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About one-third of Nigeria’s ministers attended same university


Thirteen of Nigeria’s current 44 ministers graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, an extensive review of their official resumes have shown.

A PREMIUM TIMES’ review of the details further shows that all the 13 obtained only their first degrees from the 58-year-old institution formerly named the University of Northern Nigeria.

The only exemption is the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, who bagged both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from the university, in 1980 and 1987 respectively, after which he graduated from the International University of Africa, Sudan, in 1994.

The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikpeazu, on her part, went to ABU for IJMB in 1981.

The alumni of the university include the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; Ministry of State for Industry, Maryam Katagum; Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy Agba; Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; and Minister of Agriculture, Sabo Nanono.

Others are Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ramatu Tijjani; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubair Dada; Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare; Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi; and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Faruk.

Nuhu Ibrahim, Ahmadu Bello University’s best graduating student in 2018 and overall best valedictorian (4.94 CGPA) in the 58 years history of the university, said this could be because of ABU’s long heritage and prestige. Mr Ibrahim is now studying for masters in artificial intelligence at the University of Manchester.

“The universities are super old and you would expect that they will have grown up past students,” Mr Ibrahim said over the telephone.

“I won’t also deny the fact that graduating from some particular universities has a little impact on the networking factor which has a further impact on overall success,” he added.

Choice universities

University of Lagos placed second, with eight of the nation’s current ministers having obtained at least a degree from the university. Three of them had their formative educational qualification from the university, while the other five enrolled in the school for further studies.

Four other ministers attended the University of Jos, but only women affairs minister, Paulen Tallen, had her first degree, in sociology from the school after which she graduated from the John Kennedy School of Government in 2002. Emeka Nwajiuba, the minister of state for education, has a law PhD degree in view from the university.

Likewise, the University of Maiduguri has three alumni among the ministers.

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The University of Benin, the University of Port Harcourt, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Obafemi Awolowo University and Ambrose Alli University each produced two graduates among the current crop of ministers.

The University of Ibadan, the University of Calabar, Imo State University, the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University and the University of Nigeria each have one ministerial alumni on their roll.

Both President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as petroleum minister, and defence minister Bashir Magashi attended the Nigerian Defence Academy.

Although Mr Magashi would later obtain an advanced diploma in public administration at Ahmadu Bello University before studying law at the same university in 1983, Mr Buhari pursued his military career by attending Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, UK, where he graduated from in January 1963.

Foreign trained

While 18 of the ministers bagged various degrees from foreign institutions, four of them had their formative higher educational degrees from institutions outside the shores of Nigeria.

Of the quartet, state transportation minister, Gbemisola Saraki, who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sussex Falmer in 1987, had all her education outside Nigeria.

For health minister, Osagie Ehanire, after completing his primary school education in Benin and secondary school in Ibadan, he proceeded to Ludwig-Maximillian Universität München, Germany, to study medicine, and then to the Royal College of Surgeon, Ireland, where he bagged a diploma in anaesthetics.

Environment minister Muhammad Mahmood, earned respective bachelor and master’s degrees in microbiology in 1983 and resources management in 1985 from Central Washington University. In 1990, he bagged a PhD in watershed management from the University of Arizona.

Foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama earned two bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in political science and law. He obtained them from Columbia University, Cambridge University, and the University of London, where he got his second masters honour.

Other institutions

A member of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants, England, the Niger Delta minister for state, Tayo Alasoadura, earned varying accounting honours from Nigeria.

Interior minister Rauf Aregbesola had his ordinary and higher diplomas from The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Power minister Sale Mamman finished from Kaduna Polytechnic in 1988 before proceeding to the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, to study electrical engineering in 1991. He would later earn a master’s in human relations from Bayero University, Kano.

The state minister for mines and steel, Ikechukwu Ogah, attended the Institute of Management Technology, Enugu, while aviation minister Hadi Sirika had stints in the College of Arts and Tech and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Training Centre, both in Zaria.

Alumni funds amidst funding shortfall

Despite having a rich alumni base, most Nigerian public institutions still grapple with a myriad of challenges, with arguably the most serious being poor funding.

This year, the federal government will again fail to fulfil its financial obligations as allocation to education is the lowest in 10 years, when measured as a percentage of the total budget.

The dip in the funding for the nation’s federal institutions (whose tuition fees and staff salaries are heavily subsidized) has contributed to the deplorable state of infrastructure in the schools and the incessant faceoff between the government and the institutions’ labour unions.

In one of her articles, Ngozi Edeagu, a professor of history, suggested that Nigerian universities need alternative income sources, like contributions by alumni, to boost their internally-generated revenues.

“It is no longer reasonable for alumni of the public universities in Nigeria to believe that the Nigerian government is financially capable of funding all aspects of higher education from paying staff salaries to heavily subsidizing student fees just because the institutions are publicly funded,” she wrote.

For instance, alumni donations to U.S. colleges totalled over $11 billion in 2019, according to a 2020 research by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The average alumni giving rate of the 1,451 ranked colleges in the U.S. during the 2018 and 2019 sessions was eight per cent, according to the data, and some schools raked in an average of about 55 per cent alumni giving rate.

Likewise, through its Oxford Thinking Campaign, which ran from 2004 to 2019, where alumni were encouraged to make donations through post, phone, wills, stocks and shares, the University of Oxford was able to raise £3.3 billion.

This explains why UK-based Bath University, and Harvard University in the U.S. have designated portals where alumni can give back to their schools.

On the contrary, checks on the alumni pages of the University of Ibadan, the University of Nigeria and the Federal University of Technology, Akure showed no clear-cut advisories on how their respective alumni could give back to the institutions. The page for Obafemi Awolowo University is down.

Although the University of Lagos has an alumni giving portal, the contact number provided for enquiry “does not exist” when it was dialed.

The Ahmadu Bello University has arguably the most structured alumni donation portal among the universities checked.

Ms Edeagu argued that poor record keeping by, and online presence of Nigerian institutions as well as unsatisfactory student experience and weak learning environments are limitations institutions must address to get their alumni on their sides.

“I believe public universities in Nigeria can considerably increase their funding through their alumni. Nigeria has the power of numbers to accomplish this feat. Let’s first find them, engage them, then unleash the financial floodgates,” Ms Edeagu wrote in her article.

Nigeria’s ministerial list as of 2021

Minister Portfolio State Age Primary school Secondary school University Honour Qualification Course Other schools
Muhammadu Buhari Petroleum Katsina 78 Katsina Middle School in 1953 Katsina Provincial Secondary School from in 1961 NDA in 1962. Mons Officer Cadet School, UK
Muhammad Bello Federal Capital Territory, FCT Adamawa 62 Our Lady’s High School, Kaduna in 1971 Barewa College, Zaria in 1976 Ahmadu Bello University Second Class Upper Bsc in 1980 and Msc in 1987 Business Admin for both degree Ahmadu Bello University for MSc in 1987 and International University of Africa in 1994
Godswill Akpabio Niger Delta Akwa Ibom 58 Methodist Pry Sch, Ukana, Akwa Ibom in 1974 Fed Govt College, PH in 1982 University of Calabar in 1987 LLB Law
Chris Ngige Labour and employment Anambra 68 St. Patrick School, Ogbete, Enugu in 1964 St John Sec Sch, Alor, Anambra in 1972 University of Nigeria in 1979 BM.BCH and Diploma in Hospital Management Medicine Pakistan National Public AdminInstitute of Peshawar, Pakistan in 1990
Sharon Ikeazor State, Environment Anambra 59 St. Mary’s Convenant School, Lagos in 1974 Kano Community College in 1978 University of Benin in 1984 LLB Law Ahmadu Bello University (IJMB in 1981)
Adamu Adamu Education Bauchi 66 Nasarawa Primary School, Azare in 1967 Government College, Azare Ahmadu Bello University Second Class Lower BMA and MMA Accounting; Journalism Columbia University
Maryam Katagum State Industry Bauchi 66 Ahmadu Bello University in 1976 BA, MA and Graduate Certificate in Education English MA in Administration and Planning at the University of Lagos in 1985; Certificate in Social Development Policy, Planning and Practice at the University College, London
Timipre Sylva State for Petroleum Bayelsa 56 Ajeromi Central IA School in 1976 Government Secondary School, Brass in 1981 University of Port Harcourt 1986 Second Class Upper BA English
George Akume Special Duties Benue 67 Tiv Native Authority Pry Sch, Wannune in 1966 Government Secondary School, Otukpo in 1971 University of Ibadan Second Class Lower BSS and MSS  Sociology (BSS); Labour Relations (MSS) Oxford University, UK; Queens University, Cananda
Mustapha Baba Shehuri Agriculture and Rural Development Borno 59 Gamboru primary school, Maiduguri in 1978 Government secondary school, Damagun, Borno in 1983 University of Maiduguri 2007 Second Class Lower BSc and Adv Dip Sociology and Anthropology
Goddy Jedy Agba State, Power Cross River 62 Ahmadu Bello University Second Class Lower BSc in 1983 and MILD in 1989 International Studies; Law and Diplomacy University of Lagos for Masters
Festus Keyamo State, Labour and Employment Delta 50 Oharisi (Model) Primary School, Ughelli in 1981 1981, Government College, Ughelli 1986  Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma in 1992 Second Class Upper LLB Law Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK where he qualified (Fellow)
Ogbonnaya Onu Science and Technology Ebonyi 69 Mary Knoll College, Cross River in 1967 Izzi High School, Ebonyi in 1970 University of Lagos in 1976 First Class BSc and PHD Chemical Engr University of California
Osagie Ehanire Health Edo 74 St Joseph Catholic School, Benin in 1959 Government College, Ibadan 1965 Ludwig-Maximillian Universtät München, 1973 MD and DA Medicine; Diploma in Anaesthetics Royal College of Surgeon in Ireland
Clement Ikanade Agba State for Budget Edo 55 St Vincent Pry School, Auchi, 1974 Avianwu Grammar School in 1979 Ambrose Alli University in 1985 Second Class Lower B.Sc and MBA Economics in 1985; Business Administration in 1995; Supply Chain Management in 2006 University of Benin; Arizona State University
Richard Adeniyi Adebayo Industry, Trade and Investment Ekiti 53 Corona School, Yaba in 1968 CMS Grammar School in 1974 University of Lagos in 1981 Second Class Lower School of Basic Studies, Kwara in 1975; Davies Tutors, Hove in 1977 Law School of Basic Studies, Kwara in 1975; Davies Tutors, Hove in 1977
Geoffrey Onyeama Foreign Affairs Enugu 65 Columbia University; Cambridge University 2BAs and 2MAs Political Science, 1977; Law in 1980 and 1982 and 1984 University of London for second maters
Ali Isa Pantami Communication Gombe 48 Pantami Pry Sch, 1987 Govt Science Sec Sch in 1993 Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Federal University of Tech, Bauchi Second Class Lower BTech and MTech and PGert Computer Science Robert Gondon University, UK
Emeka Nwajiuba Education Imo 53 Umuehie Pry School, Imo Uboma Sec Sch, Imo Imo State University in 1988 LLB and LLM; PhD in view Law University of Lagos and University of Jos (in view)
Suleiman Adamu Water Resources Jigawa 57 Ahmadu Bello University in 1984 Second Class Upper B.Eng Civil Engineering and Project Management
Zainab Ahmed Finance Kaduna 60 Queen Amina College, Kaduna in 1977 Ahmadu Bello University, 1981 Third Class BSc and MBA Accounting Ogun State University in 2004 (MBA)
Muhammad Mahmood Environment Kaduna 64 Central Washington University BSc, MSc (CWU) and PhD Microbiology in 1983; Resources Management in 1985; Watershed Management in 1990 University of Arizona in i990
Sabo Nanono Agriculture and Rural Development Kano 74 Governemnt College, Kano, 1968 Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria in 1972 Second Claass Upper B.Sc and MSc Business Admin; Public Policy and Admin University of Wisconsin in i977; Harvard Business School, USA, in i994
Bashir Salihi Magashi Defence Kano 75 Nigerian Defence Academy in 1968 Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria in 1983 Advanced diploma in public admin, LLB Law
Hadi Sirika Aviation Katsina 56 Shargalle Pry Sch Governemnt Sec Sch, Zaria College of Arts and Tech, Zaria; Nigeria Civil Aviation Training Centre, Zaria Diploma and MSc Aviation Delta Aeronautics Inc; Petroleum Helicopters Training Institute; Flight Safety Int; City University London
Abubakar Malami Justice/Attorney General of the Federation Kebbi 53 Nasarawa Pry Sch, B/Kebbi in 1979 College of Arts and Arabic Studies in 1984; College of Legal and Islmic Studies in 1987 Usmanu DanFodiyo University in 1991 LLB and MLB Law; Public Admin University of Maiduguri in 1994
Ramatu Tijjani State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Kogi 50 Dawaki Pry School, Niger in 1982 Federal Government College, Minna in 1988 Ahmadu Bello University in 2000 Second Class Lower BSc, MSc, PhD in view Urban and Regional Planning; Public Administration; Peace and Security Studies Nasarawa State University (MSc in 2014) and PhD in view since 2015
Lai Mohammed Information and Culture Kwara 69 Native Authority, Igbaja in 1962 Governemnt Sec Sch, Okene in 1970 Obafemi Awolowo University in 1976 Second Class Upper BA and LLB French; Law University of Lagos in 1985
Gbemisola Saraki State, Transportion Kwara The Cheltenham Ladies College in 1982 Brook House College, Market Harborough in 1984 University of Sussex Falmer in 1987 BA Economics in 1987
Babatunde Fashola Works and Housing Lagos Baptist Academy, Ikorodu Igbobi College, 1982 University of Benin in 1987 Second Class Lower LLB Law
Adeleke Mamora State for Health Lagos 68 Obafemi Awolowo University BSc Health Sciences and Medicine
Mohammed H. Abdullahi State, Science and Technology Nasarawa 52 Central Primary School, Uke, 1979 Government Secondary School, Uke, 1984 Usamu DanFodiyo University, 1990 LLB Law
Zubair Dada State, Foreign Affairs Niger 68 Gwari NA Pry Sch, Minna, 1964 School of Basic Studies, ABU, Zaria in 1970 Ahmadu Bello University in 1974 BA and MA French; Law and Diplomacy University of Jos in 1998; School of Basic Studies, ABU, Zaria in 1970
Olamilekan Adegbite Mines and Steel Development Ogun 58 Government College, Ibadan in 1987 University of Lagos, 1985 Third Class BES and MES Architecture
Tayo Alasoadura State, for Niger Delta Ondo 71 Ajuwa Grammar Sch, 1967 Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria ICAN, FCA, ACCA, FCCA Accounting Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants in England and Chartered Insrtitute of Taxation of Nigeria
Rauf Aregbesola Interior Osun 63 Akoko Grammar School, Akoko in 1975 The Polytechnic, Ibadan, 1980 Lower Credit HND Mechanical Engineering
Sunday Dare Youth and Sports Oyo 54 Baptist High School, Jos in 1983 Ahmadu Bello University in 1991 Second Class Upper BSc, MSc and NCE International Studies; International Law and Diplomacy; Government, Economics and Geography University of Jos in 1996; New York University; Harvard Niemen Journalism; Oxford University, UK; Oyo State College of Arts and Science, Ile Ife
Paulen Tallen Women Affairs Plateau 62 Sacred Heart Pry School, Shendam in 1971 Government Girls’ College, Kano in 1076 University of Jos in 1982 Second Class Lower BSc Sociology John F.N Kennedy School of Government, 2002
Rotimi Amaechi Transportation Rivers 55 Theresa’s Pry Sch, Ubima in 1976 Government Secondary School, Okolobiri in 1982 University of Port Harcourt, 1987 Second Class Lower BA and MA English
Maigari Dingyadi Police Affairs Sokoto 68 Aboro Baraya Pry School in 1967 Nagarta College, Sokoto, 1972 Ahmadu Bello University in 1978 BSc Political Science
Sale Mamman Power Taraba 63 LEA Pry School, Taraba in 1973 Government Technical College Kano in 1983 Kaduna Polytechnic in 1988; Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, 1991 OND, HND; Diploma; MBA; PGDM Electrical Engineering; Masters in Human Relations Bayero University (Diploma in 2003 and MBA in 2015, MEng in 2010, PGDM in 2012)
Abubakar D. Aliyu State, Works and Housing Yobe 54 University of Maiduguri in 1999 Second Class Lower BEng Civil and Water Resources
Sadiya Umar Faruk Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management Zamfara 48 Township Pry Sch, Gusau in 1983 Federal Government Girls’ College Gusau in 1989 Ahmadu Bello University in 1998 to 2011 Third Class BSc, 2MSc Business Administration (BSc in 1998 and MSC in 2011); International Affairs and Diplomacy in 2008
Ikechukwu Ogah State Mines and Steel Abia 51 Ishiagu High School in 1989 Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu; attended University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN); Ogun State University; University of Lagos Distinction HND, 2BScs, MBA Accounting; Banking and Finance; Business Administration

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