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.
The Aims of the house are underlisted below
To pursue spiritual excellence.
To sharpen and integrate our God-given gifts and talents for God’s purpose urose and glory amidst the freshers on campus
PURPOSE AND GLORY
To encourage togetherness of members through love and service not only in the first year but throughout our study years.
To ensure we become an epitome of a biblical family. John 13:34
To achieve academic excellence through tutorials, one-on-one contact, past questions and so on.
I. V. C. U
To be rooted in Ibadan Varsity Christian Union.