History of IVCU
Fountain of Life - AN EXCERPT.
“And the LORD answered me, and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” Habakkuk 2:2 KJV
The Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU), since her existence in the year 1961 has continued to produce men and women who are not only Ambassadors of Christ, but have also made their landmark in church ministry, chosen careers, and professions both nationally and internationally. By divine grace, and through the years, this training ground has greatly influenced the nation's academic, professional and socio-political milieu aside from her impact in Christian Circles worldwide.
At this juncture, it is important to mention that conscious effort to document the history of the Ibadan Varsity Christian Union was first seriously considered in 2010 during preparations for the 50th Anniversary celebration by the Ibadan Varsity Christian Union Alumni Fellowship (IVCUAF) Reunion Committee.
Sometimes in the late 1960, about three students met at No 3 Sankore Avenue, the residence of then Dr. and Mrs Alun Ree now Prof and Mrs Alun Rees. At their residence on campus, a few other senior Christian staff and non-staff of the university, were also present. The idea of a need for Christian students at Ibadan to have a virile evangelical body on campus was first brought up in that meeting. God used Prof Kayode Adesogan in response to the yearnings of the students. However, God still did much more than that. He prepared ready minds to receive the suggestion at that time and allowed the expressed desire to fall on receptive ears. Those present at the meeting challenged the students to go and prayerfully work something out, and the students pledged their support. One of the lecturers present, Dr. John W. Powell (unmarried then) volunteered his residence for preliminary meetings. His residence, Flat 4, Sultan Bello Hall, which is attached to a students' hall became the initial meeting place and was therefore easily accessible to students residing on campus.
The first meeting of what was initially called the Evangelical Group was held at Dr. Powell's residence on Monday, 9th January 1961, and about eight people were present. It was essentially a prayer meeting. At the next meeting three days later, Miss (now Professor) Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye, Mr Reuben Ariko and Prof Adesogan were asked to suggest a constitution for the new body. The constitution would declare itself a partner with the SCM in God's Vineyard. The series of meetings to draft the constitution took place in Deborah Ajakaiye's room in Queen Elizabeth Hall. The draft constitution was completed on 29 January, 1961 and passed on to members for study and debate the following day. The final debate on the constitution and its subsequent approval took place on Thursday, 2 February 1961 and the name Ibadan Varsity Christian Union (IVCU) was adopted. Three main activity groups contributed immensely to the rapid growth of the IVCU at the beginning: the Scripture Union, Saturday “Squash meetings ‘and the Sunday Evening Services.
Very pronounced in this era is the popular Saturday Squash parties. In these parties, IVCU invited unbelievers to a kind of social forum. They, leaders and members of IVCU, socialized with them, played games, had meals or snacks etc. At the end of all these, a message was preached and an altar call was made. There were great testimonies of salvation experiences that came through these programs. Among the speakers in those squash parties were expatriates from various departments in UI; one of them was Tony Wilmot. Other speakers included senior friends like Bro Adesogan (first President of IVCU), Uncle Japheth and many others.
There was also EXPLO UI. This was a major event that came up once in every session. It was a remarkable event that drew many unbelievers to Christ and to the fellowship. This program was organized by the IVCU. The students would march around the campus singing, dancing, and chanting the gospel victory. Some were on horse backs, the JRV will be out at an Open truck singing and making music as the people matched. In the process, tracts were given out. Because of the exciting modus operandi of this mission outreach, a lot of unbelievers were attracted to the fellowship by the excitement of the events.
There was also an event called 'Mission to UI'. This programme also came up once in every session. It was a great evangelical crusade in which very prominent ministers were invited, including the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Rev. Dr Uma Ukpai etc.
The leadership of the fellowship in the l977/78 tenure, bought the first fellowship bus in the country. The arrangement for the bus had started from the previous tenure under the leadership of Austin Ukachi and it became a reality in the next tenure under the leadership of Joseph Olanrewaju. The bus facilitated evangelistic programmes, conferences, national fellowship programs, CSSM conferences, Mission to UI and Explo U1 programs.
For the brethren of the fellowship in the 1980s, attendance at fellowship meetings was an essential routine nobody wanted to miss for anything. Every service, as it were, served as points of encounter for the brethren. As one of the brethren puts it 'I always looked forward to each one of these programmes'.
Wednesday meetings were either a prayer meeting or Bible study. Although the fellowship held vigils, the vigils were not fixed. The vigil only held as the need arose, not as routine. The Sunday meeting on the other hand held after the chapel meeting, usually around 2pm. The ministration of the word every Sunday was largely reserved for senior friends to come and handle. Being a fellowship founded on sound doctrine, the leadership of the fellowship ensured that only trusted senior friends were brought to come and share the word of the Lord. Christ alone was indeed the centre and focus. Deliberately, the fellowship did not give room for messages that could only excite the emotion of the hearers but that which could reach out to the depths of the heart of members. Senior friends like late Professor Gbola Durojaiye, Pa S. Elton, Professor Kayode Adesogan, Dr Williams Kumuyi, Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor E. Adeboye, Bishop Idahosa, Rev.(Dr) Mike Oye, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, Rev. Yemi Ayodele, just to mention a few were invited to share the word of the Lord. The emphasis of these messages was largely more on spiritual things instead of material things. Every service was like a seminary class.
By the 90s, the IVCU was already fully established. The visions and mission of its founding fathers, majorly evangelism, were still very much intact. The fellowship was surely a major voice on the UI campus. Most of the activities, if not all, of the preceding decades were carried over to this decade, and the story was the same people trooped in because of the quality of the Word shared in the fellowship. There were several testimonies of those whose major attraction to IVCU were the rapturous praise and worship sessions that opened each service.
Also, as in previous ages, love was one factor that united brethren. The history of IVCU is actually a history of love, prayer and evangelism. A past president once jocularly referred to the nature of interaction after fellowship meetings as “fellowship after fellowship”, which other generation also re-termed “after fellowship”. Brethren were pleased to interact with one another after fellowship meetings; this was always done with such brotherly love and passion, typical of the type Jesus commanded of his disciples. Many students who came to UI for undergraduate and even postgraduate studies in the 1990s naturally settled for IVCU since the Lord had already proclaimed its name to most of the campuses in the nation and especially those in the south-western region of the country. There was however the proliferation of campus fellowships in this decade.
By this time, technology had grown to an appreciable height and most things were done in a rather 'modernized' way unlike the decades before. In the 90's, the evangelism outreach arm of IVCU was already structured. There was a prison evangelism team, hospital evangelism team, children evangelism team and the general house which did a lot of one-on-one hall evangelism. The prison team went from time to time to meet the inmates. Through these encounters, a lot of inmate gave their lives to Christ and were committed to God's work even within the prison walls. The hospital evangelism went often as well to visit and pray for patient at the hospital. Many lives were touched as a result of these encounters. Explo UI continued as a sessional event but took some special shapes from tenure to tenure.
The New Millenium (2000 - date)
In December 2000, the IVCU hosted a ‘General Assembly’ or general meeting of Christian Union Fellowships. This was during the tenure of Bro Martins Iluyomade. One of the major landmark structures that were inherited by members in this generation was the BBC; that is, the Beginners' Bible Class or the Basic Bible Class. The BBC at this time still remained a special and compulsory class organised in IVCU for all intending members irrespective of whom they were and where they were coming from. It remained a place where members learnt more, not only about the Fellowship, but also on basic Biblical principles of Christendom.
The Explo 2002 which took place during Brother Femi Alli's tenure (February 12-14) featured such ministers as Rev. Kayode Kolawole a.k.a. KK who preached on the first Night, and Bishop Wale Oke who could not make it for the second day but delegated one of his Bishops, Bishop Joseph Akomode, for the second night. On the third night, Bishop Wale Oke came and personally ministered. The venue was the Chapel of the Resurrection tarmac, and the programme was well attended. This evangelistic outreach was a huge platform to bring in freshmen not only to the fellowship but to Christ Jesus.
WORD CONFERENCE '03
In 2003, there was no Explo Crusade because the President, Bro Phillip Nwankwo's focus then was on teaching and discipleship. Perhaps due to his background with the Christ Ambassadors Evangelistic Team and being a postgraduate student, he had desired to see the fellowship grow to love God's Word. He also felt that people should be grounded and taught the word of God. He decided that in his tenure, we would be holding a teaching weekend. The programme possibly held in September of 2003. It was a three-day moment of learning at the feet of God through His servant Rev. Dr. Mike Oye. The theme for the teaching weekend was ‘Love”. He taught on Love and all it entails for a believer and how students can put this great Virtue into practice on campus. It was awesome, great and remarkable and a weekend of renewal and revival.
The year 2004 was perhaps was the greatest turning point in the history of IVCU in the 21st century. It also probably marked the time the longest Crusade was held in IVCU and any Campus fellowship.
And while deliberating, the executive discovered that it would be a 12-day crusade. The first challenge was the question of how a Student Fellowship would hold a 12 day crusade, “Won't it affect their academic life?” And “What would people say?” Finance was another issue. All these questions were lingering on in the minds of the Executive who later agreed that the crusade should hold.
When planning and preparation began for the crusade, the crusade was tagged Revolution 2004. There were nine speakers in all and two drama presentations were staged by the God's People Group, Oritamefa. The Mount Zion Faith Ministries also came to minister.
The crusade started August 4, 2004. And, taking cues from so many stories heard, there was a Jesus March. The Jesus March started August 3, and the train included two horses rented from the Polo Club, Ibadan. A lady sat on one of the horses and another brother sat on the other horse. The Director of Maintenance (Engr. Fadupin) had also released the University trailer, following a letter of request to him. It is worth mentioning at this point, the contribution of Brother Olamide Okunola who designed all the publicity materials for the crusade, such as the posters, handbills, the magazines and fliers. He played a prominent role in the planning committee towards the crusade.
From this tenure (2006), different Power Crusades were organized as was in preceding generations. The minister in 2006 was Rev. Stephen Akinola. The 2007 crusade was titled ‘God of Elijah’ with Evang. Isaac Omolehin as the minister. In 2008, the theme was 'Supernatural Encounter ‘and Evang Gboyega Shitta was the minister. The 2010 edition was tagged the 'Destiny Crusade' and the theme was ’Divine Introduction' and ministration was by Pastor Bola Paimo. The theme of the 2011 crusade was ‘Behold the Lamb' with Evang. Sunday Oguche; and in 2012 the theme was 'Thy Kingdom Come' with Dr Gabriel Evbuoma and Evang. Banji Adesanmi. On each occasion, the crusade lasted three days, the third day being specially packaged as an impartation and welcome service for the fresh students.
During the 2008/09 session, the leadership organised a Word Conference with the theme 'A Kingdom of Priests'. The invited minister was Brother Gbile Akanni. The three-day Bible exposition attracted participation from the University community as well as the Ibadan city. The impact made was remarkable.
OUR GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL
By the year 2017, we can tell that God is faithful. He was, he is, and he is to come. He is the sustainance of this fellowship and we still record miraculous deeds in our midst. The executive arm is larger and well structured to meet the demands of the fellowship in our generation.
Remembering Daniel 11:32 and the hymn that reads 'they who know their saviour shall in him be strong...', We have this confidence that whatever the demands of our generation and the next generation may be, God's general's in this fellowship will be available to meet it as we remain yielded to him. The future is bright and beautiful.
For more information about the history of the IVCU fellowship, you can get a copy of the IVCU Fountain of Life from any of the IVCU secretariats.
The Aims of the IVCU are underlisted below