Inspiring Story of Prof Lilian Salami, UNIBEN Second Female VC, Whose Education Was Once Truncated By Biafra War

Inspiring Story of Prof Lilian Salami, UNIBEN Second Female VC, Whose Education Was Once Truncated By Biafra War

Last updated on August 5th, 2023 at 10:17 pm


She was the first female Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Benin (UNIBEN), Edo State, Nigeria; and on Friday, October 26, 2019, Prof. Lilian Salami again made history by emerging as the new Vice-Chancellor of UNIBEN.

Her appointment is historic because she is the second female VC of UNIBEN after Prof Alele-Williams in 1985.

Prof. Lilian Salami against all odds followed the footpath of the Professor of Mathematics, Grace Alele-William by emerging as the VC in an institution dominated by men.

  • So, who is Prof. Lilian Salami?
  • How old is she?
  • What about her marital life and children?

Please, don’t ask if she is married because she is a grandmother. We’ll tell you more about her in this article.

  • Her full name:  Lilian Imuetinyan Salami
  • Marital life: Married with children and she is also a grandma
  • Age: 60-year-old
  • Birthday: August 8
  • State of origin: Edo State

When the news of her appointment filtered in, the first thing that came to mind is: UNIBEN has a unique way of making history.

Area of specialization: Home Economics/Nutritional Education

Date of Birth and Place of Birth of Prof. Lilian Salami

The brilliant and elegant grandma was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria on August 8, 1956. Her early schooling began in Jos but was truncated by the Nigerian Civil War.

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Educational background:

The young Lilian completed her primary and secondary education in Edo State. She obtained her West African School Certificate (O’ levels) from Baptist High School, Benin City.

In 1975 the then-young Lilian travelled to the U.S. at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point Campus, and had her summer schooling at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul.

She later transferred to North Dakota State University, Fargo after she got married in 1977.

At North Dakota State University, she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree 1979 in Home Economics and a Master’s degree in Nutrition in 1982.

In 1983, she returned to Nigeria to serve her fatherland in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Benin City.

Teaching career:

Upon completion of the compulsory national service, she made a brief start of her teaching career with the then the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, South West, Nigeria.

Her academic journey and exploration would later take her to the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, the once most peaceful Northern state between 1985 and 1994 where she taught Nutrition.

While that was ongoing, she gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka for a doctoral degree in Human Nutrition in 1989 which she obtained in 1991.

When did Prof. Lilian I. Salami join UNIBEN? 

In 1994, she was appointed a Senior Lecturer at the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, and acted as a Head of the Department between 1996 and 1998 and rose to the rank of Professor in 2005.

In her desire to be well-grounded in teaching, she gained and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education in 2001 from the University of Benin.

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In 2004, Prof. Salami proceeded to the Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa as a post-doctoral fellow which she obtained in 2005.

Previous positions she held before becoming the second female VC of UNIBEN

She has held numerous positions at the prestigious University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria, some of them include:

  • Director of General Studies, Part-time programme
  • Chairman of the Board of University of Benin Integrated Enterprise.
  • Member in many other committees.
  • Immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Education
  • Member, Governing Council of the University of Benin, Edo State.
  • Director-General/Chief Executive of the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA, Ondo)

Academic achievements in her field:

  • Prof. Salami has taught numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Home Economics and Nutrition.
  • Supervised over 40 masters and 15 PhD students.
  • Fellow of Nutrition Society of Nigeria
  • International Federation of Home Economics/Home Professional Association of Nigeria.
  • Over 75 peer-reviewed articles in national and international Journals.
  • UNIBEN 206 Inaugural Lecture held in August 2018
  • On August 30, 2018, Akin-Deko Auditorium, Ugbowo campus was filled to capacity where Prof. (Mrs) Salami presented 206 inaugural lecture, where she solved some everyday problems which include: sugar and honey which is better? Can supplements be used as substitutes in place of food? Can fruits be taken on an empty stomach? And how harmful is red meat? Etc

The mandate of Prof. Lilian Salami as DG of NIEPA:

As the Director-General of the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Nigeria, an agency under the Federal Ministry of Education, in collaboration with UNESCO/IIEP Paris, Prof Lilian Salami brought together like minds in the educational development in developing effective and efficient planning and management of the educational system, through capacity building in Nigeria.

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Prof Lilian Salami’s state of origin

Prof. Salami hails from Edo State, South-South, Nigeria. And outside academic, Prof. Lilian Salami is a member of the Advisory Council to Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Ukukpolokpolo, Ogidigan, Oba Ewuare II

History made again:

With the emergence of Prof. Lilian I. Salami as the new Vice-Chancellor of the University of Benin, she becomes the second female VC of UNIBEN. The first female VC of UNIBEN and in Nigeria is Prof. Grace Alele-William

Congratulations to Prof. Lilian I. Salami, the new VC of UNIBEN.

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