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Nigerian Politicians and Their Affiliation with Private Universities

As of November 27, 2023, a total of 147 private universities have been approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Universities Commission (NUC). These private institutions, which exist alongside public universities, have seen significant growth since 1999, with various factors like industrial actions, poor funding, and issues in public universities contributing to their proliferation. Notably, many private universities have affiliations with political figures in Nigeria. Here is an overview of some private universities and their political connections:

  1. Bells University, Ogun State: Founded by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Bells University also involves former governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dakwambo, and former senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello on its board.
  2. American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State: Owned by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was also a presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections.
  3. Amaj University, Kwali, Abuja: Established by former Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, it is one of the recently licensed private universities.
  4. Hensard University, Bayelsa State: A newly licensed institution owned by former Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson.
  5. PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Rivers State: Founded by former Rivers State Governor Peter Odili, with former military administrator Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar and Senator Abu Ibrahim on its board.
  6. Baze University, Abuja: Founded by Datti Baba-Ahmed, a one-time senator and vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 elections.
  7. Eastern Palms University, Imo State: Owned by former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha.
  8. Edwin Clark University: Founded by elder statesman Edwin Clark.
  9. Sports University, Delta State: Established by Senator Ned Nwoko, who obtained the license for the institution in 2021.

Apart from owning universities, some politicians also hold positions on the boards and governing councils of private universities:

  • Remi Tinubu, the current First Lady and former senator, is a member of the board of trustees at Kings University in Osun State.
  • Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo State, is a member of the board of trustees at Achievers University.
  • Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Osita Izunaso, and others sit on the governing council of Nile University in Abuja.
  • Sam Ohuabunwa, a PDP chieftain, is the Chairman of the Council at Gregory University Uturu in Abia State.
  • Muhammed Usman, a former member of the Eighth House of Representatives, is a board member at Greenfield University in Kaduna.

These affiliations underscore the intersection of education and politics in Nigeria, raising questions about the influence and impact of political figures in the country’s higher education landscape.

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