Best Universities/Polys in Nigeria: Aspirants Should Beware! -
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Best Universities/Polys in Nigeria: Aspirants Should Beware!

University/polytechnic ranking matters?
Have you seen or heard a student asking “what is the best university?”

I have seen, read, and heard people talking about the latest list of best universities in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.

The question, from an admission seekers’ perspective, is to decide which universities to go for. Everybody wants not only a university but the very best one.

If you’re on this page to find out which university is the best, the resources compiled in this post will take you by the hands and comprehensively show you what you must know about universities ranking and why it may or may not matter for your admission decisions.

The Ranking You See Out There is Not Totally Academic Base

I’ve seen a series of posts ranking universities in Nigeria. If you check the ranking on the TFE Times, it’s a mere compilation of 113 universities in Nigeria. Students and visitors are the ones voting for those universities to be ranked. The more votes by you and me, the higher the university ranks!

In other words, there is no official or unique basis for the ranking. Anybody can just vote for a school as being better than the others. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in terms of academic efficiency, structure, architecture, or administration.

It’s better to say that the ranking there, is influenced by individual voter’s love for the schools. In fact, if I should vote, I will, of course, vote for my school. Who wouldn’t?

The World University Ranking by Times Higher Education is almost a direct copy of the TFE Times compilation (stated above).

In other words, no specific reasons for this ranking. In fact, the page is filled with our regular universities and short stories on their years of establishment, the number of faculties and departments. Nothing to prove that they’re the best at what they do.

World Scholarship Forum claimed they compiled a list of the top 10 best universities in the country based on the latest rankings from University ranking bodies like Times Higher Education World University Ranking, U.S. News & World Report Best Global University Ranking, Academic Ranking of World Universities, World University Rankings and The Reuters Top 100.

To make the matter worse, WSF stated that the list was also in accordance with what National University Commission (NUC) released.

During my findings, NUC has denied ranking any Nigerian university. The commission’s executive Secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, MFR, FNAL, has clarified that the Commission has not done any ranking exercise or ranked any university in Nigeria in the past 14 years (as at 2019).

Then, where did they get their data?

Even where data are truly supported like that of Online Webmetrics, it’s hard for the so-called best universities to tick all the boxes.

Just recently, a US Dr. Thorp has condemned a similar ranking which, he referred to be more misleading in making the right decisions by protective admission seekers.

He observed, 

To any logical scientific observer, the fine distinctions of where schools show up on this list are statistically meaningless—but try telling that to a roomful of alumni or parents. Countless hours of trustee meetings are spent going over the minute details of the formula and setting institutional goals. Achieving these goals usually means doing things that make the college or university less accessible, like admitting more students with high standardized test scores

With this basis and level of confusion, what should a prospective admission seeker conclude to?

The answer, to that question, is embedded in the rest of this post. Ride along!

All Universities are the Best, All Students are Not

As a matter of fact, what I’ve learnt, as an education consultant, in the past is best summarized in the heading to this section.

All universities are best, all students are not.

The conclusion by some people that a university is better than others is usually around fallacy.

If you see a very brilliant graduate of the University of Ibadan, that doesn't mean all graduates of the university are bright.

See, if you give recognition of the best to a school because of your personal and better experiences of her products, you’ve just concluded that no one else had had bad experiences with the same school’s products.

The point I'm making here is that every school is producing the best students from its various departments. So also, every school is producing the worst students from the same departments. Best universities thing may just be the old glory of those institutions.

Case Study of Underrated Universities Producing Best Students

In 2017, a group of LAUTECH students won a competition at the University of Lagos – beating the host and others. This surprise winning happened despite and during the two-year strike that hit the state-owned university.

In 2019, Osun State University law student emerged the first position at the concluded National Moot and Mock Competition. It’s worth noting that all Nigerian Universities were invited but about 25 only qualified to start the competition.

Similarly, the university emerged the winner of the 1st National Engineering Students’ Competition of the Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology of Nigerian Universities (CODET) south-west zone held on Tuesday, 14th June 2016 at University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, to proceed to the national level alongside with other winning Universities from the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

Adekunle Ajasin University student, in 2015, emerged runner-up at the 2015 edition of the Best Marketing Student Award Examination organized by the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria and manufacturing giant, Unilever.

These are just a few cases that show very many universities that are not ranked well on those lists you have out there but had proved themselves academically and beat their counterparts on several occasions.

You Had Better Asked of the Best University for "You"

If you’re seriously seeking to find the list of best universities, maybe you should find the perfect yardsticks for your findings first. This is the only thing I can accept as the right basis to measure which is which.

If you’re poor, your search may be the best universities in terms of expenses i.e the cheapest universities. In such a case, you may want to consider any federal university over the state-owned or state over private.

If you can’t compete with admission seekers into certain competitive universities, you may want to ask, best less-competitive universities. In that case, you may consider universities in the north as more people are not planning to move from the west or south to the north (more recently).

You can as well, ask the best universities for Medicine, Agriculture, Engineering, etc. In such a case, consider any available specialized universities for your course. For example, the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta is perfect for Agric courses, Federal University of Technology Akure is perfect for Engineering and Technological courses. The Ondo State University of Medicine may do better than those other conventional universities. Tai Solarin University of Education and Adeyemi University of Education specializes in training teachers better than other conventional universities.

Go for the Best Grades, Not the Best Universities

Let me take you a bit further.

Don’t be hungry for the best university. Be hungry for the best grade.

Similar to what I’d said earlier, it doesn’t matter in this part of the world, the university that produces you. What matters, in the long run, is the grade you come out with.

Haven’t you seen an Accounting graduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University who was just a taxi driver while a Physical and Health Education graduate of the University of Maiduguri was working in a bank?

If you haven't, look around. They’re close to you.

Do you know why this happens?

Even though there are other cases that may lead one to not getting a job in Nigeria, 70% (from personal experience) is a result of lower grades the victims are carrying around.

The importance of going to the so-called best schools is now fading. It's not enough to go to a university because of the old glory of that school. What is in vogue now is the best grade.

If you finish from the University of Benin with third-class lower and a friend finishes from Ahmadu Bello University with First Class, he is most likely going to get the next offer before you.

Do you get the point?

To this end, if you know of universities producing graduates with a higher number of first-class and second-class upper graduates, that may be the best universities you should be looking for.


I’m sure this piece is far different from anything else you might have come across regards the universities' ranking and best universities in Nigeria. I’m speaking from experiences and data available – which you can check yourself.

The summary of this post is to discourage you from chasing the so-called best schools but instead gain admission into any available institution and focus on coming out with the best grade (in fact, the course may not matter in the end).

The only power you have as a graduate is more of your grade than the university or the course. The higher it is, the better it's for you. The lover it is (no matter the ranking of your university), the worst it’s for you.

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1 comment:

  1. I really love the points sighted here for choosing the best schools in Nigeria. This would be really helpful for the new admissions seekers rather than those published online without any valid reference points in their ranking other than votes!


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