Ahmadu Bello University began with the faculties of Agriculture, Engineering, Law and Sciences, fifteen academic departments and 426 students. The University increased in size and scope under the successive Vice-Chancellorships of the late Professor Norman Alexander (1961-1966), the late Professor Ishaya Audu (1966-1975), Professor Iya Abubakar (1975-1978), Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe (1978-1979), Professor Ango Abdullahi (1979- 1986) the late Professor Adamu Nayaya Mohammed (1986:-1991), Professor Daniel Saror (1991-1995), the Sole Administrator, Major General Mamman Kontagora (rtd) (1995-1998) , Professor Abdullahi Mahadi (1999-2004), Professor Shehu Usman Abdullahi (2004-2009), Professor Jarlath U. Umoh (2009), Professor Aliyu (2009-2010), Professor Abdullahi Mustapha (2010 to 2015) and Professor Ibrahim Garba (2015 to date). As a result of its rapid growth, the University has been transformed into the largest and the most extensive of all the universities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The University covers a land area of about 7,000 hectares and encompasses two campuses, twelve Faculties, a Postgraduate School and 82 academic departments. It also has five Institutes, six Specialized Centers, a Division of Agricultural Colleges, a School of Basic and Remedial Studies, a Demonstration Secondary School, a Primary School and a Consultancy Outfit which .provides a variety of services to the University and the wider society.