The University of Benin was founded in 1970. It started as an Institute of Technology and was accorded the status of a full-fledged University by National Universities Commission (NUC) on 1st July, 1971. In his Budget Speech in April 1972, the then Military Governor of Mid-Western State, Col. S. O. Ogbemudia (then also Visitor to the University) formally announced the change of the name of the Institute of Technology to the University of Benin. On 1st April, 1975 the University at the request of the State Government, was taken over by the Federal Government and became a Federal Government and became a Federal University.
Today, the University has continued to grow from strength to strength with a number of Faculties, Departments, Institutes and Units.Following NUC’s directives, the University experimented with the Collegiate System in 1991/92 and 1992/93.
However, in the light of new developments, the University reverted to the Faculty System except for the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Basic Medical Sciences, and Institute of Child Health which reverted back to the Collegiate System in August, 1999, with a Provost as its administrative head. The Faculties as presently constituted are those of Agriculture, Arts, Education, Engineering, Law, Life Science, Pharmacy, Physical Science, Social Science, and the College of Medical Sciences (which has three Schools: Basic Medical Sciences; Dentistry and Medicine; and the Institute of Child Health).
In January 2006, the Federal Government approved the take off of the College of Petroleum and Gas Engineering of the University of Benin at Effurun, near Warri, in Delta State, with the initial population of 100 students in two departments; Petroleum Engineering and Gas Engineering.
The University offers courses at various levels: Postgraduate, Undergraduate, Diploma and Certificate. Presently, the total student enrolment stands at over 40,000 made up of both full-time and part-time students shared among the various Faculties.
In 1969, the State Government set up a Planning Committee comprising the following eminent academics, experienced University administrators and top ranking civil servants under the Chairmanship of the then Acting Secretary to the Military Government, Late Mr. I.O. Afe (Chairman), Mr. G.A. Aghahowa, Mr. O. Akpata, Mr. G. O. Aiwerioba, Mr. W.J. Anukpe, the Late Dr. B.I. Aror, Mr. P.C. Asiodu, Professor E.U. Emovon, Mr. G.N.I. Enobakhare, Mr. E. Buckley, Professor T. Bello-Osagie, Mr. M.I. Igiehon, Mr. F.A. Ijewere, Dr. A.E. Ikomi, Mr. J.O. Illuebbey, the Late Chief D.R. Oduaran, Mr. S.J. Okodu, Mr. G.W. Sutherland, Late Professor H. Oritsejolomi. Thomas and Professor T.M. Yesufu. The Committee was directed to examine the feasibility of establishing in Benin, a University with scientific and technological bias and submit proposals with estimated cost. In March 1970 the Committee submitted its report. After careful consideration, the State Government promulgated in April, 1970, an edict establishing an Institute of Technology with three Faculties, viz: Science, Engineering and Medicine and Pharmacy.
Ahmadu Bello University was approached to help the new Institute in several areas including the teaching of pre-clinical medical students for the first three years in Zaria. This academic co-operation between the Institute and Ahmadu Bello University gave a booster to the former.
With the determination of the State Government to physically establish and open the Institute in 1970, some eighty contractors laboured between May and November, 1970, to reconstruct and convert the premises of Mariere College ( a Teacher Training College) into the site of the Institute. An Administration Block, a Central Library with a capacity of 30,000 volumes, two blocks consisting of twelve lecture rooms, six laboratories, workshops and offices, a student centre including students’ and staff dinning rooms, a students’ common room and a kitchen were built and four blocks of students’ dormitories were reconstructed and converted into students hostels. In addition, a new block of six laboratories and six lecture rooms were completed on what were to become the Iyaro Campus, to accommodate the Institute’s Faculty of Science.
On November 23, 1970, the Institute was formally opened and the first batch of 108 students drawn from all parts of the Federation began courses in Science and Mathematics. To quote the words of the first Rector, Professor Glyn Phillips, the establishment of the Institute represented “a dream come true for the people of the Midwest”.
The decision to open in November involved some difficulties in the recruitment of staff especially since qualified Nigerians were already fully engaged for the 1970/71 Session. A recruitment team toured Britain, the United States and Canada in June and July 1970 and enjoyed appreciable cooperation from the Inter-University Council for Higher Education and the University of Salford, in the United Kingdom, and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Oklahoma in the United States.
As a result of this overseas tour, reciprocal visits were made by delegates of universities from the U.S.A and the U.K. to Benin, for discussions in regard to areas of co-operation and assistance. Consequently, invaluable short-term secondment of staff particularly from British Universities was organized under the auspices of the Inter-University Council. In Nigeria, all the universities approached regarding staffing, co-operated by releasing interested staff at short notice
On 1st July, 1971, the Institute was accorded formal recognition as a full-fledged University by the National Universities Commission. In his budget speech in April 1972, the Military Governor of Bendel State, Col. S.O. Ogbemudia, then also Visitor to the University, formally announced the change of name of the Institute of Technology to the University of Benin. This was necessary in view of growing misconception as to the exact status of the Institute and the difficulty of explaining that the Institute was a full-fledged university,
On 1st April, 1975 the University, at the request of the State Government, was taken over by the Federal Government and became a Federal University.
ARISE MIGHTY UNIBEN
All over the wide wide world
Our fruitful works unfurl,
What we sow’d with joy and pride
With good our common goal
One heart and voice for all,
We heed the purple clarion call.
Refrain : Arise mighty UNIBEN
Robed in your purple and gold
Clad in your fertile green hem
Knowledge for service untold
Between blue sky and red soil
Excellent hard work endure
We groom man and nation in
Spirits of Unibest pure
Come through our opened gate
Where fair play and merit dictate.
Refrain: Arise mighty UNIBEN …………..
God bless this our noble school
As we bid peace to reign
May we have no cause to mourn
But rejoice in gains achieved
We hope for place man will
Bring brain and brawn to build self still.
Refrain: Arise mighty UNIBEN …………….
Prof. O. Oshodin - Vice Chancellor
Professor Oshodin an indigene of Oredo Local Government Area was born on August 9, 1950. He attended the Western Boys High School, Federal Shool of Science Lagos, Central State University, Ohio USA, University of New York and the Columbia University U.S.A.
Professor Oshodin who is the immediate past Dean of Education had also been Dean of Students. He has to himself many academic publications, several books and many other books as co-author.
Professor Osayuki Oshodin who joined the University of Benin as Research Fellowin 1981 rose to the position of Professor in 1991. Professor Oshodin is an External Examiner to more than 15 Universities. He is also a member of several Learned Societies and has many Awards and Honours. His administrative experience in the University of Benin is also very robust, he has either been Chairman or member of more than 35 university Boards and Committees.
Professor Oshodin is married to Mrs. Otasowie Oshodin and they are blessed with lovely children, all boys.
Mr B Ojanero