#6. Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Zaria State
The University was established in 1962 by the Government of the then Northern Region of Nigeria to impart knowledge and learning to men and women of all races without distinction on the grounds of race, religious or political beliefs. The founding fathers expected the University to aspire to the highest international ideals of scholarship and to provide learning of a standard required and expected of a university of the highest standing while reflecting the needs, the traditions, and the social and intellectual heritage of the society in which it is located. The University was taken over by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1975 and has since then assumed a national mandate although its ties with the 19 states created out of the former Northern Region remain very strong.
In the over forty years of its existence, the ABU has grown to become the largest, and the most influential and diverse university in Nigeria. Consisting of eighty-two (82) Academic Departments, twelve (12) Faculties, and twelve (12) Research Institutes and Specialized Centres, the University offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in such diverse fields as Agriculture, Public and Business Administration, Engineering, Environmental Design, Education, Biological and Physical Sciences, Medical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Humanities, Law and Social Sciences. The university has two campuses located on 7,000 hectares of land.
Student enrolment currently stands at 35,000 with 20% at the postgraduate level. Staff strength stands at 1, 400 academic staff, 1, 985 non-academic senior staff and 4,143 junior staff. A common feature of both the staff and student population is the wide variety of social, cultural, religious and economic backgrounds that they represent. One unique feature of the University, as opposed to any other Institution of its type in Nigeria, is that it has both staff and students from all parts of the country and from neighbouring countries. This mix has created an open society in which people from all backgrounds are able to live. This has been one of the major strengths of the University. At a time when Nigeria and indeed the world is faced with divisions and tensions, the experience of open, multi-religious, multi-faith and multi-cultural dialogue and cohabitation which ABU possesses, is one which the University is anxious to retain and build upon.
The University’s mission, as contained in its Strategic Plan, is “to advance the frontiers of learning and break new grounds, through teaching, research and dissemination of knowledge of the highest quality; to establish and foster national and international integration through the development and the promotion of African traditions and cultures; to serve as a model and conscience of the society; to produce high-level human power and enhance capacity-building through training and retraining, in order to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century”.
I am confident that as you traverse the pages on this site, you would discover a lot that would excite your curiosity about this unique institution in a part of the world whose unique potentialities remain to be fully tapped. Once again- you are welcome.