At the dedication ceremony of the official opening of the Multipurpose Benson Idahosa University Faith Auditorium, the founding Archbishop Benson A. Idahosa said:
“When in 1978, God told me that I was going to build a University for the glory of His Majesty, I knew that only God could accomplish such a feat in black Africa through a man”. Benson Idahosa University, Benin City was established in obedience to the divine mandate to the founder to establish a University.
In 1978, the Lord God Almighty told Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa that he would establish a University for the glory of His Majesty. The Archbishop understood that only God could accomplish such a feat in Nigeria since, at that time, the establishment and running of tertiary institutions in Nigeria was the exclusive preserve of the Federal and State Governments.
However, in obedience to this divine mandate, he established the Word of Faith Group of Schools which has since become a model for the 21st century. Then on August 5, 1992, according to the Archbishop:
The Lord God woke me up at 4:00a.m., sat me up in bed and said: I told you that I would take you round the world and that I have done, and I am still doing; I told you that I would build through you, a Bible School for all nations, and I have done so; I told you that I would open up for you avenues to preach my Word on television, and I have done so; I told you that I would open an hospital for mercy and evangelism, and I have done so; Now, I am telling you to build a University and I will surely see it come to pass. And the people to help carry out this vision have been called and are already in the Ministry.
This was a challenge as he did not know how to begin and he did not have the money. In addition, Decree No. 33 was in force and precluded private persons and organizations from establishing and running tertiary institution in Nigeria. He then went to God to ask for the identity of those to help execute this project and the Lord God gave to him the names of three individuals who were already in the Ministry. They were Rev. Professor (then Dr.) John A. Okhuoya; Rev. Professor (also then Dr.) Vincent I. Iyawe and Rev. (then Deacon) Michael J. Okagbare. The Archbishop had proposed Professor John Okhuoya as the Vice-Chancellor of the University when it is built; Rev. Michael J. Okagbare as Registrar; and Professor Vincent I. Iyawe as Executive member, and assigned them the task of actualizing the divine mandate of establishing the University.
These three then proceeded to put together the Pioneering Committee consisting of the following:
|Rev. Dr. John A. Okhuoya||Chairman|
|Rev. Dr. Vincent I. Iyawe||Executive Member|
|Deacon Michael J. Okagbare||Secretary|
|Rev. Wuni Ogundele||Member|
|Deacon Dr. E. E. Odigie||Member|
|Dr. E. Akpofure Taigbenu||Member|
|Deacon Dr. Daniel Ikhu Omoregbe||Member|
|Rev. Dr. Michael A. Ohiorenoya||Member|
|Deacon Dr. Matie Obazee||Member|
|Rev. Dr. Osagie Akpata||Member|
|Deacon V. A. Aladeselu||Member|
|Deacon Engr. Emmanuel Egbagbe||Member|
|Rev. I. S. Afeisume||Member|
|Elder M. I. Igeleke||Member|
|Rev. J. O. S. Imafidon||Member|
|Rev. Dr. S. O. Ehigiator||Member|
|Deaconess Pat. Donwa||Member|
|Dr. (Mrs.) U.B. Gbenedio||Member|
|Deaconess Leyibo Igeleke||Member|
Inspite of Decree No. 33, the Archbishop sent an application in 1992 through the Secretary of the Pioneering Committee Deacon Michael Okagbare to the National Universities Commission, asking for permission to establish and run a private University in Benin City, Nigeria.
On September 12, 1992, the Archbishop and the University Pioneering Committee had invited a group of Political, Social and Christian luminaries including the erstwhile civilian State Governor, Chief John Oyegun and his Executive Council members to the foundation laying ceremony of Christian Faith University Institute of Continuous Learning to award Diploma certificates.
In 1997, the Christian Faith University Institute of Continuous Learning was affiliated to Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma to award degrees.
Meanwhile, the Federal Military Government of Nigeria amended Decree No. 33 and established a Special Committee on Private Universities (SCOPU) at the National Universities Commission. The Archbishop mandated the University Pioneering Committee to present another application to the SCOPU at the N.U.C. Abuja for the establishment and running of the Christian Faith University. The First Chairman of SCOPU, Barrister Ajayi, accepted the application being the very first for a private university in Nigeria. The Christian Faith University Institute of Continuous Learning (now Benson Idahosa University, Benin City) was the first to apply to the National Universities Commission for consideration for approval to become a full-fledged University.
On March 12, 1998, the most unexpected occurrence happened: Archbishop Benson Idahosa was called home by his Lord and Master. With the demise of the Archbishop, the wife, Rev. Margaret Benson-Idahosa took over the reigns of Church of God Mission International, first as Presiding Bishop, and later as Archbishop. She continued to provide the leadership and drive toward the actualization of the proposed University.
In February 2002, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the agency of the National Universities Commission granted a license to Benson Idahosa University to operate as a University, thus bringing to fruition the mandate of God Almighty to Archbishop Benson Idahosa to establish a University.
The first Vice-Chancellor of the new University was Prof. Eghosa Osagie while Mr. E. M. Obadan was the first Registrar. The President of the University was, and still is Bishop FEB Idahosa under the Chancellor, Archbishop Margaret E. Benson-Idahosa, J.P., O.O.N.