former ministers of education in Nigeria Ahmadu-Ali was one of them

Past and Present Ministers of Education in Nigeria (1958 Till Date)

Last updated on August 17th, 2023 at 08:10 pm


Since 1958 till date, the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria has produced 47 Ministers of Education. Aja Nwachukwu was the first Nigerian minister of education while the incumbent Minister of Education is Prof. Tahir Maman (SAN).

Nwachukwu was in office from 1958 to 1965. He handed over Richard Akinjide who oversaw the ministry from 1965 to 1967.

Note: The federal Ministry of Education has the highest number of agencies among the ministries in Nigeria.


We shall come back to the full list, but first…

What are the functions of the Minister of Education?

All over the world, there is a Ministry of Education specifically designed to formulate and implement education policies for the country to be able to meet up with demands of academics.

Like every country, below are the mandates of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education in accordance with global standards:

1) To formulate, coordinate, and implement through its agencies national policy on education

Also Read:  17 Reasons Nigerians Prefer Foreign Universities

2) To implement policies that meet the global best practices

3) To control and monitor the quality of education throughout the country.

4) To harmonize educational policies and procedures of all 36 states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

5) To collate useful data for planning and financing of education

6) To prescribe and maintain a uniform standard of education

7) To collaborate with other global educational bodies on a standard of education

8) To develop curricula and syllabuses at the National Level.

9) To ensure that national education policies are implemented by the states

Past and Present Education Ministers in Nigeria

NamesYears in OfficeNotes
Aja Nwachukwu1958 – 1965First education minister in Nigeria
Richard Akinjide1965 – 1967The first military coup truncated his tenure
Wenike Briggs 1967 – 1970 
A. Y. Eke1970 – 1975 
Ahmadu Ali 1975 – 1978During his tenure, JAMB was established in 1978
G. B. Leton1978 – 1979He implemented some of the recommendations of a committee that set up JAMB
Sylvester Ugoh1979 – 1982He was the Vice Presidential candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1993
Bala Usman 1979 – 1982He is the founder of the Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU)
Elizabeth Iyase  
I. C. Madubuike1982 – 1983 
L. A. Bamigbaiye1982 – 1983 
Sunday Afolabi September to December 1983The coup of December 31, 1983, sacked him from office. He later served as Minister of Interior after Nigeria’s return to democratic rule
Alhaji Y. Abdullahi1984 – 1985 
Alhaji Ibrahim 1995 
Jubril Aminu1985 – 1989Prof Aminu transformed JAMB by expanding its mandate
Babs Fafunwa1990 – 1992Fafunwa was the first Professor of Education in Nigeria
Ben NwabuezeJanuary 1993 to August 1993 
A. I. ImogieJanuary 1993 to November 1993 
Alhaji DongodajiJanuary 1993 to January 1994 
Iyorchia AyuJanuary 1994 to February 1995He’s the present Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a minister during Obasanjo’s era
Wada NasJanuary 1995 to February 1995 
M. T. LimanFebruary 1995 to December 1997 
Iyabo Anisulowo February 1997 to December 1997 
Dauda BirmahDecember 1997 to June 1998 
A. N. Achunine December 1997 to June 1998 
Olaiya OniAugust 1998 to May 1999 
Alhaji S. SaaduAugust 1998 to May 1999 
Tunde AdeniranJune 1999 to January 2001He is a former staff member of the United Nations
Lawam Batagarawa June 1999 – 2001 
Babalola BorishadeFebruary 2001 to June 2003 
Bello UsmanFebruary 2001 to June 2003 
Fabian OsujiJuly 2003 to February 2005 
Hajia Bintu MusaJuly 2003 to June 2005 
Chinwe ObajiJune 2005 to June 2006 
Halima Tayo AlaoJune 2005 – 2006 
Grace OgwucheFebruary 2006 to June 2006 
Oby EzekwesiliJune 2006 – April 2007She was a former vice president of the World Bank
Sayadi Abba RumaJune 2006 – April 2007 
Adewunmi AbitoyeJune 2006 to May 2007 
Igwe Aja NwachukwuJune 2007 to December 2008 
Jerry AgadaJune 2007 to December 2008 
Aishatu Jibril DukkuJune 2007 – 2010 
Sam EgwuDecember 2008 to March 2010He’s a former governor of Ebonyi State
Ruqqayat RufaiApril 2010 – September 2013 
Ibrahim Shekarau2014 – 2015A former governor of Kano State
Adamu AdamuNovember 2015 – May 29, 2023 Adamu Adamu, a long-time ally of Muhammadu Buhari is the incumbent Education Minister in Nigeria
Tahir MamanAugust 16, 2023 till date

What are the agencies under the Federal Ministry of Education in Nigeria?

The agencies under the Federal Ministry of Education are more than 20, they include National Universities Commission (NUC), West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE); Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) among others.

Also Read:  Golden Tips on How to Write an Extended Essay

How many agencies are under the Ministry of Education?

According to the available data on the ministry’s official website, there are 24 agencies in the federal Ministry of Education.

Which government Ministry in Nigeria is responsible for schools and colleges?

The Federal Ministry of Education is responsible for all policies that revolve around education in Nigeria.

What is the difference between parastatal and Ministry?

Parastatal is a sub-division under a ministry that helps the ministry to carry out its mandate while ministry is a government arm for administrative purposes and to help the government to achieve its set goals.

Who was the minister of education during Goodluck Jonathan’s administration?

Prof. Ruqqayat Rufai and Ibrahim Shekarau were the ministers of education during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.


Featured Image: Premiumtimesng

Federal Ministry of Education. “Our Mandate”. Retrieved March 25, 2022

SaharaReporters (July 11, 2011). “Jonathan Assigns Portfolio To 31 Ministers, Creates New Ministries, Redeploys Minister Of Transport”. Retrieved March 26, 2022


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