As of November 27, 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Universities Commission (NUC), has authorized a total of 147 private universities.
This number has significantly increased from just three in 1999.
These private institutions operate alongside universities owned by the Federal and state governments.
The increase in private universities is attributed to ongoing issues in public universities, such as frequent industrial actions, poor funding, and deteriorating conditions.
The NUC has reported over 270 pending requests for establishing new private universities.
According to Punch, an analysis from the NUC website indicates that many of these private universities are established by religious organizations and both past and serving politicians.
In this article, the platform highlighted some of the private universities founded by members of the Nigerian political class.
1. Bells University, Ogun state – This institution was founded by former president, Olusegun Obasanjo. The institution also has on its board a former governor of Gombe state, Ibrahim Dakwambo, and a former senator representing Ogun Central, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello.
2. American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa state: This school is owned by a former vice-president of Nigeria and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 general elections, Atiku Abubakar.
3. Amaj University, Kwali, Abuja: This institution is owned by a former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa. The University received its license in 2023 and is one of the youngest private universities in the country.
4. Hensard University, Bayelsa state: Like Amaj University, Hensard is also one of the newly licensed private universities in Nigeria and is owned by a former governor of Bayelsa state, Seriake Dickson.
5. PAMO University of Medical Sciences, Rivers state: A former governor of Rivers state, Peter Odili is the founder of PAMO University of Medical Sciences, the first private medical university in Nigeria. The institution also has on its board, former military administrator, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, a senator representing Katsina South, Abu Ibrahim.
6. Baze University, Abuja: A one-time senator and vice presidential candidate of the Labour Party during the 2023 presidential election, Datti Baba-Ahmed is the founder of Abuja-based University, Baze.
7. Eastern Palms University, Imo state: A former governor of Imo state and senator who represented Imo West senatorial district in the ninth senate, Rochas Okorocha is the founder of this institution.
8. Edwin Clark University: A former federal commissioner of Information and elder statesman, Edwin Clark is the founder of Edwin Clark University.
9. Sports University, Delta State: This first private university of sports is owned by a current senator, Ned Nwoko. He obtained the license for the institution in 2021.
Meanwhile, some other private universities also have past and serving politicians as members of the Board of Trustees and governing councils.
For instance, The current First Lady and former senator representing Lagos West senatorial district, Remi Tinubu is a member of the board of trustees at Kings University in Odemu, Osun state.
The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN is a member, the board of trustees, Achievers University.
The Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Senator representing Imo West senatorial district, Osita Izunaso among others sit on the governing council of Abuja-based Nile University.
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Sam Ohuabunwa is the Chairman of the Council, Gregory University Uturu in Abia state.
Kaduna-based Greenfield University also has on its board, a former member of the Eighth House of Representatives, Muhammed Usman as a member among others.