In 1980, one of the policy thrusts in education of the civilian government headed by Alhaji Aliyu Shehu Shagari was the creation of new universities of technology. The purpose, as announced by government, was in line with the national policy on education, with respect to technical and scientific training; namely, to develop, at every stage of the education system, a scientific and technological attitude in preparation for the nation's technological take-off. Thus, the states that had no federal universities — Bauchi, Benue, Gongola, Imo, Niger, Ogun and Ondo — became the immediate beneficiaries of this initiative. In the same year three such institutions were named for Bauchi, Benue and Imo. The other four were to commence in 1981. The Federal University of Technology, Akure thus came into being in 1981. By August, the government appointed the pioneer chancellor, HRH Alhaji Zulkarnaini Gambari Mohammed, Emir of lIorin. At that time, a 13-member Governing Council was announced, although the chairman of was not named until October. Late High Chief (Dr) Gabriel Akin-Deko was appointed the pioneer pro-chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council.
On November 19, 1981, late Professor Theodore Idibiye Francis was appointed the vice-chancellor of the new university. Professor Francis had been a renowned professor of medicine at the University of Ibadan medical school (University College Hospital) and later moved to the newly established Institute of Health Sciences of the University of Port Harcourt as foundation provost. From Port Harcourt Francis moved to Akure on January 1, 1982 to begin the work of getting the university on a footing. One of the first things he did was to recruit senior staff with whom to begin the vistas of the foundation work. Thus, after some consultations, Francis appointed Mr. Ayorinde O. Ogunruku, the first senior staff member of the new university (other than his personal driver, Mr. Etim Udoh) as the first administrative officer, on January 12, 1982.
When the announcement to establish a university in Ondo was made, it was not immediately clear where it was going to be sited. When eventually Akure was chosen and the site housing the federal polytechnic was decided, it was clear that the new university might encounter some difficulties in getting started. The polytechnic had built and inhabited the site since 1977 when it had been forced by the federal government to move to Akure from its original location in Jos, Plateau State capital. Thus, when the announcement was made locating the university in Akure, the polytechnic authorities were understandably uneasy. When a letter dated 18 December 1981 conveyed the information to the rector that the new university would take over the polytechnic site and his institution was to move, albeit in phases, once again, to a new location in Ado-Ekiti, the undercurrents of agitation excited by the earlier announcement of the establishment of the university boiled over.
It was not surprising that when vice-chancellor Francis arrived in Akure on 1 January 1982 he was given only a room in the establishment wing of the polytechnic as his office. From there, the work of the new university commenced. With the arrival of more staff members and increased activities and the reluctance of the polytechnic authorities to release any more space, negotiations on effecting a smooth transfer commenced in February between the two heads of the institutions. The expected difficulties attending these negotiations compelled the then Minister of Education to inaugurate a meeting of the joint Councils of the institutions on 27 April 1982. In the meantime, however, on account of increased activities and the need to get the many organs of the university system in place before students could resume, the vice-chancellor rented a three-storey building at No. 98, Oyemekun Road in Akure from where all administrative activities were to continue.
The joint Councils negotiation meetings continued and, with the intervention of the Minister of Education, eventually, some six buildings meant for academic activities were released to the university by 25 August 1982. In addition, 13 duplex bungalows, 20 three-bedroom and 15 four-bedroom bungalows and one four-bedroom storey buildings were also released.
The building phase
FUTA Senate Building
While negotiations continued with the polytechnic, the university had set some targets, which had to be met. Academic activities had been scheduled to beginin November 1982, yet much was lacking in terms of facilities. So the university rented three blocks of flats at Oba-lIe to provide residence for the student intake and started construction of a cafeteria, a storey building for staff offices, and laboratories and a block of lecture rooms for the School of Pure and Applied Sciences. The latter was later turned to the staff primary school. Modification work on structures released by the polytechnic commenced.
For the academic activities scheduled for November, vice-chancellor Francis constituted some "Academic Planning Task Forces" to prepare the academic briefs of the three foundation schools: Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Pure and Applied Sciences. To continue the work and implementation of the briefs, the official organs of the University were being established. By July 1982, Council had appointed other principal officers and most of these them assumed duties in August.
With the initial core of academics and principal officers in place, Senate, the organ charged with responsibility for academic matters, was then constituted and the body held its inaugural meeting on 27 October 1982 at the Council/Senate Chamber of the University's Temporary Administrative Office at 98, Oyemekun Road. The day/date of the inaugural meeting has been the basis for the tradition of statutory Senate meetings on the last Wednesday of the month. That first Senate included Professor T. I. Francis (vice-chancellor & chairman), Professor D. A. Okorie (head, Department of Chemistry), Professor L. K. Opeke (ag. dean, School of Agriculture & Agricultural Technology) Mr. F. A. Akinyotu (university librarian), late Professor M. O. Olofinboba (dean, School of Pure & Applied Sciences) was absent, Dr. J. A. Osanyinbi (academic registrar) was the secretary. The inaugural meeting of Senate considered the state of readiness for admission of students for academic activities; the draft University Act; Senate Standing Orders, among other issues. Recruitment of academic and other staff was well on course and, by September, some had assumed duties.
On 22 November 1982, FUTA welcomed its first set of students (onto the campus still shared with the polytechnic). Arrangements had been made for their accommodation in a rented block of apartments at Oba-lie, a satellite town some 15 kilometers away. Classroom and laboratory blocks had been prepared; the academic staff that had reported were already sharing a "staff room" of the newly completed wing of the staff primary school. Reconstruction and finishing work were getting other facilities in place for full activities on the campus. Full academic activities commenced on 29 November 1982, after a week of orientation for the students. On 22 January 1983, the university held its first matriculation for 149 students.
At its second meeting on 24 November 1983, Senate elected the first set of four persons to represent it on the university's Governing Council: Professors M. O. Olofinboba, L. K. Opeke, D. A. Okorie and Mr. F. A. Akinyotu. This first set was given a one-year term beginning 10 January 1983. By its eighth meeting on 26 October 1983, Senate received the first set of the university's congregation representatives on that body. The two were Engr. (Dr) S. O. Falaki and Dr. (Mrs.) A. P. O. Dede.
Federal University of Technology Akure has been ranked the 8th best university and Rank 1st University Of Technology in Nigeria by web visits as at 2015.