The Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Student, popularly called NIFES, positions itself as an outreach to students on campus with the goal to capture and train young people who would prosper Kingdom affairs.
It was founded on the 31st of August,1968 and its origin is traced back to Bishop Smith Memorial College, Kwara State.
NIFES was initiated by some African leaders who were part of the annual camp of the Inter-Varsity Fellowship of the UK, initiated by some British graduates.
The African leaders were then inspired, they saw the need to start up student groups and an evangelical movement in Africa. This brought to life, the Pan African Fellowship of Evangelical Students (PAFES) with the vision to encourage national movements in all the countries involved with her in the African continent. The first Nigerian PAFES conference was held at Ilesha from 31st of August to the 4th of September 1967.
A motion to start a Nigerian national movement was made and a committee kick started. Ebong Mbipong became chairman and Kunle Obadina, secretary, both individuals now professors.
This committee produced the first version of the NIFES constitution and also planned the first National Conference.
On 31 August 1968, members from eleven evangelical groups in post secondary institutions in Nigeria met at Bishop Smith Memorial College, Ilorin, Kwara State and decided to pass the draft constitution and to avail themselves to God’s service in extending His kingdom in Nigeria tertiary institutions through a National Movement known as Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students.
Her current National President is Mr David Ezekiel, since 2013 and the National director is Mr Rex Nnaemeka Onuh.
NIFES welcomes students from different church backgrounds as it is an inter-denominational and non-governmental body. It is present in all the federal universities in the 36 states of Nigeria and have long been present.
“In every student that steps into the campus is a potential to be great and useful to God’s kingdom and humanity. They are arrows that could be targeted to nab all the challenges of our day and make it the kingdom of our God.” NIFES blog.
NIFES strategy is to build leaders of tomorrow in Christ-like pattern as seen in their vision and mission statement.
“To be a movement of Christ-like students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions transforming the campus, and society upon graduation”
“NIFES exists to reach out to students through evangelism and discipleship training, to mobilize them upon graduation to impact the Campus, Church and Society with godly values.”
Beyond the talk, NIFES has been of great impact to many, spiritually. During my days as a Nifesian, one thing I loved was the spiritual atmosphere which boosted my prayer life, and how everyone was accountable in a way.
One wouldn’t complete his or her tale of NIFES without mentioning the rural outreaches, a time where souls are won and God manifests himself in the lives of the locals in the community.
NIFES is a place to be for every student who wants to stand out.
Another interesting factor about NIFES is that asides spiritual growth, academic growth is encouraged. I remember being awarded a couple of times in the Fellowship alongside other high performers for making a 4.0 GP and above at the end of every semester.
Back then, the goal of this was to ensure that every Nifesian prospers academically and through your academics, Christ may be preached.
To Nifesians, that you are spiritually and academically sound as a student fosters the spread of the Gospel.
NIFES, over the years have put up great structures to ensure the continuity of the fellowship and so far, the fellowship has produced giants and Kingdom influencers.
So far, NIFES has reached out to over 80,000 students in about 300 universities and colleges through prayer meetings, Bible studies, discipleship and leadership training.
It boast of a membership strength of 2.2 million and over 1 million volunteers.