The Life and Legacy Of Professor Ambrose Folorunsho Alli, Governor of the defunct Bendel State, Nigeria

Have you heard of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma? What about the man behind the university, Ambrose Alli? Today, we will examine the biography of Ambrose Folorunsho Alli, a famous icon and wealthy academic figure who made significant contributions to the Nigerian society and upheld a strict code of conduct during his lifetime. Join our Content Creation Academy  If you want to learn about StorytellingContent Creation, and how to build your Online Business.

Who is Ambrose Alli?

On September 22, 1929, Professor Ambrose Alli was born in Idoani, Ondo state.

In his childhood, Ambrose Alli would move between Oka-Odo, Ekpoma, Owo, Efon-Alaye, Benin City, and Asaba, where he eventually completed his secondary education in 1948

He would later become a well-known politician and medical professor in Nigerian history. Today, Ambrose is known as the first civilian executive governor of Bendel state, which is now divided into Edo and Delta states. He served the state from 1979 to 1983. He was also part of the constituency that drafted the 1978 constitution.

Ambrose Alli was a senior lecturer at the University of Ibadan and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He was also a professor of morbid anatomy and head of the department of pathology at the University of Benin. This demonstrates his progress thus far.

Some interesting facts about Ambrose Alli

  • He is included among the wealthiest people in Nigeria.
  • His zodiac sign is the VIRGO SIGN.
  • He was born on a Sunday.
  • He enjoys drinking Shandy, a beer mixed with a soft drink.
  • His best food is Fried plantains and beans.
  • He loves to wear French suits, but occasionally tries to wear native attire.
  • He enjoys listening to music with a good melody.
  • He loved to read, write, and listen to music.

Ambrose Allis` Education

Ambrose Alli travelled a lot as a child, living in Ekpoma, Benin City, Asaba, Oka Odo, and Efon Alaye City. Alli attended Ekpoma Catholic School in Edo state and many others in Ondo state for his primary and secondary education.

He also attended St. John School, C.M.S in 1940, Swedenborg Memorial School in Owo in 1941, St. Stephen School in Efon-Alaye in 1942, Immaculate Conception College in Benin in 1944, and Asaba College for his secondary education in 1948.

Alli continued on to study at the School of Agriculture in Ibadan (1948) and the School of Medical Technology at the Adeoyo Hospital in Ibadan (1953–1960), where he earned an MBBS.

From 1960 to 1961, he completed his community service at an Adeoye Hospital house office. After that, he traveled to the UK to pursue a postgraduate degree in neuropathology, which he did from 1971 to 1974 at Birmingham University.

His academic credentials are unmatched; he holds an MBBS (1960) and a D.C. Path. London (1965). FMC. Nigerian Path (1970). FWACP (1972) and MRC Path England (1975).

Ambrose Alli was 60 years of age when he passed on to be the lord. (22 September 1929 – 22 September 1989). It`s so sad to note that he died on his birthday.

Ambrose Alli`s Family

Ambrose Alli’s marriage was blessed with four (4) children (2 boys & 2 girls). Rose Alli-Suberu, Chief Andrew Alli, Mr. Ayodele Alli, and Mrs Aina Alli-Fuller are his four children.

Rose Alli, the first child, and daughter of the late Professor Ambrose Alli, works as a public administrator and shares her father’s interests in politics and social causes. Chief Andrew Alli is the first son; Ayodele Alli is the second son; and Mrs. Aina Alli, is the second daughter. The father of Ambrose Alli is an Ekpoma native.

Ambrose Alli`s net worth & source of income

According to estimates, Ambrose Alli was worth $6 million. His income was $8,000 per week, $32,000 per month, and $384,000 per year, according to studies. People wonder where Ambrose Alli’s riches come from because he is so well off. He makes good money as a successful academic, according to different studies.

Some noble qualities Ambrose Alli possessed

Ambrose Alli is an honest and knowledgeable guy, Ambrose Alli felt that education could transform both a person’s life and the country. He was a self-sufficient individual who valued love and equality over envy.

He was a man who put the welfare of the populace first, a promoter of peace, and an icon who faithfully served his country and helped it advance.

Even as Governor, he kept a humble life; he joked that he was too busy to purchase himself shoes and never even had escorts when he drove his official Peugeot.

He made a difference in people’s lives by upholding equality and not showing favoritism to anyone. He also built and left behind lasting legacies for his children.

Ambrose admired it when people grow intellectually and acquire new skills so they may contribute to society and support steady economic, financial, and social progress. Ambrose Alli reportedly had a life of service. In recognition of his significance and the depth of his contributions, a statue of him was unveiled in Eguare, Ekpoma.

Ambrose Alli Political career and achievement

According to Ambrose Alli’s daughter Rose, her father had a flair for politics while he was a student at a higher education facility where he joined the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Action Group. He did not begin his political career by joining the Unity Party of Nigeria.

He later left for more study abroad for further studies, and after completing his academic position there, he returned to win the election for governor of Bendel state on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

He came into office as governor with the widely accepted notion that educating a child also educates a nation. Alli was concerned with the future of both the citizen and the nation because he recognized the transformative power of education.

As stated in the article, “Prof. Ambrose F. Alli- Champion Of Education And Good Governance In Bendel State, “Between October 1979 and March 1980, professor Alli’ administration established 80 new secondary schools in the state in addition to 187 already in existence.

“Approval was also given for the establishment of 338 new secondary schools in all parts of the state in such a way that no pupil would thenceforth, travel more than five kilometers from his home to attend a secondary school.” Added the article, available at

This will lead us to some of Ambrose Alli’s achievements in politics before he passed on.

Big & Notable Achievements in Ambrose Alli`s Lifetime

  • He brought about significant progress in many areas for Bendel, including the formation of primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions, the building of roads, and many more.
  • He accomplished his primary goal as governor, which was to establish numerous schools and expand educational opportunities. He promised citizens during the political campaign to provide them with free education at all levels, free medical services, full employment, and rural development, all of which were achieved to a certain extent.
  • In honor of the legacy and memories he left behind, Ambrose Alli University (Ekpoma), which he founded in 1981 as Bendel State University, is now called after him.
  • He established several colleges of education, three polytechnics, four colleges for teacher preparation, and a college of fishery and agriculture primarily to give young people many chances to study and to supply staff for new schools.
  • During his administration, he didn’t just focus on education; he also got rid of flat tax rates, decreased service costs, and abolished school fees. He made his citizens’ lives simple.
  • In his regime, no student traveled over five kilometers from home to attend a secondary school because secondary schools were free and available everywhere during his administration. Within just three years, several towns in which the previous administration had forbidden the establishment of schools had a large number of them.
  • In his administration people proved their support and loyalty by donating blocks and other building materials they need. That shows the depth of legacy and impact he left.
  • During his reign, the primary 6 entrance examination was implemented for students transitioning from primary to secondary education.
  • During his administration, all state college students received a special bursary; serving teachers who were accepted into schools continued to receive their salaries without delay or hassle; civil servants were given study leaves with full pay, and those who were unemployed received monthly allowances while undergoing training.
  • Three years after he took office, 3,000 graduates from the four institutions of education enrolled in the NYSC program, People could also support themselves and purchase books and other necessities for their advancement.
  • His dictatorship gave birth to all the states and private universities in Nigeria today when he successfully sued the federal government (Shehu Shagari Regime) to establish the right for other non-federal universities in Nigeria today.

After reading and writing about his accomplishments, I wished I had been born in order to take advantage of specific advantages as a student, trainee, instructor, member of the Corps, or government employee.

However, following this incredible achievement by an icon (Ambrose Alli), his administration was ended when Buhari forcefully took over power in 1983 and this led to some challenges.

A major and painful challenge Ambrose Alli faced in his lifetime

Political challenges are one you should never pray for because you have so many eyes on you and find it difficult to trust anyone. Ambrose Alli faced so many political challenges.

After leaving office, Ambrose Alli wanted to run again for governorship so he could carry on the wonderful job he had begun and improve Nigeria. He was given a tough time when Buhari’s military administration came into power and was given a 100-years imprisonment sentence for allegedly misappropriating about N983,000 for a road project.

After he served 37 years in prison, he was later granted clemency by Buhari for an alleged crime for which such a harsh penalty wasn’t warranted.

Even though starting a school was his passion, establishing schools was considered a major challenge to humanity that he has to face as well. In order to secure the right for non-federal colleges and universities to be accredited and opened, he had to sue the federal government (under the Shehu Shagari dictatorship).

Although considered a challenge, he won the court case and as a result, all public and private universities in Nigeria exist today. He fought for future leaders; he fought for education. He fought a good fight.

He may have faced more challenges than those listed but always remember that challenges are there to make you stronger. It’s comforting to know that despite all of these challenges, Ambrose Alli triumphed and was able to achieve a lot of things before his death.


On September 22, 1989, Ambrose Alli died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital on his 60th birthday. He died shortly after being released from prison.

Although he passed away, His legacy has endured and will always be recognized and remembered by all people, including future generations.

Ambrose Alli`s Funeral Events

  • The state delegates organized a 29th Memorial Day commemoration in his honor.
  • A memorial mass was held at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Ekpoma, and dignitaries and affluent persons from the state and elsewhere attended.
  • A statement was made by the special adviser to Edo state Governor on media and communication strategy.

Some heartfelt words about Ambrose Alli on the funeral day

  • Prof Alli holds a special place in the heart and mind of the Edo people
  • A legacy worth commemorating.
  • We are glad to celebrate and honor our hero and remind the people of Edo what a good leader we had.

Ambrose Ali was a person who faithfully upheld his campaign promises and accomplished his most important objectives. Everyone wanted to see him re-elected because he was a political idol. He did really leave behind a special legacy.

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