Bamidele Olusegun Ijagbulu was born on June 8, 1949 to the family of Pa Cornelius Oluwatosin Ijagbulu and Madam Ibidun Ijagbulu at Osogbo. His parents came from Ipele in the Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State, Nigeria. Ijagbulu was his father’s only child. After Ijagbulu’s mother divorced his father to marry another man, his father refused to remarry, but raised him as a single parent from the age of seven on. His father worked as a farmer and also held a security job working with the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) to earn his livelihood. His mother traded in clothing and also did large scale farming.
Bamidele started his education at Methodist Primary School, Osogbo. He attended Osogbo Grammar School and graduated from the Grade I Division in 1968. He then went to the Federal School of Science in Lagos to study mathematics and physics from 1970 to 1971. After that Ijagbulu gained admission to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1972 to study computers and mathematics.
While in Ife, Ijagbulu received God’s call to go into ministry and, as a result, withdrew from the university in 1973. He was admitted to United Missionary Theological Centre, Ilorin, and attended from 1973 to 1977, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in theology. On the advice of his wife, Ijagbulu then gained admission to the University of Ibadan to study guidance and counseling in 1979, and graduated in 1984. He served in the mandatory National Youth Service Corps in Oyo State in 1984 and 1985.
Although Ijagbulu’s father was an ardent Anglican, he himself was a nominal Christian; he was a member of the Anglican Church from his childhood but did not have a personal salvation experience with Christ. In 1971, while still a student at the Federal School of Science, Ijagbulu attended a conference organized by the Scripture Union in Lagos. It was at this conference that he gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. This experience marked the beginning of a new life in Christ for him. Soon after his conversion, Ijagbulu started fellowshipping with the Baptists, a denomination he loved where he worked for his entire life.
Ijagbulu devoted his life to the ministry God had committed into his hands. He was a member of Orita-Mefa Baptist Church, and later became an ordained Baptist minister. Ijagbulu was the first pastor of the New Life Baptist Church, Olubadan Estate, Ibadan, a preaching station of Orita-Mefa Baptist Church.
Alongside his pastoral ministry, Ijagbulu felt a special call to marriage and family counseling, and he afterwards devoted much of his life to this service. In 1978 Ijagbulu founded the Olu-Ibukun Foundation to serve couples with marital problems and to give guidelines to singles on how to live blameless lives. The Foundation was formally launched by the Oyo State Speaker of the House of Assembly, Chief Gbolagite in 1982.
Ijagbulu preached in many churches outside his denomination, as well as in secondary and tertiary schools. He also carried out a number of research studies on teenagers about sexual relationships and marriage. He and his wife were among the pioneering marriage and family counselors in the Nigerian Baptist Convention.
Ijagbulu was an exemplary husband and father. He married Kemi Ijagbulu on December 10, 1977, and was a loving husband who made it a point of duty never to stay away from his wife for too long, making sure that his wife joined him on his ministry-related trips. Ijagbulu encouraged his wife to participate in all the operations of their foundation, as well as to read his publications. It was said that if she ever felt too tired to read them, he read the books to her. Ijagbulu lived the message he preached, being happily married. The marriage was blessed with four children; their two boys and two girls all became successful in their chosen careers, two of them as engineers, one as a lawyer, and the last completing her medical training (2008).
Ijagbulu valued taking a Sabbath day of rest; he chose one day each week that he did not go out. He taught that God rested for one day and so wants His children to have enough rest so as not to fall sick. This principle helped Ijagbulu in his lifetime, and he was reported to be physically fit, hardly ever becoming sick.
Ijagbulu was also a prolific writer; he had a total of twenty-three publications to his credit. Of these, only two were not on marriage. Some of his publications include: Is God the Author of Temptation?,* Evidence of Changed Life, and *Sexual Harmony in Marriage. 
Through the help of the Holy Spirit Ijagbulu was able to leave his footprint on the sands of time. He had a passion to help people understand the purposes of God for them in marriage and family life. To this end he freely trained volunteers in order to develop marriage and family life counselors. In 1987 Ijagbulu sold his car to raise funds for the publication of his books. When his wife raised an objection, he told her that they were not born with a car.
Ijagbulu’s motto in ministry was, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain,” (Philippians 1:19), and he lived this motto until he breathed his last on November 2, 1992. Ijagbulu died at the age of forty-three in a road accident on his return journey from Ghana, where he had gone to minister at a ten-day marriage seminar organized by Calvary Baptist Church in Accra, Ghana. The numerous books he wrote are still relevant to youth and couples worldwide. Ijagbulu’s efforts to get his wife involved in the counseling ministry paid off, because God used Kemi to carry on Ijagbulu’s ministry after his death, and the ministry is still in operation (2008) under her able leadership.
Yetunde Ruth Balogun
- More of Ijagbulu’s publications include:
*For Wives Only
For Husbands Only
Building Happy Home Series -Volumes 1-6
You Can Enjoy Family*
Kemi Ijagbulu, interview by author, November 25, 2008, in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her contact information is: Olu-Ibukun Foundation, Box 6116 Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria; e-mail: [email protected] ; Web site: www.ijagbulu.org.
This article, received in 2009, was researched and written by Mrs. Yetunde Ruth Balogun, postgraduate student of Church History, Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, under the supervision of Rev. Dr. Samson Adetunji Fatokun, DACB liaison coordinator.