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University of Ife

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Title: University of Ife  
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Subject: Wole Soyinka, Amos Tutuola, Okot p'Bitek, Kwame Anthony Appiah, University of Ghana, Stella Obasanjo, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Ola Rotimi, Gerald Moore (scholar), Cornelius Adebayo
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University of Ife

Obafemi Awolowo University
Obafemi Awolowo University Seal
Motto For Learning and Culture
Established 1962
Type Public
Vice-Chancellor Professor Idowu Bamitale Omole
Students about 35,000
Location Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria
Colours Midnight Blue and Gold

Obafemi Awolowo University is a government-owned and -operated Nigerian university. The university is in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. The university was founded in 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.


The decision to establish the University of Ife (popularly referred to as "Great Ife") 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.

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. 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.


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 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 have emerged with numerous courses offered. Below is the list of departments: African Languages and Literature, Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, Anaesthesia, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Animal Science, Archeology, Architecture, Biochemistry, Botany, Building, Business Law, Chemical Engineering, Chemical Pathology, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Community Health and Nutrition, Computer Science and Engineering, Continuing Education, Demography and Social Statistics, Dermatology and Venerology, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Educational Administration and Planning, Educational Foundation and Counseling, Educational Technology, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, English Language, Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Estate Management, Fine Arts, Food Science and Technology, Foreign Languages, Geography, Geology, Haematology and Immunology, History, International Law, International Relations, Jurisprudence and Private Law, Linguistics, Literature in English, Local Government Studies, Management and Accounting, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Medical Rehabilitation, Medicine, Mental Health, Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, Microbiology, Morbid Anatomy and Forensic Medicine, Music, Nursing, Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Perimatology, Oral Maxilofacial Surgery and Oral Pathology, Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, Paediatrics and Child Health, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology, Philosophy, Physics, Physiological Sciences, Plant Science, Political Science, Preventive Dentistry, Oral Medicine and Periodontology, Psychology, Public Administration, Public Law, Quantity Surveying, Radiology, Religious Studies, Restorative Dentistry, Sociology and Anthropology, Soil Science, Special Education and Curriculum Studies, Surgery, Urban and Regional Planning and, Zoology,


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. The newly appointed vice-chancellor is Professor Idowu Bamitale Omole, a professor of International Relations, appointment taking effect from 24 June 2011 and his tenure expiring in 2016.

Nigeria's only Nobel prize-winner (in literature), 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 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:

  • Awolowo Hall
  • Angola Hall
  • Alumni Hall
  • ETF Hall
  • Fajuyi Hall
  • Ladoke Akintola Hall
  • Moremi Hall
  • Mozambique Hall
  • Murtala Muhammed Hall

Notable alumni

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


External links

  • Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
  • GREAT IFE Social Network for the Alumni, current students and staff
  • Great Ife Alumni Association, U.S.A. - Houston, Texas

Coordinates: 7°28′N 4°34′E / 7.467°N 4.567°E / 7.467; 4.567

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