The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, Bauchi was established in 1980 as the Federal University of Technology (FUT), Bauchi, located in the North Eastern part of Nigeria with Dr. Jerome Udoji and Professor A. O. Adekola as the pioneer Pro-Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor respectively, while Alh. Adamu Aliyu was the first Registrar of the University.
At inception, the University inherited the site of the former Bauchi State College of Arts and Science (BACAS) at Yelwa as temporary site. She also acquired 4,500 hectare parcel of land Bauchi-Ningi Road as its permanent site and another parcel of land along Bauchi-Maiduguri Road on which a residential estate for staff was developed; the estate is called Kari Estate.
The University academic units divided into Schools and Programmes at inception until 2014 when the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the change of nomenclature from School to Faculty and from Programme to Department. The University started full academic activity at the Yelwa Campus in October, 1981 with the admission of its first batch of 100 students into her Pre-Degree Programme, while Degree Programmes began in 1982 in the School (now Faculty) of Science and Science Education. Two additional Schools (now Faculties), namely the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology were established in the 1983/1984 academic session.
In 1984, under the rationalisation programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the University was merged with the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and was renamed the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa College, Ahmadu Bello University, (ATBC-ABU) with Professor Buba Bajoga as the Provost. The name of the College was in honour of the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. In 1988, it was de-merged from the Ahmadu Bello University and regained its autonomy as a full fledge university. Prof Buba Bajoga, the former Provost, became the Vice Chancellor.
Additional Schools were later established as follows:
The establishment of the School of Technology Education effectively separated Education courses from the Sciences, and the former School of Science and Science Education was renamed the School of Science. Of recent, the University is in the advanced stages of concluding the establishment of the College of Medical Sciences. The University Governing Council has since set-up Committees to ensure a smooth take-off of the College. As a prelude to the establishment of the Medical College, the Bauchi State Government handed over the erstwhile Bauchi State Specialist Hospital to the Federal Government, and has since been converted to the University Teaching Hospital.
A major landmark in the history of the University is the relocation to the permanent site at Gubi. This began with the movement of the Directorate of Remedial Studies in 2008 followed by the Faculty of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology. The Central Administration also moved to Gubi Campus in November, 2010.
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