Rev. Ayuba Inuwa was born in Madasa near Wasagu around 1934. He grew up as a traditional Dakarkari (Lelna) youth, including doing golmo.
During and after World War II, Dakarkari men who had been soldiers came home. Many had encountered the gospel while they were in the army. Their testimony added to the efforts of the missionaries at Zuru who had been trying to preach to the Dakarkari since the 1920s. It was from these soldiers that Ayuba first heard the gospel. He had moved to Machika, near Ribah, and one of the twin evangelists, John Zomi, was the Ribah pastor. Ayuba went to the services on Wednesday evenings, and after hearing Pastor Zomi’s preaching for some time he decided to repent. This was in 1946 when he was at least 12 years old. He also wanted to go to school, but when he went to Zuru to the UMS school to enroll, he was told that he was too old to stay in boarding. Since he had no one to live with in Zuru, he came back to Machika and learned to read from the men in the church at Ribah
Among the Dakarkari, young men work in groups for their propesctive fathers-in-law for a number of years. This is called golmo. Ayuba entered golmo and completed it, marrying his wife Saraki in 1955. She was a small girl when he started golmo and they married in the traditional way. For three years they continued living at Machika and farming. Many boys in golmo use native medicines to protect them and give them power to do the hard farm work required. Ayuba was a Christian, so he did not use any of them, and nothing harmed him.
In 1957, Ayuba heard the voice of God telling him to go to Bible School. The UMS Bible School was in Salka, so he and his family went there where he studied until 1960. It was while they were in Salka that God called Ayuba to become a pastor.
The students at Salka went on evangelism trips and visits to UMS stations every year. In 1960, the whole student body went to visit Shabanda, which is on an island far up the river Niger from Yauri. Ayuba was afraid of drowning as they had to go in canoes, so he found an excuse to be exempted from the journey. Perhaps God enjoyed the joke, because at the end of the year, when the graduating students were posted to their new churches, Ayuba was posted to Shabanda! What could he do but go?
Shabanda proved to be a good experience after all. After some time, Pastor Ayuba lost his fear of water, and even went on night fishing expeditions. It was pleasant to float around on gourds in the river laying nets, as one could excape from the mosquitos! He made many good friends in Shabanda, both Christians and non-Christians, including the District Head.
Pastor Ayuba was only in Shabanda for a year. In 1961 he entered the English Bible School programme which was held at Salka then, from 1961 to 1963. When he finished he was posted to Agwara where he started on the 15th of January 1964. There was a small church building there, but the previous pastor had left before he arrived.
Pastor Ayuba worked hard in Agwara. The congregation was able to rebuild the church after a few years. Pastor Ayuba bought an old house at Wawa, and he went there and carried the zinc pans and wooden beams back to Agwara to roof the new church building. After a few more years, the congregation was able to build the church entirely of cement. The church committee members were zealous and the work progressed well.
Pastor Ayuba made friends easily with the Kambari people and other tribes in the Borgu area where Agwara is located. He was elected counselor for Borgu LGA and was also the Wakili (representative) of Borgu in the Kwara State government during General Gowon’s time. The Wakilis advised the governor on things like capital cases.
These positions did not interfere with his pastoral duties, since the government work did not require daily attention. The counselors met monthly and the Wakilis twice a year. On the contrary, being in government gave Pastor Ayuba an avenue to witness to Borgu officials. People in government respected him and listened to him. In his position, he could help make it easier for Christians in Borgu. He made friends with all the Chiefs, Heads and Emirs, and even today he advises them and prays for them. Three village heads and two district Heads came to his retirement send-off in 1997, where they heard the clear preaching of the gospel from Rev. Mindale.
In 1983, Pastor Ayuba went to the Billy Graham congress for Itinerant Evangelists held in Amsterdam, along with other UMCA evangelists, including Rev. Dazi, Rev. Sunmonu and Rev. Babatunde.* This was a totally new experience. He was afraid in the plane, and did not move from his seat for the entire flight. Then when they got to Amsterdam, he saw a huge dog in the airport, bigger than any dog he had ever imagined. During the congress, he got separated from his friends and got lost, unable to find his way back to his hotel. A white man gave him a map to show him where to go, but he could not figure it out. Finally, some congress members called a taxi, put him inside and told the driver to take him to his hotel. The congress people were staying in so many hotels that when the taxi driver reached the place, Pastor Ayuba doubted very much that this was the one where he was staying. But when he finally went inside, he saw that indeed it was. After this, he kept closer to his friends!
Pastor Ayuba continued as pastor at Agwara until 1987 when he was elected Church District Superintendent of the Agwara District. In 1988 he was ordained as a Reverend. He continued as CDS until 1997 when he retired.
As CDS, Rev. Ayuba found that there were many villages in the district where the pastors were very young and inexperienced. There were a number of things that they were not yet able to handle, such as weddings and funerals. At first, Rev. Ayuba was called to come and handle all these occasions himself. But this was too much. So he chose some mature pastors to help and divided up the work.
He found that the youths of the district were very zealous and ready to go for evangelism. They needed training, so he worked for the starting of the 3 month dry season Bible school. It started in Galla, but was soon moved to Kwana, where it still is. Through the efforts of the youths and evangelists like Rev. Magalla, many new churches were planted in the district.
The Lord blessed Rev. Ayuba Inuwa and his wife with twelve children, of whom ten are still alive. They have all been a blessing to the family.
Rev. Ayuba Inuwa is grateful to God for his care and leading all these years. Although he spent all the years of his ministry among a tribe not his own, he has had a fruitful ministry to both Christians and non-Christians. He urges all the youth coming up to walk close to the Lord and make an impact for God in their own generation.
*Editor’s note: Date changed to 1983 rather than 1993, based on an email message dated 4/23/2017 received from Matthias Joseph that states: “it is not in 1993 but 1983 and the congress was tag AMSTERDAM 83. I happened to be the son of Late Rev Joseph Dazi.”
From an interview with Rev. Ayuba Inuwa by Lois Fuller, June 1998.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Faith of Our Fathers: Life Stories of Some UMCA Elders, copyright © 1999, edited by Lois Fuller, Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. All rights reserved.