The idea to start a Technical Institution in Northern Nigeria started as far back as 1951, which resulted into the establishment of Kaduna Technical Institute in 1956. The establishment of Technical Institute, Kaduna was as a result of the acceptance by the British Government on the recommendation of the Higher Education Commission, which suggested the upgrading of Yaba Higher College to Technical Institute and proposed Technical Institutes in Kaduna and Enugu. The Northern Nigeria Executive Council at its meeting of 17th August, 1962, Conclusion No.1, re-designated the Technical Institute, Kaduna as the Polytechnic, Kaduna. It became Kaduna Polytechnic in 1968 by the Federal Government Decree No. 20 of 1968, which was revised in 1979 by Decree .No. 79. In 1991, the institution was taken over by the Federal Government under Decree No. 40 of the same year.
The institution was established with the objective of providing diverse instruction, training and research in technology, the sciences, commerce, the humanities and programmes of in-service instruction for members of the public service in Nigeria. In 1968, it amalgamated two training centres, namely; the College of Science and Technology and Staff Development Centre, with Survey Unit joining later. These formed the nucleus of its four- college structure then. Kaduna Polytechnic outside the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, is known to be the biggest higher institution in Nigeria. For the avoidance of doubt, the comparism includes all other polytechnics, universities, colleges of education and other centres of higher educational pursuits in the country. It is also rated as the largest technical institution in Africa. It is a large institution in physical size and numerical strength of students and staff population and in the number of programmes it runs. It is a polytechnic built on four campuses, each campus is as big as many higher institutions in the country.
The Polytechnic is highly cosmopolitan with students from all over Nigeria and other countries. From a modest figure of 158 students in 1961, student enrolment increased to 894 by 1968. Currently, the polytechnic has over 25,000 students undertaking more than 138 programmes in 44 Academic Departments with staff strength of about 2,963 (Academic and Non- Academic) The late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto and Late Alhaji Isa Kaita, Wazirin Katsina, the then Minister of Education contributed immensely towards the establishment of this institution. It is significant to note that the Late Premier, Sir Ahmadu Bello opened the Staff Development Centre officially in July 1964, after the first students’ admission in 1963. He also released his Deputy Secretary, Mr. T. H. Smith, (British) to become Director of the Centre. One of the major tasks performed by the Centre in the early days of its establishment was running the three Civil Defence and Home Guard Courses for Senior Civil Servants which the Centre organized at Kachia between 1964 and 1966.
The symbol, “spider and its web”(Gizogizo), the crest for Kaduna Polytechnic was suggested during one of these courses. The symbol was designed by a local artist, Mr. Alexius Enche. The Gizogizo, which in many Nigerian and West African folklores symbolizes a hero, which by its sharpness, industry and tenacity always comes on “top”; this aptly symbolises Kaduna Polytechnic’s desire to excel in and spread its services. The hexagonal shape of the crest symbolises the then six Northern States; the original owners of the institution. Before the taking over on 27th August, 1991 by the Federal Government, the institution was owned and financed by the eleven northern states which were created from the defunct Northern Region.
The Board of Governors of Kaduna Polytechnic was up to August, 1991 made up of representatives of the “eleven owner state governments”, universities and the private sector. It was responsible for the general supervision and control of the institution. The Board is now known as the Governing Council. The Rector is the Chief Executive Officer of the institution. In the performance of his duties, he is assisted by the Management Committee comprising the Deputy Rector, Registrar, Bursar, Polytechnic Librarian, the College Directors, Director of Medical and Health Services, Director of Works, Director Physical Planning, Director Centre of Technology Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CTEED), Director Kadpoly Consult, Director Special Duties and Director Strategic Planning and Data Management. The monumental growth and achievements, physically and intellectually have proved that the institution has maintained its Spider image. The “web” has spread from Nigeria to Africa and beyond.