Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is a federal government 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 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 Ashley Report. 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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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:
Ladoke Akintola Hall
Murtala Muhammed 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.