As the Federal Government of Nigeria is planning to levy tax on Nigerian Pastors and churches, Forbes recently published the list of the richest pastors in Africa and Nigeria Pastors top the list. The pastors are affluent in all ways ranging from their clothing, lifestyle, exotic cars, private jet and money in the bank. I know we all have different perspectives to the wealth accumulation of these pastors or why they are wealthy especially if you belong to any of the churches of these pastors. Whatever your perspectives and believe about them, below are the 5 Wealthiest Pastors in Africa as identified by Forbes.
1. Bishop David Oyedepo
Affiliation: Living Faith World Outreach Ministry, aka Winners Chapel
David Oyedepo is Nigeria’s wealthiest preacher. Ever since he founded the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry in 1981, it has grown to become one of Africa’s largest congregations. The Faith Tabernacle, where he hosts three services every Sunday, is Africa’s largest worship center, with a seating capacity of 50,000. Oyedepo owns four private jets and homes in London and the United States. He also owns Dominion Publishing House, a thriving publishing company that publishes all his books (which are often centered on prosperity). He founded and owns Covenant University, one of Nigeria’s leading tertiary institutions, and Faith Academy, an elite high school.
Church: Believers’ Loveworld Ministries, a.k.a Christ Embassy
Estimated net worth: $30 million – $50 million
Last year, the charismatic preacher was at the center of a $35 million money laundering case in which he was accused of siphoning funds from his church to foreign banks. Pastor Chris pleaded no wrongdoing and the case was eventually dismissed. His church, Christ Embassy, boasts more than 40,000 members, several of whom are successful business executives and politicians. Oyakhilome’s diversified interests include newspapers, magazines, a local television station, a record label, satellite TV, hotels and extensive real estate. His Loveworld TV Network is the first Christian network to broadcast from Africa to the rest of the world on a 24 hour basis.
3. Temitope Joshua
Nigeria’s most controversial clergyman is also one of its richest and most philanthropic. T.B Joshua heads the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN), a congregation he founded in 1987, which accommodates over 15,000 worshippers on Sundays. The Pastor has remained controversial for several years for his inexplicable powers to heal all sorts of incurable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, cancer and paralysis. For miracle-craving worshippers, it’s the perfect seduction. The church currently has branches in Ghana, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Greece. In the past three years, he has given over $20 million to causes in education, healthcare and rehabilitation programs for former Niger Delta militants. He owns Emmanuel TV, a Christian television network, and is close friends with Ghanaian President Atta Mills.
4. Matthew Ashimolowo
Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC)
Estimated net worth: $6 million – $10 million
In 1992, Foursquare Gospel Church, a Nigerian church, sent Ashimolowo to open a satellite branch in London. But Pastor Matthew had other ideas and decided to set up his own church instead. Today, his Kingsway International Christian Center is reportedly the largest Pentecostal church in the United Kingdom. In 2009, the church posted profits of close to $10 million and assets worth $40 million. Ashimolowo earns an annual salary of $200,000, but his real wealth comes from varied business interests including his media company, Matthew Ashimolowo media, which churns out Christian literature and documentaries. Ashimolowo’s representatives did not respond to a request confirming his net worth and ownership of all these assets.
5. Chris Okotie
Church: Household of God Church
Net worth: $3 million -$10 million
Pastor Okotie made his first success as a popular pop musician in the 80s. He found the light, embraced the bible and set up the Household of God Church, one of Nigeria’s most flamboyant congregations. His 5,000 member church consists predominantly of Nollywood celebrities, musicians, and society people. He contested and lost Nigerian presidential elections for the third time this year under the Fresh Party, a political party he founded and funds. An automobile lover, he owns a Mercedes S600, Hummer and Porsche among several others.