Nigeria’s first institution – St. Andrews


Today, we celebrate St. Andrews, Nigeria’s first institution, the oldest training ground for students in Nigeria, first known as CMS Training Institution, Ikija, Abeokuta.

Established in 1853, the earliest students lived and schooled under the same roof as their teachers and principal, Reverend Robert C. Paley, a graduate of Cambridge and his wife, though he died within three weeks (some accounts give it as three months) of arriving Abeokuta. Gottlieb Frederick Bühler took over (1857-1864) and had a profound impact on the students, especially in music. A few of its first students are notable names such as Bishop Phillips, Revds. Daniel Coker, Samuel Doherty, Matthew John Luke, Samuel Johnson, David Ogunsola Williams and Robert Coker.

Students of St. Andrews are referred to as Andrians.

At inception, St. Andrews College, Oyo (for this is what is is fondly called, find out why in the next paragraph) produced holders of Grade II Teachers Certificate. The Divinity Course for training church ministers was added to the curriculum between 1910 and 1942 and the proprietorship of the College was transferred from CMS, London to the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

Due to cooked up religious beliefs at that time that “any black man who touched a book might be so enfeebled as to become impotent and women might become barren”, there was stiff community opposition, and the school had to move to Lagos (1868 – 1896), and then Oyo state (in fact, alumni of the school fondly call it “Oyo”)
The site is now occupied by Ajayi Crowther University, a private University run by the Anglican Communion. The University is named after the late Samuel Ajayi Crowther, the first African Bishop. He also was the first to translate the Holy Bible into Yoruba language.


D. Peterson et al, African Print Cultures: Newspapers and Their Publics in the Twentieth Century, University of Michigan Press, 2016

T. A. Ogunkoya; St. Andrew’s College, Oyo (1896-1978): history of the premier institution in Nigeria

Religious Encounter and the making of the Yoruba, John David Yeadon Peel, Indiana University Press, 2003.

Historical background, Ajayi Crowther University;

Book review: St. Andrews College, Oyo: 1903 – 2003, A Century of Andrian Legacy – Tola Adenle;

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