University of Ilorin
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|Chancellor||HRH Abdulmumini Kabir Usman, Emir of Katsina|
|Vice-Chancellor||Professor Sulyman Age Abdulkareem|
|Location||Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria|
|This institution is the only Federal University not member of Academic Staff Union of Universities|
It was established by a decree of the Federal Military Government in 1975 and is a federal government owned tertiary institution of education located in Ilorin, Kwara State, western Nigeria. The ancient city of Ilorin, capital of Kwara State, is about 300 km from Lagos and 500 km from Abuja, the country's administrative capital. The institution's land mass is among the largest in Nigeria covering approximately 5000 hectares.
The university began as a University College affiliated to the oldest university in Nigeria in 1975 under the leadership of the then principal, Dr T.N. Tamuno. The first set of 200 students, selected following an entrance examination, were admitted into residence on 23 October 1976, while academic work started on 25 October after the Principal’s address. The University College started with three academic faculties of Arts, Science and Education.
In October 1977, the institution attained full autonomous status with appointment of the then Principal, Professor O.O Akinkugbe as first vice chancellor. The immediate past vice chancellor, Professor Is-haq Oloyede is the first Unilorin alumnus to occupy that position. The staff and student populations now stand at 3,040 and over 30,084 respectively.
The University started off on a portion of the temporary campus of the Kwara State Polytechnic known as the mini campus. This was the site of academic programmes in the Faculties of Arts, Science, Education, Engineering & Technology, Business and Social Sciences, and basic clinical sciences of the Health Sciences Faculty. It was the only campus of the university until January 1982 when more than 1000 students studying science were moved following completion of new Faculty blocks and residences for Natural Sciences and Engineering on the permanent campus site. From 1983, the law programme was started as a department in the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences. Following a 6-year hiatus, it was re-established in 1993 as a full-fledged Faculty. The university now has 15 faculties: Arts, Agriculture, Environmental Sciences, Life Sciences, Management Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Communication and Information Sciences, Education, Engineering and Technology, Pharmaceutical Science, Veterinary Medicine, and Law; a College of Health Sciences (with 2 Faculties-Basic Medical and Clinical Sciences); two institutes (Institute of Education and Unilorin Sugar Research Institute); and the Postgraduate School. These faculties have over 60 academic departments. Undergraduate degree programmes are run for 3-5, or 6 years, depending on entry qualifications and discipline.
The University of Ilorin is located in the ancient city of Ilorin, about 500 kilometres from Abuja, the Federal capital. Ilorin, the Capital of Kwara State, is strategically located at the geographical and cultural confluence of the North and South with a land mass of 5,000 (approximate) hectare.
University of Ilorin was one of the seven institutions of higher learning established by a decree of the Federal Military Government in August, 1975. This step, taken to implement one of the educational directives of the country’s Third National Development Plan, was aimed at providing more opportunities for Nigerians aspiring to acquire university education and to generate high level man-power, so vital for the rapidly expanding economy.
The then University College of Ilorin was initially affiliated to the University of Ibadan. Dr. T.N. Tamuno, Professor and Head of History Department at the University of Ibadan, was appointed the first Principal of the College in September, 1975. Shortly after Professor Tamuno’s appointment as Principal of the College, he was appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan. It therefore, became necessary to appoint another Principal in the person of Professor O.O. Akinkugbe, former Dean of the then Faculty of Medicine, University of Ibadan, in December 1975.
The then new Principal, Professor O.O. Akinkugbe, made several visits to the second Military Governor of Kwara State, the late Colonel Ibrahim Taiwo in connection with the new institution, such that by March 1976, he had established residence at Ilorin. The support given to the fledgling Institution by Governor Taiwo continued even more vigorously under the third Military Governor of the State, Brigadier George A. Innih, who ceded a portion of the temporary site of the Kwara State College of Technology to the University. The site, up till now, serves as the mini campus of the University.
- Femi Adebayo, Nollywood actor.
- Ezekiel Adebiyi, former head, Computer and Information Science department, Covenant University.
- Sarah Alade, former acting Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria.
- Abdul Rasheed Na'Allah, vice-chancellor, Kwara State University
- Charles Ayo, past vice-chancellor, Covenant University.
- Ado J. G. Muhammad, director, Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
- Aize Obayan, former vice-chancellor, Covenant University and current vice-chancellor, Landmark University.
- Josephine Obiajulu Odumakin, Nigerian women's rights activist
- Is-haq Oloyede, the university's first alumni vice chancellor, Registrar Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board
- Nkem Owoh, award-winning Nigerian comedic actor.
Following an entrance examination, 200 foundation students were admitted into residence on Saturday, October 23, 1976, and academic activities commenced on Monday, October 25, 1976, after the Principal’s maiden address at about 10.00am in the Africa Hall. The University College had three foundation Faculties namely: Arts, Science and Education. The Institution began to develop its programmes in a way that not less than 60% of its effort was directed towards science-oriented programmes.
In October 1977, the Institution attained full autonomous status and has since then developed by leaps and bounds. The student population of 200 in 1976 has increased to 20,084 by the 2005/2006 session, while the total staff strength of the University stood at approximately 3,040 as at March 1, 2007. Up till January 1982, the University carried out its academic programmes, involving the Faculties of Arts, Science, Education, Engineering & Technology, Business and Social Sciences, and the Pre-Clinical aspect of the Health Sciences on the Mini-Campus. The completion of the Faculty blocks for Natural Sciences and Engineering as well as 8 blocks of student hotels by December 1981, made it possible, on 2 January 1982, for the actual movement of over 1,000 science-oriented students to the Main-Campus to pursue their various academic programmes.
The law degree programme was initially established in 1983/84 session as a department in the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences. Though cancelled in 1986/87, it was resuscitated in 1993/94 as a full-fledged Faculty.
The Main Campus currently houses the Faculties of Science, Communication and Information Sciences(CIS), Engineering & Technology, Agriculture, Education, Law, Arts, Business and Social Sciences, (following the completion of the new seven-storey Senate Complex), the Unilorin Sugar Research Institute, Postgraduate School, the Main University Library, Computer Services and Information Technology (COMSIT), Works Yard, Conference Centre, Unilorin Resources Development and Management Board (URDMB), Student Canteens, the newly completed 2,000 seat multipurpose Auditorium and the Alumni/ Endowment Office. The Mini-Campus presently houses the College of Health Sciences, a mini Library, Canteens and Shopping Complex, the Institute of Education, some of the Revenue-yielding projects which are under the URDMB such as the Unilorin Computer Centre (Training Wing), Unilorin Bookshop, the Bakery, the Printing Press, and the Guest Houses. Each Campus has a Health Centre, a Post Office and Banking facilities.
Aside from two lecture theatres commissioned in 1997, there is an upsurge, from 2002 to date, in the physical development of the Main Campus. Five new Hostels were completed in 2002. Other projects were the Faculty of Education blocks and Lecture theatre; Lecture rooms, Offices and Lecture Theatre for the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences; Faculty of Science Chemistry block; Department of Agricultural Engineering block; offices for the Department of Physical and Health Education; COMSIT building (Phase I) among others.
A water Dam and Treatment Plant to provide uninterrupted water supply to the main campus has just been completed. The University will soon construct a rail-line to boost transportation between the University main campus and the township.
Apart from the renovation of buildings, a systematic upgrading of teaching and research facilities are being undertaken by the University within its lean resources. This includes provision of computers, laboratory equipment, etc.
Growth of faculties
From three faculties in 1976, today there are fifteen faculties: Arts (1976), Education (1976), Engineering & Technology (1978), Agriculture (1982), Law (1993, after an initial start-up in 1983), Basic Medical Sciences (2004), Clinical Sciences (2004) Communication and Information Sciences (2008), Veterinary Medicine (2009), Pharmaceutical Science (2010), and Life Science; Physical Science; Environmental Science; Management Sciences; and Social Sciences in (2013).
Altogether, there are over 60 academic departments in the existing ten faculties. Undergraduate degree programmes run for 3,4,5, or 6 years, depending on entry qualifications and discipline. The University started with the traditional British “Three Term System” but later changed into a modified form of the American “Two Semester System” called Harmattan and Rain semesters with effect from 1979/80 session.
Each semester comprises one half of an academic year as determined by Senate. Also instruction in the various Faculties with the exception of the Health Sciences is by the course system. These courses are quantified into credits. The University has teaching support units which include the Computer Centre, Central Workshop and Stores, Biological Garden, Community Based Experience and Services (COBES), Medical Educational Resources Unit, General Studies (Use of English/National Awareness) Division, and Teaching & Research Farm.
There are also the Public Units which are the University Primary School, the University Secondary School, the Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) programme, Institute of Education and Educational Technology Centre. Although an academic unit, the Library is actively involved in rendering service to the University and the public. In addition, there is a Sugar Research Institute which is mainly a research unit served by academic mainly from Science and Agriculture Faculties.
The case of the 49 sacked lecturers
What eventually assumed the toga of a national crisis started within the domain of University of Ilorin in January 2001. Those involved are ASUU-Unilorin branch activists who were battling the then vice-chancellor, Professor S. Oba Abdulraheem and the institution’s authority over delay in the payment of salaries, allowances and other sundry welfare issues. They were vociferous in their demands and the authorities considered them as a cog in the wheel of their plans for the institution. In such a conservative environment, the university authority considered such radical demand for rights a taboo.
The allegations against the institution’s authorities were still on when the parent ASUU commenced a national strike in April 2001. The nationwide university strike was embarked upon against the backdrop of the general rot in universities across the country. Problems of poor infrastructure, poor funding, university autonomy, conditions of service for academic staff and academic freedom budgetary allocation were among the demands of ASUU.
As usual with successive administrations, attempt were made to break the strike. In most of the universities, including University of Ilorin, attendance registers were opened for lecturers who came to work to sign. This sent jitters down the spines of most of the lecturers who for fear of losing their jobs rushed to the institution on a daily basis to sign the registers. Those of them who believed strongly in the cause of the struggle shunned the register, daring the institution’s authority threat to sack those lecturers who defied its order.
At the end of the day and consequent upon series of negotiation between the Federal Government and the ASUU leadership, the strike was called off not without an agreement to be implemented by both parties. ASUU reportedly ensured the insertion of a “no victimization clause” into the agreement. The essence of this was to guarantee that none of its members who partook in the strike would be persecuted because of their involvement. However, the University of Nigeria, (UNN), Nsukka and University of Ilorin terminated the appointment of some lecturers perceived to have played prominent roles in ensuring the success of the strike by ASUU. UNN authorities after public hues and cries reinstated its sacked lecturers. But in Unilorin, its authorities refused to reverse itself. 103 lecturers were given sack letters that did not state the reasons behind the decision.
The breakdown of these figures are: 15 professors, two associate professors. 15 senior lecturer, 18 lecturers: 40 doctors and 12 medical school lecturers out of which 11 were consultants. Consequent upon this sack, the Ayo Banjo-committee was set up to look into the crisis. The committee report did not find any of the UNILORIN 49 guilty. While several others were re-absorbed into the system, the institution’s authorities, did not see any wisdom in recalling the UNILORIN 49 lecturers. Afterall, they were seen as a minute fraction of about 700 lecturers in the university. However, among the sacked were deep intellectuals and key functionaries, which led to the stagnation of some classes especially in the medical field which could not graduate students due to the sack of key lecturers. Still some of the lecturers who could not immediately get alternative accommodation were forcefully ejected from their staff quarters.
Recourse to litigation: When the University of Ilorin authorities remained recalcitrant in its resolve not to reabsorb the Unilorin 49, several external bodies acting as pressure groups intervened, sometimes pleading with the institution’s authorities to reconsider its position. Traditional rulers, Yoruba Council of Elders, National Assembly and Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC), all tried to no avail to bring back peace to Unilorin and the entire university system in the country. The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), UNESCO and a coalition of civil society organisations led by the Committee for the defence of human rights (CDHR) also intervened to no avail. At this point, five of the Unilorin 49, led by Dr. Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, approached the Federal High Court, Ilorin to seek redress on behalf of their other colleagues.
Precisely on July 26, 2005, the Federal High Court, Ilorin under Justice Peter Olayiwola, ruled that the termination of the appointment of the affected lecturers on account of participation in the strike without fair hearing was “illegal and unconstitutional.” The termination exercise was declared “null and void:” and the court ordered their earnest reinstatement.
Nevertheless, the institution exercised its right of appeal when it challenged the judgement at the Court of Appeal. On July 12, 2006, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State upturned the judgement of the Federal High Court by declaring that the University was in order by sacking the 49 lecturers. Out of the three Justices that sat over the case, two Justices, Muntaka Coomasie and T. Abdullahi ruled against the lecturers while Justice Helen Ogunwumiju ruled in favour of the lecturers.
The Court of Appeal ruled that the lecturers should have taken their case to the National Industrial Court being a trade dispute matter as Union leaders: that the lecturers were not sacked for their role in the strike: that since the lecturers were not sacked for any offence, the issue of fair hearing did not arise. At another point, the court upheld the university’s claim that the lecturers were given an opportunity for fair hearing while observing in another part that the lecturers were not sacked for any offence.
The judgement of the Court of Appeal was challenged by the lecturers at the Supreme Court.
After about eight years and 10 months of a tortuous legal battle, the 44 sacked lecturers of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) in Kwara State were ordered to be reinstated by Nigeria's Supreme Court on December 11, 2009. The apex court ordered their immediate reinstatement and the payment of all their entitlements from February 2001, the date of their illegal disengagement, to date. The 5 UNILORIN ASUU leaders had earlier had their sack reversed by the same Supreme Court on June 12, 2009.
Students' Union And Other Activities
The University of Ilorin Students' union consist of three arms which include Central Executives Council (CEC), Students' Representative Council (SRC) now Senate Council (SC) and Judicial Council. Notable Past Union leaders include Dr. Shola Olorunyomi, Professor Ishaq Olanrewaju Oloyede, Dr. Alex Akanmu, Prince AbdulLateef Hussein Da Silva, Jubril Olayinka Animashaun (Jaybee), Dr. Akintade Adegboyega, Ahmed Lawal, Alawaye Mumeen Kabir, Yakub Ishowo, Alao Idris,Sabiu Mumeen(Galof).
There are also Students' Faculty and Department Associations at the Faculty and Departmental Level respectively.