History of the Department
English at Ahmadu Bello University is a challenging discipline. It is made up of a number of courses in Linguistics and Literary Studies aimed specifically at enabling students, first to improve their linguistic and communicative competence: second, to learn to think critically and imaginatively through systematic exposure to the best literary materials available in fiction, poetry and drama: and third, to be creatively engaged in producing new literature and drama in English. The Department was one of the first to be established in 1962 in the University under the leadership of a renowned literary scholar, Mr. A.J. Creedy, a Reader, assisted by Miss Margery Morris (who set up the English Language Laboratory). Miss Anderson, James Simmons (a poet), and two others, all from Leeds University, United Kingdom. They worked hard to develop an integrated language, hoping to produce competent users and writers in English in the northern part of Nigeria.
This approach remained so until a decade or so later when new courses in African Literature and language studies were introduced to allow for specialization in either area. This development was further consolidated in 1975 when, following faculty-wide rationalization of academic programmes and curriculum changes the name of the Department itself was changed to ENGLISH and DRAMA to provide THREE Honours degree programmes in English Language, Literature and Drama.
The period from 1962 to date has witnessed a phenomenal increase in student intake from just a handful of combined Honours (Students in 1962/63) to several hundred single Honours and Postgraduate students (M.A and Ph.D) in all the three areas in Linguistics, Literary and Cultural Studies. Also at the inception of the department, all the lecturers were foreigners mainly of British origin. It was only in August, 1988 that the first Nigerian/African Mal. Aliyu Mohammed now a retired Professor on contract appointment was appointed Assistant Lecturer, followed in 1971 by Late Dr. Kolawole Ogungbesan as Lecturer II, who later rose to become the first Nigerian Professorin the Department and Head of department. Now, thanks to a comprehensive Postgraduate Programme introduced in 1976, most of the existing staff in the department were internally trained although they have considerable material and global exposure and recognition.
The department has now truly come of age and it is one of the largest in the University and widely recognized as one of the leading centres of Linguistic, Literary and Cultural scholarship among Nigerian universities.