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Reunion 2013

Life, as has often been said, is in phases. As it is in the ECU, we as individuals at every snapshot of time find ourselves in various phases, with few unifying factors. Some are in students still, in relationships, married, in middle age, working, retired and what have you.

In 2013, the Evangelical Christian Union would hit the 50-year mark, thus becoming part of the sub-1% of organizations in Nigeria that have survived for half a century. The ECU Reunion 2013 is situated at this unique point in history, and becomes a focal point around which we can pause, reflect and have some pertinent discussions:

CELEBRATE the Faithfulness of God, His love for us and His work within us as a Household and as individuals through 50 years of testimonies and challenges across many generations.

ASK ourselves that given the pivotal role the ECU (Student and Alumni) Fellowships have played in church and nation building, what is next on God’s agenda for these institutions? Are we still required, and if so, how do we remain effective and relevant in the course of the next 50 years?

CONSIDER what God expects of us as His ambassadors in the professional, political, social, economic, educational, governmental sphere - Especially in today’s climes and circumstances, what is our ‘standard’?

DEFINE the building blocks of the next 50 years, strategize on building a student fellowship that will thrive and an Alumni organization that will wield influence across the world

We present to you the theme of ECU Reunion 2013 : THROUGH THE AGES..." Heb 13:8 and Acts 13:36ECU Alumni Team
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How the Alumni Fellowship Started

For quite a number of ex ECU brethren, the Alumni Fellowship has come to stay and means a number of things to a number of them. But still a few others are struggling with the idea and wondering how, or if it fits into their scheme of activities and priorities. Let me attempt to do an apologetics for the Fellowship with a view to giving the doubters the raison d'être of the Fellowship and strengthening the conviction of the converted. In so doing, I will define what an Alumni organization is and go into the history of how this particular one started.

An alumnus is a graduate or former student of a school college or university. Thus the ECU Alumni Fellowship of the University of Ife, now known as the Obafemi Awolowo University, is a grouping of all the graduates of Unife/OAU, who passed through the Evangelical Christian Union. The Constitution of the Fellowship defines more clearly the categories of and pre - requisites for membership. But basically, anybody who passed through the ECU since her inception in 1963 is considered a member of the ECU Alumni Fellowship.

This Fellowship started on two fronts in the mid '80s. Rotimi Andu and a few others started a gathering in 1986, meeting at Foursquare Gospel Church, Yaba. They then found out that Godwin Banigo, Asuquo Antai and some others were meeting in the Festac axis. Not surprisingly, (are we not one family?), the two groups converged and in 1992, Godwin was elected to run the affairs of what then became the Lagos chapter. At a meeting held in Logemo House, Ikorodu Road, Barine Gbosi was handed the baton and the responsibility for the Lagos chapter. Information which I have says that the first Reunion was held in 1987 but details thereafter are hazy for me-somebody help so that we can keep our history accurate! – but from 1996, the Reunion became a regular event, holding in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

At the 1996 Reunion, Barine Gbosi emerged as the first National President of the body. Not surprisingly, we used the same method of casting lots that we had always used to elect Exco members in the Fellowship. Constitution drafting for the Fellowship started in 1997 and in 2003, the mantle of leadership fell on Rev. Rotimi Andu. In 2004, we finally got registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and are now a legal entity, recognized by the government of Nigeria.

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Papa E. Elton and Benson Idahosa’s impact on the E.C.U

I was fortunate to be a member of the ECU when Papa E. Elton and Benson Idahosa were alive to minister to the ECU members in the mid 1970s. indeed, it was Papa E. Elton who laid hands on me after being elected as the Bible Study Secretary. This took place after the home calling of Brother Kingsley Orie who was my predecessor.

Prior to this time, the ECU was basically an evangelical outfit whose teaching and preaching programmes were centered around personal witnessing of the gospel and indoor activities. Essentially, the ECU that I met was very similar to the scripture union of those days. It was not a popular thing to be called a born-again Christian. Indeed it was generally regarded by unbelievers as a thing of misfortune if anyone claimed to be converted.

Born-again Christians were called ‘new lifers’. They were perceived as people who had been misinformed about the Christian faith. Incidentally many of the ECU members were characterized with morose countenance and uninspiring worldview. I recall some lecturers like late Professor Adegbite of the department of Chemistry who believed that ‘new lifers’ could never perform well in the sciences as long as they believed the Bible and its teachings. It was his joy to ridicule believers inside and outside his lectures. Unfortunately many ECU members were characterized with failures and poor grades in their examinations. Many had to repeat classes and indeed some had to withdraw from the University.

ECU women were noted for shabby appearance and poor dressing. The men were notorious for wearing native tops on English trousers. ECU members literally behaved like pilgrims and strangers in the campus. It was so easy to identify an ECU member in those days. ECU members were generally regarded as fanatics. In spite of all the foregoing, something was quite clear; it was difficult to pretend that you were a Christian in the ECU if you were not!

But the advent of Papa E. Elton and Archbishop Benson Idahosa brought a new lease of life to the fellowship. On many occasions Papa E. Elton would be invited from Ilesa while Archbishop Benson Idahosa would come all the way from Benin City to minister to us. They both exposed us to Pentecostal teachings and encouraged us to exercise boldness in our Christian faith. They gave us lectures on “The Authority of the Believer”, “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, “Faith that move mountains”, and so on. Indeed we were exposed to Christian booklets written by such authors as Gordon Lindsay, Maxwell Whyte, Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn and many others. The ECU library became enriched with many Pentecostal books.

At one time, the entire body of ECU travelled to Benin City for a Discipleship Training Programme at Church of God Mission International under the supervision of Archbishop Benson Idahosa

This new lease of life enhanced the enthusiasm of the radical traveling group that stormed many secondary schools in and around Ile-Ife ministering deliverance to the oppressed and baptism of the Holy Spirit to the new converts.

All these helped in no small measure in transforming the ECU from the cold and reserved fellowship to a strong, virile and vibrant fellowship that it became from mid 1970s. There was tremendous improvement in the performance of ECU members in their examinations with many graduating with first class and second class upper degrees. The ECU resolved to be associated with the best not only in moral behaviour but also in academic work. The resultant effects include our boldness to preach to students and lecturers at all cost, village evangelism, mass rallies like Jesus Harvest, Open Air Crusade like ‘April 20’, Love Feast at Agric Garden and so on. Members became very bold to preach in the Hostels, Dinning Halls, Classrooms and even at social gatherings. All these worked together to cause tremendous revival in the ECU in the 1970s. Even some of our choruses received some transformation. Some of the popular ones include:

01.To them that believe Him gave He power…

02.Jesus Christ is Lord…

03.There is power mighty in the blood

04.By the anointing Jesus breaks the yoke…

05.I love Him because He first loved me…

06.I am going higher, yes I am …,etc.

N.B:
Brethren, the foregoing is an emerging article which may constitute part of the Historical documentary of the ECU. You are free to contribute, comment or event modify the article as deemed fit. May you all be blessed. Pastor Dipo Filani
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