Full History of Guidance and Counseling In Nigeria (1958 to date)

Various forms of traditional guidance have been existing in Nigeria right from time, where traditional and religious leaders helped members of their communities navigate their life challenges. 

But it was more of advice-giving and spiritual rites than the guidance and counseling we know today.

To understand the details, advantages, and disadvantages of traditional guidance and counseling in Nigeria, read this post:

In this article, I will be covering the historical development of modern-day guidance and counseling in Nigeria from 1958 till date.

Historical Development of Guidance and Counseling In Nigeria

While Frank Parsons, the father of the American Guidance Movement, is credited with launching modern guidance in the USA in 1908 through his work in vocational advice, the beginning of modern guidance in Nigeria can be dated to 1958.

In that year, the Catholic Reverend Sisters of St. Theresa’s College in Ibadan saw the importance of providing their final-year students with sufficient career or vocational assistance.

Hence, in 1958, the reverend sisters extended an invitation to interested and more enlightened people in the community with the help of Mrs. Oruwariye to come to the school. Experts in many fields of endeavor who had achieved success were invited to give career talks to their final-year students.

This act helped students gain knowledge about the world of work, which helped many of them choose successful careers or higher education institutions thereafter.

As a result of the positive outcome, some additional schools in Ibadan and other significant nearby towns began to arrange career talks for their senior pupils.

Furthermore, as a result of this singular action, career masters and mistresses began to appear, and interested teachers in the educational system were given the task of gathering and disseminating career information to students.

Establishment of the First Association for Counselors in Nigeria

Ibadan Careers Council was established in 1962. It was made up of eminently intelligent, charitable, and knowledgeable people. Its mission was to spread information on career counseling to students and young people.

They planned seminars, symposia, and workshops. The Ibadan Careers Council evolved into the Nigeria Careers Council in 1967. The Nigeria Careers Council was founded and supported by the members of the Ibadan Careers Council.

They kept going in the direction of career counseling. The career masters and mistresses who existed at that time were included in the Council. The organization then started to publish a periodical called “Careers’ to convey timely job information.

Recognition of Vocational Guidance by the Federal Government of Nigeria

Dr. C.L. Berepiki, a Fellow of the Counselling Association of Nigeria, was designated the first Vocational Guidance Officer by the Federal Ministry of Education, Lagos, in 1961, as a sign of appreciation for guidance and counseling services in the nation. He thereafter published a book titled, “An Approach to Guidance in Schools”.

There were no other trained officers to work actively in this unit for a very long period after him, but given the condition of the profession now, the unit is well-staffed by trained male and female counselors.

There are now two sections: one for careers and one for counseling. They coordinate counseling operations across the nation and arrange workshops and conferences.

Similar structures can be seen in many state ministries of education. When American Mr. Rees hosted a workshop at Comprehensive High School in Aiyetoro, Ogun State, in 1967, it provided another chance to provide guidance and counseling to numerous secondary schools.

His goal was to sow the seed of counseling and advice in that area, and he was successful in doing so.

Related: Need for Vocational Guidance and Counseling in Nigeria

Establishment of the Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON)

Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) was established on 15th November 1975 at the University of Ibadan. It first started with the acronym CAN.

But at the Kano Conference in 1992, the name of the Association was changed from CAN to CASSON to avoid confusion with the Christian Association of Nigeria which was also called CAN, and the Computer Association of Nigeria (CAAN).

Since then, the national association has promoted the establishment of State branches of itself. This is done to promote the Association’s grassroots growth.

The state branches of CASSON conduct several events, offer seminars and workshops, and deal with a few counseling cases. These initiatives are mostly completed alone but in some circumstances, using a team approach. 

Journals are published by some state branches, such as “Counselling Spectrum” in Imo State.

Presidents of CASSON (1975 till date)

The first President of the Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) was Prof. Olu Makinde, 1976-1980. He was, then, succeeded by Prof. S.A. Gesinde, 1980-1984.

Here’s a list of all the presidents of the CASSON from 1976 till date:

Name of PresidentYear in Office
Prof. Olu Makinde1976 – 1980
Prof. S.A. Gesinde1980 – 1984
Prof. Para Mallum1984 – 1988
Dr. (Mrs.) Achebe C.C.1989 – 1990
Prof. C.G.M. Bakare1990 – 1994
Dr. Nsa A. Nsa1994 – 1996
Prof. Frank Carew1996 – 2002
Prof. A.I. Idowu2002 – 2004
Prof. Okobia2004 – 2010
Prof. Elizabeth Omotunde Omoyeme Egbochuku2017 to present
Past presidents of CASSON till date

The current president of the Counselling Association of Nigeria is Prof  Elizabeth Egbochuku. She was appointed following an election conducted at the opening ceremony of the association’s 42nd International Annual Conference hosted in Anambra State in 2017. 

The event began on Tuesday, August 22, and ended on Friday, August 25, 2017, with the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM). It was themed, “Professional Ethics in Building Professional Association of Practicing Counsellors”.

Before the election of Prof. Egbochuku as president, Prof. Frank Carew served as the interim chairman.

Related Post: History, Objectives, and Achievements of CASSON

Activities of Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON)

The Counselling Association of Nigeria is primarily a group of licensed guidance counselors, but it also welcomes interested people in other helping professions to join.

Via its senior members who teach in universities and various colleges of education, the association grooms new counselors for Nigeria’s private and public sectors of the economy.

CASSON has a journal it releases called, “The Counselor.” It facilitates the dissemination of member research findings that are discussed at yearly conferences. Also, conference proceedings are released.

Historical Development of Guidance and Counseling in Nigerian Universities

The University of Ibadan created Nigeria’s first guidance and counseling department in 1975. In 1981, the University of Ilorin created its own, making it the second official Department in the nation.

Since then, several colleges of education and universities have produced professional counselors. As of the moment, a great number of counselors have postgraduate training and hold masters and doctoral degrees in the profession.

There are a host of Professors already in the discipline.

Several journals have been formed to disseminate research findings. These include 

  • Journal of Applied Psychology in UI (University of Ibadan) in Ibadan
  • The Nigerian Journal of Guidance and Counselling in UNILORIN (University of Ilorin) in Ilorin
  • Journal of Counselling and Development in OAU (Obafemi Awolowo University) in Ife
  • Journal of Research in Counselling Psychology in OSU (Ogun State University) in Ago-Iwoye
  • Journal of Counselling and Consulting Psychology in LSU (Lagos State University) in Ojo, Lagos.

Several textbooks have been written on different areas of guidance and counseling by trained counselors.

Related: 15 Problems Affecting Guidance and Counseling in Schools

Establishment of the Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON)

During the CASSON annual conference at the University of Lagos, a new professional body for counselors was created. It is called the Association of Professional Counsellors in Nigeria (APROCON). APROCON was established in 2017.

APROCON is regarded as the first professional association for counseling in Nigeria because it caters only to people who have studied counseling in higher education.

Prof. Mopelola Omoegun served as the first President of APROCON from 2017 to 2018. Prof. Oyaziwo Aluede has served as the association’s second and current President since 2018.

Journal of Professional Counseling, or JPC, is the publication of APROCON and its members are dispersed throughout Nigeria.

Current State of Guidance and Counseling in Nigerian

With its National Policy on Education from 1981, the Federal Government of Nigeria established the need for guidance and counseling in Nigerian schools.

Due to this, all state governments now have guidance and counseling departments in their ministries of education.

There are counseling centers in universities as well as private clinics in major towns like Lagos, Ibadan, and Owerri. It is sufficient to say that, although being a relative newcomer to the Nigerian educational landscape, guidance and counseling is increasingly having an impact. It only continues to get better.

The signing of the CASSON Bill 

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) Act making the Counselling Practitioners Council of Nigeria a full-fledged body, recognized by law.

With the establishment and passage of the bill, CASSON can now operate as a full-fledged Counselling  Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria and the development has also put it in a position to offer much more service to the nation.

In a bid to upgrade its standard, the association, founded on November 15, 1975, had on March 14, 2019, gone back to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to update its certificate of registration, while the trustees previously registered on April 22, 1996, by special resolution,  had reconstituted its Board of Trustees.

The members include Professors Frank Carew, Ayo Hammed, Mohammed Ibrahim Yakassai, Bulama Kagu, Olaniyi Bojuwoye, Daniel Denga, Ibrahim Kolo, Elizabeth O. Egbochuku, Roibito Ekanem, and Dr (Mrs) Pat Nwamuo.

The CASSON Bill, which was first read on the floor of the Senate on March 1, 2018, was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari  on June  27, 2022, which makes it 26 years after the association got its certificate of registration on April 22, 1996

CASSON Act empowers the Counselling Practitioners Council of Nigeria to conduct qualifying examinations, regulate the counseling profession, and determine the standard of knowledge and skill required of persons seeking to become members of the counseling profession in Nigeria.

Related: How To Legally Become A Counselor in Nigeria

The Prospect of Guidance and Counselling in Nigeria.

The future of guidance and counseling services in Nigeria is dependent on finding solutions to the problems plaguing the profession

Yet, based on the current trajectory, it appears that guidance and counseling in Nigeria have a promising future for the following reasons:

First off, Nigeria’s entire educational system is aware of the importance of providing guidance and counseling to students.

The Federal Government has now approved study programs in guidance and counseling for the majority of the nation’s universities as a result of this understanding. 

A B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) Program in Guidance and Counseling has been offered by Ahmadu Bello University since the 1991/1992 academic year. This demonstrates that the need for such services is rising.

Almost all Nigerian universities provide guidance and counseling centers. And there’s more advocacy for counseling across the nation. These are all signs of consciousness of the importance of the profession.

Also, a lot of organizations are currently showing interest in guidance and counseling services. The Industrial Training Fund, for instance, hosted a National Workshop on Guidance and Counseling in 1987.

Furthermore, in 1988, the annual conference of the Counseling Association of Nigeria (CASSON) was themed “Counselling Beyond the Schools.” Others showed up from various contexts.

These patterns that have long continued suggest that the need for guidance and counseling services in Nigeria may spread to other economic areas shortly.

It is also being suggested that guidance and counseling be included in the training of Nigerian teachers. This suggests that guidance and counseling may be firmly established in schools shortly.

The frequently observed tension between teachers and counselors may be settled if all teachers have proper training in guidance and counseling, which would provide opportunities for practice.

Related: 15 Importance of Guidance and Counseling To Teachers Training

Lastly, Nigerian society is experiencing a variety of problems that counselors must pay close attention to, including marital troubles, family issues, relationship issues, retirement issues, and others.

Guidance counselors will always have work to do, whether they work as public or private counselors, as long as these issues are present in society.

With the factors or conditions still in place in Nigeria, counselors have a bright future ahead of them. However, this prospect may hinge on how well the counselors utilize their knowledge and abilities to assist their clients in realizing and resolving their issues.

Deeper Study: Prospects of Guidance and Counseling in Nigeria (Positive or Negative) 


Guidance and counseling in Nigeria have come a long way yet the evolution is only just beginning. As the years progress and the nation continues to see the need for the profession and counselors continue to become more intentional, the profession will only get better.

Here Are: 10 Ways To Improve Guidance and Counseling in Nigeria


  • Counselling Association of Nigeria. https://www.cassonnigeria.org/
  • Egbochuku, Elizabeth Omotunde Omoyeme. (2020).  “My Priority: Capacity Building and Professional Development”. Available online at: https://www.cassonnigeria.org/web/about-us/the-president/ [accessed April 9, 2023]. 
  • Esere, M.O (2020). Historical Overview of Guidance and Counselling Practices in Nigeria. Available online at https://journals.mindamas.com/index.php/tawarikh/article/view/1306 [accessed April 8, 2023]
  • Ogunyemi, I (2022). “CASSON bill granted full assent at last.” Nigerian Tribune. Available online at https://tribuneonlineng.com/casson-bill-granted-full-assent-at-last/. [accessed April 10, 2023)
  • Ojo, Olugbenga David & Ogidan Rotimi. (2006). Fundamentals of Guidance and Counseling. Available online at: https://nou.edu.ng/sites/ default/files/2017-03/EDU [accessed on April 7, 2023]. 
  • Omoniyi, Mary Banke Iyabo. (2016). “History and Development of Guidance and Counselling: The Missing Dimension of Nigeria School Counselling Services” in International Journal of Education and Research, Vol.4, No.1.
  • Suleiman, Yusuf, Muraina Kamilu Olanrewaju & Jamiu Mahmood Suleiman. (2019). “Improving  Guidance and Counseling Services for Effective  Service Delivery in Nigerian Secondary Schools: Implications for Stakeholders in Education” in JOMSIGN: Journal of Multicultural Studies in Guidance and Counseling, Vol.3, No.1.

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