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List of Top 10 Universities In Nigeria (2023 Ranking)

Universities in Nigeria has been making huge changes in their outlook as well as the mode of education which has made University rankings in Nigeria a herculean task. While searching the internet for the top 10 universities in Nigeria for 2023, we came across one single problem.

Not that I couldn’t find any article with a list of the top universities in Nigeria actually we came across a lot, but most were practically defective. While most websites have taken the diligence to compile a good list of the top 10 universities in Nigeria, there was always a problem with this list: the criteria-on what criteria were these list based?

Giving a list of the top 10 universities in Nigeria should have criteria so that the reader can have substantial points to ponder on and as well decide if your observations are right or not.

In the light of the above, We decided to compile a list of the top 10 universities in Nigeria and please this is not just yet another list. This list has criteria for determining the position each school occupies and you can actually disagree or agree with it if you find that the facts are not right which we believe actually are.

On what criteria is this list based?

This list is based on the most sought-after universities in the just completed 2023/2024 UTME examination.  It is based on the schools that gain the highest number of applicants. So you could easily title this post as the top 10 Most Sought-after Universities in Nigeria and you’d be right.

The list has been arranged in an ascending order, simply put, from the least to the number 1 spot. Like we said earlier, everybody is entitled to their opinion without being biased.

List of Top 10 Universities In Nigeria ([year] Ranking) 1

Top 10 Best Universities In Nigeria 2023

# 10. University of Jos

What became the University of Jos was established in November 1971 as a satellite campus of the University of Ibadan. In January 1972, The first sets of students were admitted into the university as pre-degree students with the first Bachelor of Arts degree program begun in October 1973. In October 1975, the military government under General Murtala Mohammed established the Unijos as a separate institution. The first Vice-Chancellor of the Unijos was Professor Gilbert Onuaguluchi. In 1976, lectures began at the University of Jos with 575 students. UniJos currently has about 30 000 students with Prof. Hayward B. Mafuyai being the current Vice-chancellor.

The tenth University on this list is the prestigious UNIJOS. With a total of 40,366 applications from all over the country.

# 9. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Established in 1961, OAU, as it is commonly called, is located in Ile-Ife, Osun State. The university started out with five faculties – Agriculture, Arts, Economics, Social Studies, Law, and Sciences. Eight other faculties have since been added, including Pharmacy and Engineering. It has a population of about 35,000 students excluding the postgraduate programs. It is currently ranked 1988 in the world.

While compiling this list one question kept coming up again and again: why is OAU not up on this list? It seems most students are avoiding this university because of its high score requirements and strict rules. Well, it received a total of 45,924 which is more than enough for it anyway.

# 8. University of Ibadan

The University of Ibadan, popularly known as UI is the oldest university in Nigeria. and was established in 1948. It is located in Ibadan, Oyo state. Besides the College of Medicine, there are 11 other faculties including the faculty of Arts, Law, and Technology and 33,841 students. It became the first Nigerian university to make top 1000 in the Times Higher Education rankings. It is currently ranked 1336 in the world.

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Popularly reputed to be the best university in Nigeria, University of Ibadan received a total of 59,176 making it the 8th most sought-after universities in the country. Though many would still argue UI to be on the number one spot of the Top 10 Universities in Nigeria.

# 7. University of Lagos

The University of Lagos or UNILAG as it is popularly called is located in Lagos State. The first campus is at Akoka, Yaba while the medical campus is at Idi-Araba, Surulere. The University Of Lagos was established in 1962. Former President Goodluck Jonathan tried to change its name to  Moshood Abiola University – MAULAG, in 2012, Which was never done.

It is one of the most competitive in the country in terms of admissions but it still has approximately 57,000 students. It has faculties of Arts, Law, Sciences, Engineering, Medical sciences etc, and is currently ranked 2614 in the world.

The University of Lagos state seems to be on every list of the top universities in Nigeria and it is not excluded on this one, however, it went lower than expected; it received a total of 60,659 making it the seventh most sought-after universities in Nigeria

# 6. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK)

Nnamdi Azikiwe University came was conceived as an offshoot of the popular Anambra State University of Technology. The Anambra State University Of Technology which was established through Law No. 7 of 30 July 1980 by the Government of the old Anambra operated as a multi-campus university, with campuses in Abakiliki, Enugu, Awka, and Nnewi.  After the then Anambra State was divided two states  (Anambra and the Enugu States) the Awka and Nnewi campuses of the former Anambra State University of Technology were combined into Nnamdi Azikiwe University, which was later taken over by Federal government by Decree No. 34 of July 15, 1992. The university is named after

Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria. The Awka Campus became Nnamdi Azikiwe University. In 1992, the Federal Government of Nigeria took over the University from Anambra State. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, thus, became a Federal University.

This is the dream destination for most students. Nnamdi Azikiwe University received a total of 61, 862 applications from the just concluded UTME exams making it the 6th on the 2023 rank.

5. Bayero University, Kano (BUK)

While starting out Bayero University bore the name of Ahmadu Bello College, the college was named after  Ahmadu Bello-the premier of the northern protectorate. Bayero University was founded by the Northern Nigeria Ministry of Education in January 1960. The northern Nigeria Ministry of Education was headed then by Isa Kaita to prepare senior secondary certificate holders for G.C.E. and A-level in Arabic, Hausa, Islamic History, Islamic studies and English Literature.  After the completion of  the ABU in

Zaria, Kaduna State, the Ahmadu Bello College’s name was changed to Abdullahi Bayero College. This is in respect of Abdullahi Bayero-the then Emir of Kano and soon thereafter it became a faculty of the new University. The Abdullahi Bayero college was originally located on the same piece of land with the School of Arabic Studies close to the palace of the Emir, however, the college was later moved to a new location at the old Kano Airport Hotel.

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It remained on old Kano Airport Hotel until March 1968, then was later moved to Western Kano, in order to make way for a military hospital (the Nigerian Civil War had started the previous year). The college opened officially in 1964 and The first sets of students began their studies and they graduated in 1966.

The college officially became a university in 1975 and was subsequently renamed Bayero University College, with Mahmud Tukur as principal. The Bayero College remains a college until 1977 when its status was upgraded to that of a university and Bayero University became the name; Tukur became Vice-Chancellor. Even though the college was renamed as a university, it was still functioning as a faculty to ABU until In 1980 when the university was severed from the Ahmadu Bello University.

This school may not be as popular in the news as well as on the Internet but it seems lots of students are secretly applying to it. It received a total of 64,220 applications.

4. University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Once known as the University of Biafra, the University of Nigeria is located in Nsukka, Enugu State and was established in 1955 by the then Premier of the Eastern Region – Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe. The University of Nigeria has over 14 faculties and more than 100 academic departments; it offers a wide variety of undergraduate programs and postgraduate programs. It is currently ranked 2653 in the world.

It seems the University of Nigeria is doing quite well although its almost off the news but still very popular. It received a total of 65,954 applications.

3. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria

Founded on the 4 of October 1962, the Ahmadu Bello University is located in Zaria, Kaduna State and is named after the Sardauna of Sokoto – Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the first premier of Northern Nigeria. Ahmadu Bello University has a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

The Ahmadu Bello University’s Teaching Hospital is one of the largest in the country. The university boasts of one of the highest amounts of graduates turned political leaders such as former president of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, former Vice Presidents Namadi Sambo and Atiku Abubakar, and also a host of former governors.

It is currently ranked 3049 in the world.

With a number of applicants totaling 75,383, the prestigious Ahmadu Bello university came 3 on our list.

2. University of Benin

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 1 July 1971. However, the institution had a change of name from the Institute of Technology to the University of Benin. In 1972, the optometry program was introduced to the University under the leadership of Dr. Paul Ogbuehi in the faculty of science.

There were several qualified professionals with practice licenses from abroad in the optometry program in the university by 1976. The Optometry program became a huge success and had a faculty-student ratio of 2:1. Many of these students are from the College of Medicine and Medical Sciences earned its accredited On 1 April 1975 the University at the request of the State Government, was taken over by the Federal Government and became a Federal University.

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The second school on our list is the University of Benin. The University received a total of 81,363 applications from various parts of the country in the 2022 UTME Examination.

1. University of Ilorin

And surprisingly to many, the University of Ilorin ranks as the number one on the list of Top 10 universities in Nigeria.

Unilorin is located in Ilorin, Kwara State and was established by a decree of the Military government in 1975. The main campus of the University of Benin houses the Faculties of Agriculture, Engineering and Technology, Science, Arts, Law, Education, Business, Social Sciences, and an extensive post-graduate school. The University Of Benin has a population of 20,000 students and is ranked 2,986 in the world.

The University of Ilorin came first on our list of the top 10 Universities in Nigeria. It has a total of 105,500 applicants in the just concluded 2023/2024 UTME Examination!

It seems most northern universities could not make this list. One can easily see the reason for this. The fear of most students going to the north to study is really overwhelming and this is not just on the part of the students but also their friends and families. I could remember a friend of a friend telling me that she’d love to school in the University of Maiduguri but her parents wouldn’t let her because of the issues of insurgency going on in the North eastern part the country. So this list might actually not reflect the truth about the most sought-after universities in the country until the issue is dealt with and the country is free again from terrorism and violence.

Why no state university?

A critical look at this list shows that there’s no state university. A lot of reasons might be the cause of this defect. Most applicants prefer the federal universities to states because of the prestige accord federal university and secondly because federal universities are more open to students from other states than state universities.

If you are an indigene of Benue good luck gaining admission to Osun state university. With this in mind, most applicants who wish to study outside the state of their origin know that they have better chances of getting admission to federal universities in their catchment areas than the state universities and so federal universities receive more students than any state university in the country.

Hope this was informative enough? if you have any question(s) as regards the top 10 Universities in Nigeria, simply scroll down to the comment section below, post your questions and we will shall respond in no time.

Also, to get the latest information about the Universities in Nigeria and happenings in all Nigerian universities generally, you could subscribe to our blog in order to be up-to-date.


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  1. Olujimi Olanrewaju Joseph

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