Obafemi Awolowo University

Obafemi Awolowo University

Obafemi Awolowo University Seal
Former names
University of Ife
Motto For Learning and Culture
Type Public
Established 1961
Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Elujoba (Acting)
Students about 35,000
Location Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria
7°31′06″N 4°31′22″E / 7.51833°N 4.52278°E / 7.51833; 4.52278Coordinates: 7°31′06″N 4°31′22″E / 7.51833°N 4.52278°E / 7.51833; 4.52278
Campus Urban 2,020 hectares (5,000 acres)
Colours Midnight Blue and Gold
Website www.oauife.edu.ng

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is a federal government[1] owned and operated Nigerian university. The university is in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. The university was founded in 1961 and classes commenced in October 1962[2][3] as the University of Ife by the regional government of Western Nigeria, led by late chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, and was renamed Obafemi Awolowo University on 12 May 1987 in honour of Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909–1987), first premier of the Western Region of Nigeria, whose brainchild the university was.[4]


The decision to establish the University of Ife (popularly referred to as "Great Ife"[5]) by the ruling Action Group party of the Western Region of Nigeria was in protest at the recommendations of the Ashby commission. The first Nigerian university was established in 1948 at Ibadan, in the western region as an external college of the university of London. However, the needs of Nigeria (then a British colony) far outstripped the productivity of the only university. In particular the University College at Ibadan had no faculty of engineering or technology, no law school, no pharmacy school or management training abilities. The Ashby commission, set up by the British, was to review tertiary education needs of the soon-to-be-independent nation of Nigeria.

In 1959, the Ashby commission recommended additional (regional) universities in the northern and eastern regions of Nigeria and another federal university in the Lagos protectorate, but none in the more educationally advanced western region which had a 'free and universal primary education' program. The government of the western region did not want to rely on the federal universities or those of other regions to admit its numerous secondary school leavers. The protest of the foundation of the University at Ife was not only in rebuttal to the perceived politicization of higher education opportunities in Nigeria and the western region but was also designed to fill the gaps in the manpower needs.

The Government of the Western Region of Nigeria first announced in 1960 its intention to establish as soon as possible a University in the Western Nigeria which would be of the highest standard, its policy was to open its doors to students from all parts of the Federation and of the world; in line with its belief in academic excellence. The planning of the University was entrusted to two committees. One a University Planning Committee comprising persons qualified to advise on the planning of a new University, and who in effect under look the preparatory work connected with the establishment of the University pending the setting up of the provisional council of the University: the other, a University Parliamentary Committee, which would be advisory to the Minister of Education, on 8 June 1961, the Law providing for the establishment of the Provisional council for the University was passed by the Legislature of the Western Region and on the 26th of the same month Provisional Council of the University was formally inaugurated under the chairmanship of Chief Rotimi Williams.[3]

On 11 June 1970, an edict known as the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Edict 1970, was promulgated by the Government of the Western State to replace the Provisional Council Law of 18 June 1961. This Edict had since been amended by the University Amendment Edict No 11 of 1975. This New Decree effected a take-over of the University by the Federal Military Government.[3]

The site selected for the University was Ile-Ife, a town about 65 kilometers north-east of Ibadan Oyo State. Ife is famous as the centre of an ancient civilization and the home of the Museum which contains the renowned Ife heads. It was intended that temporary buildings should be put on the site to enable teaching to commence in October 1962, while the permanent buildings were subsequently planned and erected. But when the Federal Government transferred the Ibadan Branch of the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology, to the University, it was decided that it would be unnecessary to put up temporary buildings at Ife, and the University was temporary located on the site of the Ibadan Branch of the Nigerian College. Teaching began in October with an initial enrolment of 244 students. The teaching, administration and technical staff. Either transferred from the Nigerian College of Art, or were newly recruited from abroad, numbered about 80.[3] In February 1966, Lt-Col Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, the Visitor of the University of Ife and the first Military Governor of the Western Region, appointed a tall man (Professor Hezekiah Oluwasanmi) as the new Vice-Chancellor, and a short man (Chief TT Solaru) as the pro-chancellor and gave them money and marching orders, to relocate to the permanent campus by October 1966. Fajuyi was killed in the military mutiny of July 1966 at Ibadan, and did not witness the movement he orchestrated. Fajuyi Hall, a residential hall for undergraduate male students was named to honor his contributions in perpetuity.

The University started with five faculties Agriculture, Arts, Economics and Social Studies (now Social Sciences), Law and Sciences. Eight other faculties have since been added, namely the Faculties, of Education established on 1 October 1967), the Faculty of Pharmacy (established on 1 October 1970), the Faculty of Administration which replaces the former institute of Administration (with effect from 1 October 1979) and the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management (established in April 1982). The Faculty of Health Science (established on 1 October 1970) is now a college, made up of three faculties, namely the Faculties of Basic Medical Sciences.[3]

Ife started the first Faculty of Pharmacy in West Africa, the first Department of Chemical Engineering and the first Electronics component in addition to Electrical Engineering.[6][7] Its medical school started with an integrated curriculum and community orientation (which was later adopted by the World Health Organization) and a compulsory baccalaureate (BSc honours) before entrance to the clinical school, but this was later jettisoned.

On 10 July 1999 members of the Black Axe Confraternity murdered the secretary-general of the students' union, George Iwilade, and several other student activists in the Obafemi Awolowo University massacre. The Education Minister Tunde Adeniran issued a statement acknowledging knowledge of the incident and that the ministry will treat the case with "utmost concern".[8]


Obafemi Awolowo University offers undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in fields of specialization spanning the humanities, the arts, the natural sciences, the social sciences, the medical sciences, engineering and technology.

The university has 13 faculties[9] and two colleges the Postgraduate College and the College of Health Sciences administered in more than 60 departments. It was previously associated with Loma Linda University in California, USA. Ever since the establishment of OAU, a total of 82 departments[10] have emerged with numerous courses offered. Below is the list of departments:


The first vice-chancellor of the new university was Professor Oladele Ajose (MD, PhD) a Glasgow University graduate and Nigeria's first professor of public health recruited from the University of Ibadan. He served from 1962 to 1966, until political upheavals and military coups led him to be replaced. The second vice-chancellor was Professor H. A. Oluwasanmi, who served from 1966 to 1975. Anthony Adebolu Elujoba, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, became the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University in July. The University Council's announcement of Professor Ayobami Taofeek Salami, on June 6, as the University Vice-Chancellor was greeted with sustained violence and rejection. The Council was eventually dissolved by the Federal Government and Salami was removed from the post. Prof. Elujoba is saddled with the responsibility of stabilizing the system.

It has produced among its staff, a Nobel Laureate, six Nigerian National Merit Award Winners and has pioneered kidney transplant in Nigeria through its medical staff.

Nigeria's only Nobel prize-winner (in literature) and the first African laureate, Wole Soyinka, served as professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Ife from 1975 to 1999. At the close of last millennium, he was appointed an emeritus professor of Dramatic Arts at the university.

Stephen Adebanji Akintoye served as Director of the Institute of African Studies from 1974 to 1977.


Campus and student life

The motto of the university is "For learning and culture". However, owing to the rigorous and exacting academic standards, students have parodied this motto to "For learning and torture".

In terms of research productivity, Ife is ranked as the most productive university in Nigeria by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and by Shanghai University world rankings as it relates to Africa. Ife has attracted young Nigerian students because, for a long time, it had no lower age limit for admission.

Enrollment is more than 20,000 for undergraduates and 6,000 for graduate studies. The major halls of undergraduate residences for males are Fajuyi, Awolowo, Angola and E.T.F. For women, halls of residence are Moremi, Ladoke Akintola, Alumni and Mozambique. Muritala Muhammed Hall is for postgraduates.

The university is endowed with modernist architecture - the campus layout and buildings were designed by Israeli architect Arieh Sharon. The original design and architecture are described in detail on the Arieh Sharon Foundation Web Site and Arieh Sharon Foundation Archive. The campus has an eye-catching landscape built on about 5,000 acres (20 km2) of a total of 13,000 acres (53 km2) of the land owned by the university.

Halls of Residence

Ile-Ife campus is built on about 5,000 acres (20 km2) of a total of 13,000 acres (53 km2) university owned land. Its halls of residence include:

The Male halls are Awolowo hall, Angola hall, ETF hall and Fajuyi hall. The female halls are Alumni hall, Ladoke Akintola hall, Moremi hall, Mozambique hall. The postgraduate hall, Murtala Muhammed hall is a mixed hall.[14]


The Sports Centre, prominently located in the central campus provides indoor and out-door sports such as table tennis, badminton, soccer, cricket, judo, track and field events that encourage staff and students to keep fit physically. The centre is equipped with ultra-modern facilities and the students participate in competitive sports such as the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), West African University’s Games(WAUG. There are also recreational facilities including basketball court, table tennis etc. in each of the halls of residence. The Staff Club, with its swimming pool is available for registered staff members and their guests. The University has a vibrant sports culture greatly motivated by an expansive sports center that has hosted 3 editions of Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) championships in 1970, 1984 and 2013.[15] The sports center is equipped with an IAAD-compliant swimming pool, tartan track, volleyball court, tennis court, squash court, hockey pitch, two football pitches(including one with a covered pavilion), gymnasium and an indoor multipurpose sports court.


The Central Library, known as Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library consists of two multi-storey wings strategically located in the heart of the campus. It has a seating capacity of 2,500 with the availability of internet access to books and journals. It is a depository for the publications of the United Nations and its Agencies including UNESCO, ILO and ECA. The Library collection includes over 300,000 titles and 762,000 volumes of monographs, government publications, theses and audio-visual material, in addition to the subscription of over 1,000 journals in hard format.[16] The Library collection is made easily accessible to users through online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), as the library’s circulation services are fully computerised. 297,352 records have been converted to electronic format as well as the digitization of its newspaper collection by online Computers Library Corporation Inc. (OCLC) of Ohio, USA.[6]

Information Technology and Communications Unit

OAU has a well-developed Information and Communication Technology (ICT) system with its own V-SAT access to the internet and a very efficient Intranet. Virtually every building in the central campus is connected and cybercafés are available in different parts of the campus. The internet access bandwidth has been increased from 39Mbit/s as at October 2011 to 183Mbit/s. The increase also led to the expansion of the internet facilities to all the halls of residence on campus.[6] INTECU is entirely responsible for developing Obafemi Awolowo University into Nigeria's leading ICT University with a campus wide network consisting of a continually expanding fibre optic backbone 23 Intra-Networked subnets and wireless access clouds (WiFi) distributed across what is regarded as one of the most beautiful estates in the world.[17]

Medical and health facilities

Medical and Health Services The Medical and Health Centre, with its medical doctors, nurses and medical health care workers is a primary health care centre, which provides hazardous primary health care services to the community, ensures poor health care, endangers lives of children and adults and provides health education services on demand. It operates a 24-hour service and has 16 bed spaces for admitting patients. The Health Centre is divided into nine functional units, namely, Medical Consultation Unit, Nursing Unit, Maternity Unit, Pharmacy Unit, Environmental Health Unit, Laboratory Unit, Radiology Unit, Records Unit, Central Administration Unit and Driving Unit. The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and the Tertiary Institution Health Insurance Scheme (TISHIP) is a scamacious tool used by the university management to syphon public funds. [6]


Great Ife has pursued research vigorously and the results have contributed immensely to human development in various ways.

The medical research facilities are embodied in the spawning teaching hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex comprising the Ife State Hospital, the Wesley Guild Hospital Ilesha, and Comprehensive Health Centers as well as the Multidisciplinary laboratories at the main University Campus. Original discovery/contribution of global import in medical research undertaken at University at ife include; the potential anti-sickling properties of fagara zanthoxylloides, mechanisms of chloroquine -induced pruritus, a pharmacogenetic variation common in blacks and linked to opiate receptors and which has expanded the neuroscience of pruritus, the role of eosinophilia in the pathogenesis of endomyocardial fibrosis (EMF), the role of thiamin deficiency induced by anaphe venata entomophagy, in the causation of Ijesha shakes or seasonal ataxic syndrome. Further neuropharmacological discoveries include the GABA-ergic sedative, antipsychotic, and anticonvulsant actions of Spondias mombin, a plant used for mental and neurological treatment by Nigerian herbalists and traditional healers. Others biomedical research discoveries undertaken on ground at ife include, the predominance of unipolar rather than bipolar mania, the practice of Yoruba traditional psychiatry, gynecomastia and prolactinemia induced by Cannabis -abuse, the efficacy of honey compared to Eusol in pediatric wound dressing and faster healing times, the antimicrobial properties of Acalypha Wilkensia and the hypoglycemic properties of local flora. Still other research discoveries include the etiology of renal diseases in black Africans, the rationalization of antihypertensive/anti-heart failure therapy in blacks, as well as the mechanisms and reversal of cardiac cachexia by inhibition of the renin -angiotensin system. Hypertension and hypertensive heart disease was shown to be the commonest cause of sudden cardiac death in Nigerians, in contrast to patterns in Western nations (mostly by acute myocardial infarction), and combined renin- angiotensin and sympathetic nervous inhibitors was demonstrated to reduce congestive heart failure mortality by up to 50% (www.nrgrgurdiannews.com. editorial, 18 March 1997).

The University Teaching Hospitals is consistently cited has a highly reputable teaching hospital based on his numerous records. it has served as a training site for Nigerian foreign-trained doctors, who are required to pass the medical licensing examination organized by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. The first Siamese twins to be separated in sub Saharan Africa was carried out at its teaching hospital, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital.[18] Consequently, the separation of Siamese twins has been successfully carried out on different occasions while successful cochlear implantation has been performed repeatedly in the otorhinolaryngology unit.[6] The university teaching hospital has a standard renal center with active renal replacement by hemodialysis, CAPD and renal transplantation. The gastroenterology unit is well equipped and manned by professors and residents in endoscopy and colonoscopy and who have undertaken research on gastroenterology of peptic ulcer disease and tumors associated with Helicobacter pyloris, Hepatitis B and C in collaboration with the Department of Pathology and Morbid Anatomy. Researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have investigated the high incidence of fraternal (dizygotic twinning) at the Ife-Ijesha zone and attributed it in part to polyovulation inducing phytoestrogens present in locally consumed yams. Other research from that department entails the mechanisms and risk factors for and prevention of maternal mortality and infertility.

The feat of the first Renal Transplantation to be undertaken by a Team of Indigenous Surgeons in any Public Institution in this Nigeria was successfully carried out in the Department of Surgery of the teaching hospital in May 2002. The ophthalmology unit has continued to practice modern techniques like the small incision cataract surgeries and is developing the Vitreo-Retinal Surgery unit. With over 250 laparoscopic surgeries performed since 2009 and a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic gastrointestinal, respiratory and urological endoscopic procedures performed on routine basis, the Department has blazed the trail in minimal access surgery and surgical endoscopy. All arrangement is being made to commence open heart surgery in the Department in the next few months.

Many lecturers in the Department are External Examiners and Visiting Professors to other Medical Schools in the country and a number serve as Examiners in the Postgraduate Medical Colleges. Ife alumni and faculty have won many national and international honors and distinctions including, a National Science Foundation Career award, MLK-MIT Fellowship, Bruce-Shonberg Awards for Neuro-epidemiology (2), Merck International Fellowships (3), Young Investigator Awards by several American Clinical or biomedical research societies (3) . Others are The Outstanding Young persons [ TOYP ] of Nigeria for academic accomplishments (2)organized by the Junior Chamber International, many international prestigious and distinguished Fellowships of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Surgeons, obstetrics and Gynecology, of the British Pharmacological Society, American College of Surgeons, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Association of Pediatrics American College of Cardiology, American College of Physicians and a membership of the International Order of Merit (IOM), and named professorships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Texas at Austin, Harvard University, and a Distinguished professorship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Ife alumni hold faculty positions or full professorships at Johns Hopkins University, Haverford College, Baylor College of Medicine, in addition to other institutions earlier mentioned. At least two Ife University alumni or former faculty have been awarded honorary doctorate degrees (D.Litt) in humanities in the UK and United States (Prof Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin, and Prof Olupona of Harvard University). Ife alumni and faculty have authored and co-authored many Textbooks and monographs in their respective fields of training.

The University pioneered research on chemotherapeutic effect of Fagara Xanthozyloides on sickle cell anaemia. Invention of locally useful machines such as yam pounding machine, cowpea sheller, palm oil digester and mechanical cassava pulveriser/sifter and fryer.[19] She pioneered the resuscitation and modernization of the traditional bronze-casting technology.[19] She also pioneered the introduction of entrepreneurship education at the undergraduate level and this has now been adopted nationally and by the National Universities Commission (NUC).[6] She is the leading ICT University with a bandwidth of 113 Mbit/s as well as a pioneer in iLab. The first iLab in Africa, south of Sahara was developed and established in OAU in collaboration with MIT.[20]

Externally Funded Centres by the Federal government and International agencies are sited in O.A.U. such as:

  1. The Centre for Energy Research and Development (CERD)[21]
  2. The National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM)[22]
  3. The African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education- English (ARCSSTE-E)[23][24]
  4. The United Nations Regional Centre for Training in Aerospace Survey (RECTAS)[25]
  5. Cooperative Information Network (COPINE)
  6. Centre for Industrial Research and Development (CIRD)
  7. Technology Policy and Development

Notable alumni

Government and politics



Arts & Media


Royalty and Society

Pastor (Mrs.) Faith Oyedepo, Living Faith Church inc. (AKA Winners Chapel)

The university has alumni groups outside Nigeria, the foremost being the Great Ife Alumni Association of the United States, headquartered in Houston, Texas, which spearheaded the now-traditional biennial reunions of the alumni for the primary purpose of raising funds for the development of the alma mater.

See also


  1. "LIST OF NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES AND YEARS FOUNDED". National Universities Commission. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  2. "Britannica Encyclopedia". Britannica. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "Brief History of the University". Obafemi Awolowo University. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  4. "The Foundation". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  5. "Nigeria: Great Ife at 50". All Africa. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Focal areas of the Commission, 20 January 2013" (PDF). National Universities Commission. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  7. Adewale, Stephen. "Stand up for Great Ife at 50". Pambazuka. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  8. "World: Africa - Arrests after Nigerian cult killings". BBC News. BBC. July 12, 1999. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  9. "Faculties". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  10. "Departments". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  11. Ogunyemi, Timilehin. "Departmental Website".
  12. Akingbade, Ibikunle. http://www.oauife.edu.ng/academics/faculties/administration/departments/mgt-acct/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. Akingbade, Ibikunle. "OAUIFE".
  14. "Halls of Residence". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  15. OYELEKE, SODIQ (September 5, 2013). "OAU unveils logo, mascot for NUGA". Punch. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  16. "Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library". OAU. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  17. "About Us". INTECU OAU. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  18. "OAU doctors separate Siamese twins". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  19. 1 2 "Jobs at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  20. "LINKING AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES WITH MIT ILABS". Carneige. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  21. "Center for Energy Research and Development". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  22. "National Centre for Technology Management". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  23. "The African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education- English". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  24. "The United nations Regional Centre for Training in aerospace Survey". Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  25. Kayode Fasua. "Oyakhilome, Jennifer saga: How NDLEA boss got the boot". National Mirror Online. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  26. "Standard Alliance Insurance (STDINSUR:Lagos)". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  27. "Abike Dabiri". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  28. "Twitter Homepage". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  29. "Members House of Representatives". Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  30. http://cde.williams.edu/files/2010/09/Toga-Gayewea-McIntosh-Bio.pdf
  31. "Nigeria's World Best Artist Visits United States." Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Washington, D.C. 25 April 2002. Retrieved on 3 January 2009.
  32. Adeniji, Olayiwola (2002-04-26). "For Dizzy K, a Centre of Joy". Africa News Service.
  33. "Why OAU Should Reverse That Fee Increment – By Adewale Stephen". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  34. "Dr. Dipo Fashina: Farewell To The Last Man Standing By Adewale Stephen". Sahara Reporters. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  35. "Africa's development: Time to abandon theory and confront reality". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  36. Olusegun Adeniyi
  37. "Akintunde Ibitayo Akinwande". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  38. "Olufemi Taiwo". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  39. Nahzeem Olufemi Mimiko
  40. "Professor Michael Faborode". Retrieved 28 March 2014.

External links

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