.

In March, 1947, the secretary of state under the Labour controlled government approved the establishment of a university in Ibadan and in the Gold Coast after a delegation from the Inter-University council also recommended Ibadan. The delegation chose a site four miles from the city's center. In January, 1948, the University of Ibadan opened classes to a total of 104 students and a paltry two girls. The university was modeled after the British style of higher education and had the Inter-University Council on Higher Education in the colonies acting as paternalistic figure in recruitment and curriculum duties for the new college. In May 1947, a principal was designated for the proposed college in the person of Kenneth Mellenby. A temporary site comprised of the old army barracks in Ibadan and the General Hospital was chosen. In 1952, a new site of three square miles donated by the people of Ibadan served as the new site of the college. The university had a population of about 210 students in 1948, though Nigerians totaling 550 studied abroad partly because of the tough admission standards at Ibadan. In the first five years, the university administration was plagued by criticism bordering on racism in the recruitment of staff and also in its curriculum which was modeled after the University of London.

Funds totaling 1.5m pounds from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund was disbursed towards the establishment of the school. The library at Yaba Higher College was transfered to Ibadan and a new collections from the Henry Carr library, Dyke and Leeds Clergy libraries were added.

Academics and facilities

The University of Ibadan today is a national university with a strong focus on research. Apart from its core faculties it has a few attached institutes including Africa Regional Centre for Information Science, Institute of African Studies, Institute of Child Health, Institute of Education and Postgraduate Institute for Medical Research and Training. Its lecturers total about 1,077 with a student population of about 20,000 plus. The Institute of African Studies was a precursor of the archaeology department and carried noteworthy excavations in the country.


In 1952, legislation was promulgated establishing University College Hospital as the teaching hospital of U.I, construction followed in 1953 and the hospital was formally opened in 1957. The site was located two miles from the university. The cost of construction and equipping totaled about $5m.

Kenneth Dike Library

The University's library is the oldest of such institutions established in the country and was designed to supplement teaching and research efforts on campus. Prior to the establishment of the National Library in 1964, the library was the national depository of books published about Nigeria and produced in Nigeria. Before the mid 1970s, the library was highly rated in par with many American and European counterparts. However, the economic downturn experienced in the country resulted in the reduction of journal subscription from the height of about 6,000 journals in the 1970s to about 317 titles in 1989. In the late 1990s, the number of matriculated students registered with the library was 50% of the total. (2) As at 2000, it had a total of 700,000 volumes of books.

Nowadays, a predominant number of students use the internet and electronic resources available as a reference point for academic work.


In his book, 'Power and Privilege in an African University published in 1980, the author, Pierre Van den Berghe described the inherited expatriate behaviour of the senior academic staff as "mandarinate" with a large number of staff members regarding the college as proprietary and participate strongly in the governance of the university. Thereby internal institutional politics is a major form of topic among lecturers.

At Ibadan, there are two important instruments of governance, the university senate and the council. The former advices on the appointment of academics to senior posts including two year appointments of deanships. (1) Day to day affairs of the university is under the affairs of the two deputy vice chancellors of Administration and Academics, while a Vice Chancellor oversees both.


In literature, the University has produced notable writers and poets such as Abiola Irele, John Pepper Clark, Omolara Ogundipe, Wole Soyinka, Christopher Okigbo,

External links


  • (1)Thomas Owen Eisemon. African Academics: A Study of Scientists at the Universities of Ibadan and Nairobi, he ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 3 1980; vol. 448: pp. 126 - 138.
  • (2)Georgina Dien Ekpenyong. Marketing and Promotion of Information Services in the University of Ibadan Library, Information Development, 9 2003; vol. 19: pp. 197 - 202
  • Nduka Okafor. The Development of Universities in Nigeria