List of Ministers of Education in Nigeria and their professional background

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Federal Ministry of Education headquarters in Abuja
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This article provides the list of ministers of education in Nigeria since its independence in 1960. That office as it is today has had different nomenclature and office holders with diverse professional backgrounds.

EduCeleb.com takes into account the titles of the offices held, its time span, the sex of the office holders and their professional background beyond the time they held the office. This is done to give a picture of the personalities behind the office and its equivalents at various times in Nigeria’s post-independence history.

The Federal Ministry of Education is the main government agency that coordinates the formulation of National Policies and guidelines for uniform standards, collect and collate data for the purpose of planning, financing and ensuring quality control at all levels of Education in Nigeria. This is as enshrined in various statutory instruments, including the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Policy on Education amongst others.

Whoever is appointed minister by the president is the overall head of the ministry. He/She is assisted in this administration by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry.

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The office of Minister of Education is more of a political appointment depending on the choice of whoever heads the country at one time or another. Just as governments change, ministers do too.

In Nigeria, the changes of education ministers have been more than double the number of government changes.

Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, a total of 51 persons have been minister of education.

The following Nigerians have acted in the capacity of Minister of Education in Nigeria or Minister of State for Education in Nigeria’s history.

Please, note that EduCeleb.com had done due diligence to ensure that every of the information herewith provided is accurate relying on multiple reputable sources based on our research.

Fun facts about Nigeria’s Ministers of Education (1960-2020)
* 51 persons have either been Minister or Minister of State for Education 11 of them were women
* 23 were teachers at various levels of education before their appointment
* 15 of them studied education courses and practised that in their professional lives
* 11 of them were involved in educational administration in their professional lives before the appointment

Requirements of becoming the Minister of Education

The office of minister of education is sensitive as actions taken by the occupier influences the education sector to a large extent.

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According to Section 147 (5) of the 1999 constitution as amended, the only qualification for one to be appointed as Minister is that the person must be “qualified for election into the House of Representatives”.

A person is qualified to be in the House of Representatives, according section 65 (2) of the Nigerian constitution if, they have “been educated up to at least School Certificate level or equivalent” and are “member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.”

Clearly, there is no reference to the professional background of a minister of education. In a past interview with EduCeleb.com, a retired professor of French education, Remi Sonaiya said that heading the education ministry is basically administrative.

In her words, “Being a minister is more of management. Yes, you should be knowledgeable about the area. But it is really more about the proper management of resources.”

Albeit, the somewhat irrelevance of educational background, various stakeholders continue to advocate for the appointment of qualified hands in the ministry. We shall be including the professional qualifications here for reference sake.  

List of Ministers of Education in Nigeria and their professional background

S/N Name Time in Office Gender Office held Professional Background
  Mr Aja Nwachukwu August 1958 to December 1964 Male Minister of Education (also of Foreign Affairs) Lawyer
  Chief Richard Akinjide January 1965 to January 1966 Male Minister of Education Lawyer
  Mr S.S. Waniko January1966 to June 1967 Male *Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Archivist, Public  Administrator
  Mr Wenike Briggs June 1967 to October 1971 Male Federal Commissioner for Education Lawyer, Journalist
  Chief Abudu Yesufu Eke October 1971 to July 1975 Male Federal Commissioner for Education Publisher, University Administrator
  Colonel Ahmadu Ali July 1975 to October 1978 Male Minister of Education Physician, Military Officer
  Dr Garrick B. Leton October 1978 to September 1979 Male Minister of Education Biochemist
  Dr Sylvester Ugoh December 1979 to February 1982 Male Minister of Education Economist
  Alhaji Binyaminu Usman Hadejia December 1979 to February 1982 Male Minister of State for Education I Educational Administrator
  Mrs Elizabeth Afadzwana Ivase December 1979 to February 1982 Female Minister of State for Education II Educationist, Educational Administrator
  Dr (later Professor) Ihechukwu Chiedozie Madubuike February 1982 to September 1983 Male Minister of Education Literary Critic, Author, University Academic (Afro-American Literature), Politician
  C. A. Bamigboye February 1982 to September 1983 Male Minister of State for Education (without a cabinet rank) Public Servant
  Chief Sunday Afolabi October to December 1983 Male Minister of Education Accountant
  Alhaji Yarima Ibrahim Abdullahi February 1984-August 1985 Male Minister of Education, Science and Technology Banker, Public Administrator
  Professor Jibril Aminu 1985 – 1989 Male Minister of Education Cardiologist, University Academic (Medicine), Diplomat
  Professor Babatunde Aliu Fafunwa 1989 to 1992 Male Minister of Education Educationist, University Academic (Education)
  Professor Ben Nwabueze January 1993 to August 1993 Male Minister of (later Secretary of) Education and Youth Development Administrator, Businessman, University Academic (Law)
  Alhaji Bello Dogondaji January 1993 to January 1994 Male Minister of State for (later Secretary of) Education and Youth Development Educationist,  Education Administrator
  Professor Abraham Inanoya Imogie August 1993 to November 1993 Male Secretary of State for  Education and Youth Development Educationist, University Academic (Educational Psychology and Curriculum Studies)
  Dr Iyorchia Ayu January 1994 to February 1995 Male Minister of Education Sociologist, University Academic
  Alhaji Muhammadu Hamisu (popularly known as Wada Nas) January 1995 to February 1995 Male Minister of State for Education Businessman, Politician
  Dr M.T. Liman February 1995 to December 1997 Male Minister of Education Linguist, University Academic (Arabic)
  Mrs Iyabo Veronica Anisulowo February 1997 to December 1997 Female Minister of State for Education Public administrator
  Alhaji Dauda Birmah December 1997 to June 1998) Male Minister of Education Public administrator, Politician
  Dr Rose Nkechi Achunine December 1997 to June 1998 Female Minister of State for Education Educationist, Educational administrator, University Academic
  Dr Olaiya Oni August 1998 to May 1999 Male Minister of Education Public administrator, Politician
  Alhaji Saka Saadu August 1998 to May 1999 Male Minister of State for Education Science Educationist, Author, Public administrator
  Professor Tunde Adeniran June 1999 to January 2001 Male Minister of Education Politician, Diplomat, University Academic (Political Science)
  Alhaji Lawal Batagarawa June 1999 to January 2001 Male Minister of State for Education Educationist, Public administrator, Politician,
  Professor Abraham Babalola Borishade February 2001 to June 2003 Male Minister of Education Engineer, Politician, University Academic (Engineering)
  Alhaji Bello Usman February 2001 to June 2003 Male Minister of State for Education Politician
  Professor Fabian Osuji July 2003 to February 2005 Male Minister of Education University Academic (Zoology), Educational administrator
  Hajiya Bintu Ibrahim Musa July 2003 to June 2005 Female Minister of State for Education Politician
  Professor Chinwe Obaji June 2005 to June 2006 Female Minister of Education University Academic (Agriculture)
  Mrs Halima Tayo Alao July 2005 to June 2006 Female Minister of State for Education Architect, Public Administrator
  Dr Grace Ogwuche February 2006 to June 2006 Female Minister of State for Education Educationist, School Administrator
  Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili June 2006 to April 2007 Female Minister of Education Accountant, Public Administrator
  Dr Sayyadi Abba Ruma June 2006 to April 2007 Male Minister of State for Education I Historian, Public Administrator, Politician
  Dr Adewunmi Abitoye June 2006 to May 2007 Male Minister of State for Education II Public Administrator, Politician
  Dr Igwe Aja Nwachukwu June 2007 to October 2008) Male Minister of Education Educationist, University Academic
  Dr Jerry Agada June 2007 to October 2008 Male Minister of State for Education I Educationist, School administrator, Public administrator
  Mrs Aishatu Jibril Dukku June 2007 to March 2010 Female Minister of State for Education II Educationist, School administrator
  Dr Sam Egwu December 2008 to April 2010 Male Minister of Education Educationist, University Academic
  Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i April 2010 to May 2011 July 2011 to September 2013 Female Minister of Education Educationist, University Academic (Education)
  Kenneth Gbagi April 2010 to May 2011 Male Minister of State for Education Lawyer, Industrialist, Politician
  Nyesom Wike July 2011-October 2014 Male Minister of State for Education (later Supervising Minister) Lawyer
  Professor Viola Onwuliri October 2014 to May 2015 Female Minister of State for Education Biochemist, University Academic
  Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau July 2014 – May 2015 Male Minister of Education Educationist, Secondary School administrator
  Adamu Adamu November 2015 – May 2019 September 2019 – Date Male Minister of Education Accountant, Journalist, Multilingual Translator
  Professor Anthony Anwukah November 2015 – May 2019 Male Minister of State for Education Educationist, University Academic (Curriculum, Educational Administration), Higher Education administrator
  Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba September 2019 – Date Male Minister of State for Education Lawyer

*There was no Minister of Education within the period of 15 months between January 1966 and June 1967. So, the then Permanent Secretary of the ministry assumed the responsibility.

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