In the beginning, there lived a man whose real names were Olufunmilayo Immanuel Odumosu, but he fondly called himself
Indeed, many of Odumosu’s adherents had to sell their properties, forsake their families and joined the religious leader to build a spiritual enclave.
Although the self-styled religious leader proclaimed himself Jesu Oyingbo, he never shared any trait with Jesus Christ who resurrected the third day. In actual fact, he failed to resurrect the third day as he had prophesied.
Sources claimed that after Odumosu’s primary school education, he started a vocational training in carpentry with his uncle, Pa Odubela who eventually took him along to Lagos.
After his apprenticeship, Odumosu worked briefly as a carpenter at the Post and Telecommunications (P&T) Department of the Ministry of Communications in Lagos and thereafter he founded the Universal College of Regeneration (UCR) in the early 1950s. After the close of work at his carpentry shed, he would, on a daily basis, assemble his adherents under a tree and lectured them on the Bible, giving them spiritual speeches. Thus, his Oyingbo residence at the time gave him his lasting name. He then moved to Awoyokun Street, Ikorodu Road, Palmgrove and later Immanuel Street, Maryland, Ikeja.
He sharpened the concept of religion as a private business, an idea that seems commonplace now in Lagos and Southern Nigeria. More than 500 followers lived on his compound and worked in his businesses: a bakery, a restaurant, a barber shop, a construction company, and a printing plant.
His business acumen also covered areas such as property development, equipment leasing, among others.
Jesus Oyingbo was religiously tolerant, mixing, for example, Christian statues with Islamic and pagan symbols on his compound. But he was, perhaps too tolerant, in ways that drew accusations that he was operating a cult.
Passers-by would notice that some of his buildings on Immanuel Street, Maryland had the inscriptions such as ‘’Merciful and Mighty’’ and ‘’Everlasting Father,’’ surrounded by statues of Christ, caterpillar tractors, sculptures of lions and mermaids with water spurting from their mouths.
Other inscriptions on the buildings included “Prince of Peace”. It was an empire befitting the man who mixed Christianity, paganism and profit and rationalised his belief that he was the Saviour of the world. People often traced his power and charisma to attract followers to a cane he allegedly used to convert new adherents through supernatural means.
But, a source claimed that the cane was bequeathed to him by his grandfather.
It was also alleged that the books written by “Jesu Oyingbo’s” grandfather on herbalist practices were also passed on to him especially the books known as “IWE IWOSAN”, “IWE EGBOGI”, “IWE ISOJI” and “IWE ALA”. It was rumoured at a time in Lagos that these books were the sources of his powers.
As the matter became prolonged in court, a lot of revelations were made through the testimonies of the plaintiffs, the defendants and their witnesses. These involved testimonies such as sexual perversion and large-scale incest that allegedly took place in the commune.
It was also in evidence that indeed, the late Odumosu not only founded the UCR, he was also a husband to more than 30 women and father of dozens. Among other testimonies in evidence were that inmates of the commune “slept with one another’s wives”.