First Professors in Nigeria: Their Fields & More

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Over the years, there have been several claims with regards to the first academician to hold the highest honour of professor in the country.

In fact, several individuals and institutions have laid claim to this achievement unfortunately, their assertions have left many more confused than convinced.

In this post, we have decided to examine these claims by taking a look at the profile of some of these acclaimed foremost professors in the country.

first professor in nigeria

Prof. Chike Obi

First Professors in Nigeria & Their Disciplines

The first person on our list is Chike Obi. He is said to have been one of the earliest professors in Nigeria. Obi was a mathematician and the first Nigerian to hold a doctorate in mathematics.

Professor Obi was educated in various parts of Nigeria before reading mathematics as an external student of the University of London.

After his first degree, Obi won a scholarship to do research study at Pembroke College, Cambridge, followed by doctoral studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eventually, he received his PhD in mathematics in 1950.

After his studies in the United States, Obi returned to lecture at the premier Nigerian University of Ibadan. He was soon diverted from this by political activities. After the war, he returned to lecture in 1970 at the University of Lagos where he quickly rose to the senior academic role of a professor.

Although Professor Obi received his PhD at the young age of 29, he didn’t become a professor until he was in his fifties which was in the 1970s and at that time, there were already professors in the country

For instance, one of the earliest professors in the country, Herbert Kodilinye became a Professor of Medicine at the University of London in 1952. Kodilinye returned to Nigeria to teach at the Universities of Ibadan and Nsukka after spending time in London.

However, Professor Chike Obi was the first Professor of Mathematics in the country.

Overall, it might be a difficult task finding the first ever professor in Nigeria but we can certainly know the first Professors in the country in terms of their discipine.

  • First Female Professor of Agriculture in Nigeria and First Female Professor of Agricultural Economics in Africa – Professor (Mrs) Tomilayo O. Adekanye.
  • First Female Professor of Yoruba Studies in the world – Prof. (Mrs). Omotayo Olutoye
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Animal Science – Prof Mrs Oyebiodun Longe
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Urban and Regional Planning – Prof. (Mrs).Ogbazi Joy Ukamaka
  • First female Nigerian Professor of Accounting – Prof. Jane Ande
  • First female Physics Professor in Africa – Prof. (Mrs) Deborah Ajakaye
  • First female Professor of Animal Breeding & Genetics in Nigeria – Prof. Adebambo Ayoka.O
  • First female professor of Chemical Engineering in Nigeria – Professor (Mrs) P.K. Igbokwe
  • First Female Professor of Chemistry in Nigeria – Prof. (Mrs) Modupe Ogunlesi
  • First Female Professor of Computer Science – Prof Adenike Osofisan
  • First Female professor of physiotherapy in Africa – Prof. Arinola O. Sanya
  • First Nigeria Professor of Forestry – Professor Kolade Adeyoju (Ekiti State)
  • First Nigerian Female Professor ever – Prof. (Mrs) Felicia Adetoun Ogunsheye
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of History – Prof. (Mrs) Bolanle Awe
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Law – Prof (Mrs) Jadesola Olayinka Akande
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Mass Communication – Prof. (Mrs) Chinyere Stella Okunna
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Mathematics Education – Prof. (Mrs). Grace Allele-Williams.
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Pharmacy – Prof. (Mrs) Babalola Chinedum Peace
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Psychiatry – Prof. (Mrs) Olayinka Omigbodun
  • First Nigerian Female Professor of Quantity Surveying in Africa – Prof Olubola Babalola
  • First Nigerian Professor of Accounting – Prof. Micheal A. Adeyemo
  • First Nigerian Professor of Agriculture – Prof. Victor Adenuga Oyenuga
  • First Nigerian Professor of Anatomy – Prof. Thomas Adesanya Grillo
  • First Nigerian Professor of Animal Science – Prof. Gabriel. M. Babatunde
  • First Nigerian Professor of Arabic and Islamic Language – Prof M.O.A Abdul
  • First Nigerian Professor Of Architecture – Prof. Ekundayo Adeyemi
  • First Nigerian Professor of Botany – Prof. Eni Njoku
  • First Nigerian Professor of Chemical Engineering – Prof. Sikiru A. Sanni
  • First Nigerian Professor of Chemistry – Prof. Stephen Oluwole Awokoya
  • First Nigerian Professor of Civil Engineering – Prof. Ifedayo O. Oladapo
  • First Nigerian professor of Clinical Pharmacy – Prof. Nzebunwa Aguwa
  • First Nigerian Professor of Computer Science – Prof. Olu Longe
  • First Nigerian Professor of Education – Prof. Aliu Babs Fafunwa
  • First Nigerian Professor of Estate Management – Prof. John. A. Umeh
  • First Nigerian Professor of French Language – Prof Evans
  • First Nigerian Professor of Geography – Prof. Akin Mobogunje
  • First Nigerian Professor of Geology – Prof. Mosobolaje O. Oyawoye
  • First Nigerian Professor of History – Prof Kenneth Dike
  • First Nigerian Professor of Industrial Engineering – Prof. David. E. Osifo
  • First Nigerian Professor of Insurance – Prof. Joseph. O. Irukwu
  • First Nigerian Professor of Law – Prof Teslim Olawale Elias
  • First Nigerian Professor of Library and Information Science – Prof Mrs Adetoun Ogunsheye
  • First Nigerian Professor of Linguistic – Prof Ayo Bamgbose
  • First Nigerian Professor of Marketing – Prof. Julius Onuorah Onah
  • First Nigerian Professor of Mathematics – Prof. Chike Obi
  • First Nigerian Professor of Medicine – Prof. Theophilus Ogunlesi
  • First Nigerian Professor of Mining Engineering – Prof. Zacheus Opafunso
  • First Nigerian Professor of Music – Prof. Lazarus Ekwueme
  • First Nigerian Professor of Nursing – Prof (Mrs). Elfrida. O. Adebo
  • First Nigerian Professor of Nutrition – Prof Babatunde Oguntona
  • First Nigerian Professor of Paediatrics – Prof Olikoye Ransome-Kuti
  • First Nigerian Professor of Petroleum Engineering – Prof. Gabriel Kayode Falade
  • First Nigerian Professor of Philosophy – Prof Olubi Sodipo
  • First Nigerian Professor of Physical Education – Prof. M. Oluwafemi Ajisafe
  • First Nigerian Professor of Physics – Prof. Muyiwa Awe
  • First Nigerian Professor of Physiology – HRH Prof. Joseph Chike Edozien
  • First Nigerian Professor of Physiotherapy – Prof. Vincent C. B. Nwuga
  • First Nigerian Professor of psychiatry – Prof. Thomas Adeoye Lambo
  • First Nigerian Professor of Psychology – Prof. Dennis Ugwuegbu
  • First Nigerian Professor of public health – Prof. Oladele Ajose (Lagos state)
  • First Nigerian Professor of Public Health Engineering – Prof. Paul Aibinuola Oluwande
  • First Nigerian Professor of statistics – Prof. Nwoue Adichie
  • First Nigerian Professor of Tests and Measurement – Prof. Dibu Ojerinde
  • First Nigerian Professor of Theatre and Arts – Prof Joel Adeyinka Adedeji
  • First Nigerian Professor of Urban and Regional Planning – Prof. Adepoju Onibokun
  • First Nigerian Professor of Yoruba and African Literature – Prof Wande Abimbola
  • First Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria – Prof Alfred Opubor
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