This article was a speech delivered by Bro Joel Osakue at a breakfast meeting held on the 1st of May 2003. It is still relevant today.
THE CHRISTIAN UNION — THAT I KNOW.
“Our most respected guest speaker, Dr. Omokhoa Adeleye.
The C.C.C. Chairman, Bro. Henshaw Imasuen,
The C.U President, Bro. Walter Ogana Osedume,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to this event that I consider novel at least in my experience of the C.U. I am privileged as always to be standing before you to give this speech. I have been asked to speak to you about the C.U. I do not know so much about the C.U, so I will speak to you about the C.U that I know.
The Christian union was not the first or only fellowship I attended in my first year in this university. I, in the company of some of my new-found friends then, went from one welcome programme to the other; tasting the refreshments that were served us, sampling the snacks that were put before us. For the records, the welcome programme organized by the C.U then was one of the worst; having stayed till about 11:30pm, they served us limca! So, it was not that early reception that made me to stick with the C.U. I stayed with the C.U because God wanted me to, or to put it less spiritually, it was my observations that made me to stay.
C.U. brethren were not the best dressed amongst Christian brethren on campus, they were not the most eloquent, they had no style, no finesse, the place of their worship was the shabby, rapidly dilapidating, undecorated 500LT; as compared to other fellowships who met in well decorated halls with elaborate backdrops, rugs and flowers adorning the alter or others who met in the cozy and air-conditioned Banquet Hall. C.U. brethren were not the “happening” set of students on campus by the world’s definition, but they certainly were happening in the areas that mattered.
What kept me in the C.U. was the
– Spiritual atmosphere of the fellowship. You could actually come into that fellowship and know that God was in the place.
– The content of her teachings,
– The depth of biblical expositions,
– The balance of the Ministers and Ministrations from different background that came,
– The vibrancy of her leadership,
– The opportunities for expressing creative abilities and talents,
– It’s good pedigree.
When I came to the CU I did not start out to chronicle the events as they unfolded, if I had known a day such as this would come, perhaps I would have tried to do so. But this much is fact: the present day Christian union started in the 1979/80 academic session following a merger of the evangelical Christian union (mid west institute of technology, ekehuan campus) and the Christian fellowship (ugbowo campus). The then E.C.U started in 1970. Since then till date close to thirty presidents have emerged, Dr mike Ohiorenoya being the first and our speaker today also one of them. Structures have evolved, revivals have swept across this nation via the campuses by reason of the work God started here in the cu, lives have been touched, molded and changed.
Perhaps those who thought me the best candidate to speak to you thought I should be able to present a chronology of things, happenings and events that has transpired these past thirty-three years that the fellowship has been in existence. Dates, events, statistical data, these I do not have. What I do have is a testimony.
When asked to take this talk, I thought to myself: “how do I qualify?” . I have repeated two classes, 100L out of ignorance, 400L out of ignorantly “serving the Lord” in a most unwise manner exerting myself in a manner I thought was both true and comely-however, there are no regrets. So academically, I do not qualify. The other day, someone said to me: “Joel, I can’t really point out your pals”. I guess that’s because I am not so popular neither do I have some following among the brethren, so on that note, I don’t qualify.
I have served as the Director of the Christian union drama unit twice (cudu is one of the 16 activity groups in the cu), Welfare Secretary of the fellowship and as President. I doubt is there is anyone out there who has had the rare privilege to preach in the Cu fellowship on three easter Sundays! But these do not qualify me, for there are far better
- Writers: who have passed through and some still around, e.g. Col D. A. Itodo who by 2000 has written 66 books and still counting.
- Speakers: Dr Martins Aisien (poet of poets), Dr Omokhoa Adeleye (conference speaker, advisor, orator a great mind indeed).
- Preachers: Apostle Akin Akinola who God used in the mighty revivals in Ondo state, Pastor Barnabas Okunola whom, if Bishop T.D. Jakes should see, will make his gyration on stage a child’s play, Rev Lawrence who a man of God told me “ when I heard him speak, I felt I have not read the bible”.
- Teachers: Rev Hope Owah whose teaching is popularly and fondly referred to as “post graduate stuff”.
- Administrators: Rev Festus Akhimien who is the first black person to win the oral Roberts university educational fellowship (ORUEF) award for administration. Rev Humphrey Aregan who is the present chairman Edo state pilgrims welfare board and director of personnel CGM international. Rev Atiara who is director of administration Holy Spirit mission international.
- Charismatic brethren having the ability to light up every audience they are given opportunity to speak e.g. Dr Omadeli Boyo.
I have none of these, but what I do have is the testimony of a changed life. It was when I came to the CU that the events of my past made sense. It was when I came to the cu that the events of my present had meaning. It is in my continuous and continual fellowship with the cu that my future has direction. My life has been molded and prepared for leadership, my temperaments have been refined, my talents given expression, my emotions tamed, my spiritual life has been offered on the altar of God as a reasonable act of worship, my time invested in kingdom business, my mind trained to be precise and accurate in thought, and I have made compassionate, true and faithful friends-God willing I shall be getting married to one of them!
If the fellowship must boast in her achievements, let her boast in the achievements her goals and visions have accomplished in my life these past years:
- That I who was ones shy and timid can now stand before a crowd and declare boldly without reservations, fear or favor my opinion of things.
- That I was given the opportunity of a platform to develop and give vending to the gifts and talents which God endued me with.
- That I through her teachings have come to have saving knowledge of God and experience him in the quiet milieu of his presence to hear his voice far from the maddening crowd.
- That by those teachings and experiences, no matter what life throws at me, I have resolved to be firm and I am firm about my resolve.
It is to this cu that I invite you to. This C.U. that has produced great men and women, both of substance and renown, honourables, statesmen, captains of industry, ministers of gospel, professors, scholars, businessmen and women, high profile achievers.
For me the Christian union is a cause. A cause to develop the giftings and callings of men and women so they will be able to lead with the energy of a passion and to learn everyday.
In closing, I quote from Numbers 10:29: When Moses having gone through several experiences with which God had used to shape his life and prepared him for leadership came to be so convinced of where he was going, gave this invitation to his hearers “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said ‘I will give it to you’. Come with us and we will treat you well; for the lord has promised us good things”. Heed this invitation. Over 5000 graduates of UNIBEN that have passed through this fellowship cannot be wrong.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for listening.”
It is my hope that you will be blessed by this in the same manner that those who heard have never remained the same!