Obafemi Awolowo University

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Obafemi Awolowo University
Former names
University of Ife
MottoFor Learning and Culture
ChancellorEtsu Yahaya Abubakar
Vice-ChancellorEyitope Ogunbodede
Studentsabout 35,000
Location, ,
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
CampusUrban 2,020 hectares (5,000 acres)
ColoursMidnight Blue and Gold
Main Campus, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is a federal government owned university located in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria.[1] The university was founded in 1961 and classes commenced in October 1962 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.[2][3][4]


In 1951, with the adoption of a new constitution, there came major changes within the regions which meant elected legislators and regional premiers.[5] The new regional governments proceeded to make expansion of primary and secondary education a policy priority. An underlying purpose of these expansion was the view that education was an important agent of transformation and development. In 1959, the Federal Minister of Education created a commission to research the country's future manpower needs of university graduates specifically for the years between 1960 and 1980.[6] The commission was headed by a Cambridge lecturer, Eric Ashby, master at Clare College, Cambridge and also included a labor economist, Frederick H. Harbison.[7] However, the expectation of the commission's final report by the Western regional government was University of Ibadan will satisfy the needs of the Western region, a position, the government disagreed on.[8] Even before a final report was submitted in October 1960, the Western government began preparations for the establishment of a university within the region.[8]

The decision to establish the University of Ife (popularly referred to as "Great Ife"[9]) by the ruling Action Group party of the Western Region of Nigeria was in protest at the recommendations of the Ashby Report.[10][full citation needed] 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. 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 iteducation opportunities in Nigeria and the western region but was also designed to fill the gaps in the manpower needs.

In October 1960, the Ashby commission recommended additional (regional) universities in the northern and eastern regions of Nigeria and another federal university in the Lagos protectorate,[7] but none in the more educationally advanced western region which had a 'free and universal primary education' program. A minority report that was accepted by the government recommended a new university within the Western region and facilities of the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan was provided to the region.[7] In 1961, a vote establishing the Provisional Council of the University was passed in 1961 by the Western Regional Assembly. The final site chosen, a 13,000 acre land was donated by the people of Ile-Ife as the location of the proposed university.[7] The first financial grant provided for the takeoff of the university was £250,000 from the Western regional government.[11]

Ibadan campus[edit]

On September 22, 1962, the school was opened to 244 pioneer students at its temporary facilities, the previous college of arts and sciences, Ibadan.[8] Some of the new students were previously at the college of arts and sciences and some staff were recruited from University College, Ibadan and from abroad. Oladele Ajose, was nominated as the first Vice-Chancellor of the university and the university began with five faculties:Agriculture, Arts, Economics and Social Studies, Law, and Science.[7] The style of administration of the university and faculties were similar to University College, Ibadan and during its foundation, it established a relationship with University of Wisconsin.[11] Adverse political conditions within the region delayed the movement from Ibadan to Ife.[8]

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 Hezekiah Oluwasanmi as the new Vice-Chancellor, and 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.

Move to Ife[edit]

Its movement to the new campus and present location at Ile-Ife began in January 1967.[8]

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.[12][13] 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.

Federal university[edit]

In 1975, a new military government effected decrees making University of Ife a federal university.[8]

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 the incident and that the ministry will treat the case with "utmost concern".[14]


Architectural planning of the University was led by Arieh Sharon with a team that later included his son, Eldar Sharon and Augustine Akhuemokhan Egbor of Lagos.[15] The initial architectural plan of the land was three communities. A central campus with a high density and centralization hosting the academic and administrative structures, the staff quarters with residential structures dispersed for privacy needs, and students residential halls.

Central campus[edit]

The road network within the university are numbered, the main entry to the university is the 2.5 km Road One which provides visibility to two rocky hills and a main core. The core is a quadrangle consisting of the university's public structures: Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library, Secretariat, University Bookshop, Oduduwa Hall, and the Faculties of Arts, Education, Law, Administration and Social Sciences.[8]

The first structure completed in January 1967 are three blocks of four floors each named the Humanities building, these blocks have interconnected walkways to the other faculties within the quad. These structures upon completion could be seen as inverted pyramids or huge boats but the design was chosen due to consideration given to the humid tropical climate so that each floor provides protection to the one below.[15][8]

There are pedestrians walkways and pergolas around the campus providing movement within offices around the quadrangle, there are also piazzas, gardens and terraces. The quad is enclosed on each side by roads and beyond the roads are other faculty buildings.

The Inner road on the southern end (road two) or front of the main core provides access to the student union building. Along road two are the Computer Science building, and the Faculties of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The Outer road at the northwestern end of the quad, (Road 5)[15] provides access to the Modern Languages building and the African traditional designed structure housing the African Studies department, a museum and an exhibition hall.[8]


College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Obafemi Awolowo University has 13 faculties[16] and two colleges — the Postgraduate College and the College of Health Sciences — administered in more than 60 departments.

The university offers undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in fields of specialization spanning the humanities, arts, natural sciences, social sciences, medical sciences, engineering and technology. It was previously associated with Loma Linda University in California, USA.

JUPEB Programme[edit]

Obafemi Awolowo University has been a partnering university to the Joint Universities Preliminary Examinations Board (JUPEB).[17] JUPEB offers A/Level Programs to Students seeking admission into the Federal University of Technology, Owerri via Direct Entry. FUTO currently admit students into the JUPEB Program Yearly.[citation needed]


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.[18] 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.[12]

Information Technology and Communications Unit[edit]

Obafemi Awolowo University 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.[12] The Information Technology and Communications Unit known as 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.[19]

Medical and health facilities[edit]

The Medical and Health Centre, with its medical doctors, nurses and health care workers is a primary health care centre, which provides hazardous primary health care services to the community, ensures health care for the poor and children and adults whose lives are endangered, and provides health education services on demand. It operates a 24-hour service and has 16 bed spaces for admitting patients. Extreme cases are being referred to the nearby teaching hospital for intensive care. 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.[12]


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%.[20][full citation needed]

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.[21] 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.[12] 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 the resuscitation and modernization of the traditional bronze-casting technology.[22] It 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).[12] It 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.[23]

Vice Chancellors[edit]

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.[24] 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.[25]

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.[26]

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


Halls of Residence[edit]

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:

  • Awolowo Hall
  • Angola Hall
  • Alumni Hall
  • Education Trust Fund Hall
  • Fajuyi Hall
  • Ladoke Akintola Hall
  • Moremi Hall
  • Mozambique Hall
  • Murtala Muhammed Post Graduate Hall

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.[27] One significant thing to note about the institution is that it is an hub of technological advancement ranging from the presence of the biggest e-commerce store for students in South-west Nigeria (Oaumarkit) and the growth of intellectual societies and tech hubs such as the Blockchain OAU Community.



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.[28] 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.

Notable alumni[edit]

Government and politics[edit]



Arts and media[edit]


Royalty and society[edit]


  • Ernest Ndukwe, is a Nigerian Electrical engineer and former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
  • Gbenga Sesan, a social entrepreneur, information and communications technology professional


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External links[edit]