Religion plays a pivotal role in most societies, perhaps among them, Nigeria stands glaringly conspicuous. With an estimated population of over 200 million – for most religious folks, the country itself will pass for a heavily religious nation. The two main religions remain Christianity and Islam, and the Christians “faithful” seem to have built an entire multimillion dollars industry while worshipping God.
Nigeria plays host to several world’s largest Church auditorium and word’s richest mega-rich clergymen, an indicator of just how much the gospel “business” is worth around here. Together, we’ll be exploring the top 10 richest pastors in Nigeria and how much they are worth.
1. David Oyedepo – Net worth: $180 million
David Oyedepo is the Presiding Bishop and founder of Faith Tabernacle and Living Faith Church Worldwide, also known as Winners’ Chapel. He is also an author, businessman and architect. Worth about $150 million 7 years ago and barely a few thousand decades ago, Forbes magazine crowns the clergyman as the richest of them all.
Apart from private businesses, his wealth is powered by worship centres in over 300 cities, in all states of Nigeria, and in several cities in 45 African nations, Dubai, UK and the United States. He also has a world-class university and educational institutions scattered all over the country.
His church headquarters, a 50,000-seat capacity auditorium, the ‘Faith Tabernacle’, is recorded by the Guinness Book of Records as the largest church auditorium in the world. He plans to break his own records, Oyedepo is on track to build a new 100,000 capacity auditorium to dwarf the previous.
He has a degree in architecture from the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin. Oyedepo also has a PhD in Human Development from Honolulu University, Hawaii, United States.
2. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome – Net worth: $70 million
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, popularly known as “Pastor Chris” is the founder and president of Believers’ Love World Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy, headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. His ministry also has worship centres in hundreds of cities in Nigeria and across Ghana, South Africa, UK, US, and Canada.
Pastor Chris is probably the most tech-savvy gospel minister in the country. He has well over 1.2 million followers on Twitter, over 1.9 million followers on Facebook as early as 2013. His ministry operates a custom smartphone messenger called KingsChat, a social network, ‘Yookos’ with over 10 million registered users worldwide. His ministry is also reputed to have mammoth server infrastructures that support its tech-inclined mission work.
Pastor Chris wealth is fueled by millions of generous donors from his ministry (who are reportedly humongous in generosity), and a handful of commercially viable tech applications and private businesses.
Just like Bishop Oyedepo, Pastor Chris has a degree in architecture. He graduated from Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, where he obtained a degree in Architecture. He also has a PhD in Theology and Pneumatology.
3. Pastor E. A. Adeboye – Net worth: $50 million
Daddy GO as he is fondly called occupies the third position on the rich list. Unlike everyone else in this list, Adeboye rose to stardom in a ministry he didn’t build from scratch. However, that’s not enough to stop him from pulling in staggering amounts in donations and gifts. He is currently the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
He is reputed to possess outstanding leadership qualities. Prior to his taking over of the reins of leadership, the ministry was barely known. However, it is now a household name in the country, with over 14,000 worship centres nationwide.
Adeboye’s source of wealth ranges from strings of private investment, donations and gifts from his congregation and proceeds from his worship centres in over 196 countries globally.
He has a degree in Mathematics, taught in a university part-time before resigning to focus on his gospel ministry.
4. Prophet T.B Joshua – Net worth: $25 million
Prophet Temitope Babatunde Joshua fondly referred to by his initials as ‘T.B Joshua’ is a world-renowned televangelist. He is the Leader and founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. He is also everything in-between controversial prophet to a philanthropic giver. T.B. Joshua was named one of the 50 most influential people in Africa by The Africa Report.
The prophet is a YouTube superstar, boosting the huge amount of monthly views. In some quarters, he is considered the most popular Nigerian Pastor on YouTube. He owns Emmanuel TV, easily considered Africa’s most popular televangelism TV network.
Joshua claims his source of wealth is strictly from the ministry work as he has no business of any kind. Even at that his $25 million net worth seems grossly underestimated. His ministry spends more than $20 million in charitable contributions. His congregation’s financial prowess is huge, The SCOAN attracts more weekly attendees than the combined number of visitors to Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.
Apart from completing his primary school education, T.B Joshua is not recorded to have received any other form of formal education.
5. Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo – Net worth: $20 Million
Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo is a senior pastor at the Kingsway International Christian Center. He is anything but poor, his celebrity lifestyle is enviable, but on most occasions a source of controversy. After, converting from Islam to Christianity at the age of 20, he rose to prominence at the Kingsway International Christian Center and enjoys a juicy pay package.
His source of wealth is private investments, gifts, and donations from his congregation plus a $250,000 salary. The majority of his wealth comes from the sale of Christian literature and documentaries from his media company (Matthew Ashimolowo media). He lives a rather too flamboyant life for a gospel minister, owning several high-end cars including Porsche Cayeen Jeep, Bullet-proof Hummer Jeep, Range Rover Vogue Sport, and many other exotic cars.
Not much about his education is in the public domain.
6. Bishop Ayodele Oritsejafor – Net worth: $15 million
Ayo Oritsejafor is a vocal clergy, often swooping in on political hot topics and propelling himself to the centre of political controversies. He is the founding and Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, headquartered in Warri, Nigeria. He was particularly vocal during his tenure as president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and Christian Association of Nigeria, defending Christianity and the Church of God.
Like many others on the list, Oritsejafor’s source of wealth includes income from private businesses, gifts, and donations, as well as proceeds from his worship centres across the country. His net worth of $15 million is sometimes disputed in many quarters.
Nonetheless, given his philanthropic bravado and sheer size of his congregation, such amount wouldn’t be far from the truth. In his credit, the clergy vocally condemns wastefulness and encourages giving back to the society, regardless of religion or race. As part of his philanthropic work, he offers scholarships to local students in various educational institutions both within and outside Nigeria irrespective of tribe or denomination.
7. Pastor Chris Okotie – Net worth: $12 million
Pastor Chris Okotie modestly occupies the 7th spot. None on my list had tasted stardom before becoming popular clergymen except Okotie. He was a popular pop musician in the 1980s, amassing quite a considerable stash of wealth for himself. He subsequently turned himself to God and inspired his Nollywood friends to join his congregation, ‘the Household of God Church’.
It didn’t take long before Okotie started getting richer. The church notably consists of many celebrities and musicians, all of whom helped Pastor Chris become a millionaire from huge donations and cash gifts. Okotie also made a lot of money selling his book, The Last Outcast to his congregation and other Christian faithful.
Okotie interrupted his education severally to attend to his theological studies, but however bagged a degree in law from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
8. Pastor Gbenga Oso – Net worth: $3.5 million
Not much is known of this pastor, little is known about his origin, biography, true age or core ideologies. The pastor which is the Founder of Laughter Foundation Church is probably best known for performing miracles for the “fruit of the womb”.
He virtually made his money from praying for women with problems conceiving while encouraging them to be supportive of the gospel ministry.
No verifiable information about his education is currently available on the public domain.
9. Bishop Mike Okonkwo – Net worth: $3 million
Bishop Mike is a multi-talented clergy and the founder of The Redeemed Evangelic Mission. Before getting into the gospel ministry, the clergyman had a stint under several employers. Notably among them, The Nigerian Ports Authority and the African Continental Bank as well as some military experience during the Nigerian civil war.
With a congregation of generous Christian faithful numbered in thousands, Mike Okonkwo’s wealth got him on the 9th spot. His main income stream thus remains donations and gifts from his congregation as well as some private businesses.
10. Lazarus Muoka – Net worth: $3 million
Lazarus Muoka is the leader and founder of The Lord`s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement. Like many other clerics, Lazarus is also a renowned author of Christian books and journals.
Pastor Lazarus has made most of his wealth through proceeds from his large congregation. With his reputed abilities to perform miracles, Lazarus has amassed a mega large congregation. Another source of wealth of note is private businesses and sales of his books, as well as gifts and donations to the gospel ministry.
Lazarus has had his own share of controversies, from allegations of short-changing his congregation to performing staged miracles. He is nonetheless a wealthy clergy and could be much wealthier off the books.