Yaba College of Technology, colloquially known as Yabatech is arguably the most notable polytechnic in Nigeria. It is located in the centre of Lagos metropolis, it boasts of over 25,000-body of students and a respectable list of alumni. In a culture where polytechnic education is continually seen as the second choice when compared with universities, Yabatech garners a dose of respect that many universities can only dream about. Here are five facts you need to know about the university.
1, It is the oldest tertiary institution in Nigeria.
The University of Ibadan has prided itself as the premier institution in Nigeria. This honour, however, belongs to Yabatech which came into being in 1932 as Yaba Higher College, an all-male college that was set to provide the colonial rulers’ assistants, artisans and mid-level staffs to help in running colonial offices and departments, and provide teachers to aid in the education of other Nigerians.
The school offered courses in agriculture, forestry, veterinary science, medicine, surveying and civil and mechanical engineering fields. First executive president of Nigeria Shehu Shagari, the founder of Nigerian Stoke Exchange Akintola Williams and the author T.M Aluko were some of the numerous graduates of this college.
The college metamorphosed into Yaba College of Technology in 1947 while a large junk of its staff moved to Ibadan to man the newly created the University College. Thus, in a way, Yabatech nurtured the first university in Nigeria.
2, Obasanjo is an alumnus of the college.
Two-time Nigerian head of state Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a graduate of Yabatech. The rector, Dr. Margaret Lapido disclosed this fact during the 70 year anniversary of the College in 2017. She said that: “This college has produced many great personalities like the late retired Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, former President Olusegun Obasanjo among others; so, Yabatech has impacted on this country and all over the world.”
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It is unclear when and what Obasanjo studied in the college as most documents about Obasanjo’s biography are silent about his Yabatech days. There is no denying the fact that he was in the college. Besides Obasanjo and the former military vice president of Nigeria, other notable graduates include the popular novelist Cypril Ekwensi and co-founder of Guarantee Trust Bank, Fola Adeola.
3, The Institution has produced over 50,000 graduates.
With over 70 accredited courses, Yabatech leads the way in the number of students produced by colleges and polytechnics in Nigeria. This was obtained by Vanguard in the speech made by the rector Dr Lapido at the marking of its 2016/2017 graduation ceremony which equally marked the celebration of its 70th year in existence. Dr Lapido didn’t explain whether this 50,000 number of graduates cover the Higher National Diploma section alone or includes both the Ordinary and Higher diplomas.
Whatever the parameter used, this is no mean achievement for Yabatech. For a school which started with 400 students and now boast of graduating 0.05 million students (and counting) being just one of about 400 tertiary institutions in Nigeria points to their leading status among schools in Nigeria.
4, Yabatech has a degree programme.
For years, the management of Yabatech and elements of federal authorities most notably then minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili have made efforts to convert the college of technology into a university. While these efforts have not attained their goal, and still remain in the pipeline, Yabatech is a degree-awarding institution. On what can be likened to the proverbial cutting off the tail of an animal you failed to kill, Yabatech offers a bachelor’s degree in education (B.Ed) styled the School of Technical Education (STE), run in affiliation the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
Besides this, Yabatech equally run a post-graduate diploma which enables its graduates to enter universities for master’s degrees. This diploma is jointly run with the Federal University of Technology, Akure.
5, The College leads the way in many aspects.
Yabatech, besides being the first tertiary institution, leads in many other aspects. It is the first technology school to establish a Centre of Entrepreneurial Development Centre (CEDR) which offers mandatory courses for all students in human capacity development, entrepreneurial skills, commerce, industry etc. the school equally has the Applied Research and Technology Research (ARTR) department that coordinates intra-college and inter-college researches. They also have the Quality Assurance Unit which supervises and ensures the standard of delivery in the school.