Do you know that there are people with a messiah complex in Nigeria? These are Nigerians who have the self-delusion that they are God. In Nigeria, religion is a powerful tool of influence that priests, pastors, imams, and clerics have used to preach their sermons. However, some Nigerian clerics have taken the religious tool up another notch, proclaiming themselves gods who have been incarnated to become the saviours of mankind.
Luckily, these people have not gone to the extremes like the Jim Jones and Charles Manson of the United States, who orchestrated large-scale suicide and murders in the 70s and 60s with their god complex. However, their eccentric characters inspired us to discuss them and how they ended up.
Therefore, below is a list of 5 Nigerians who claimed to be God:
1. Olumba Olumba Obu
Olumba Olumba Obu founded The Brotherhood of the Cross and the Star in 1956. He proclaimed himself to be God in human form and was accused of practicing occultism during his lifetime. Olumba Obu believed he was the King of Kings and the Immortal Origin of the Universe. At 38, he claimed he was the biblical Holy Spirit.
His miraculous performances were legendary in Calabar where the organisation is based, and other parts of Nigeria. Although his claims and beliefs are largely harmless, they didn’t go down well with the Christian folks, particularly when it was alleged that about 144000 “virgins” pledged their celibacy to the service of their supreme leader.
Olumba Obu had two children – Helen Ibum Udoh (née Olumba) and Rowland Olumba. The Nigerian media reported that he died in 2003, but members of his organization believe he is immortal, alive, and well. Before his death, he crowned his son Rowland as the Christ and King of Kings.
Rowland later changed his name to Olumba Olumba Jr., but he failed to impress some members of the organisation who preferred his sister, Helen. The followers were split in their loyalty between the siblings which led to wide protests, killing, and maiming. Till date, the organisation is still divided between the siblings. The only thing the two sects still agree on is the belief that their father would resurrect one day and continue his work.
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2. Jesu Oyingbo
Olufunmilayo Immanuel Odumosu, popularly known as Jesu Oyingbo or Jesus of Oyingbo, was a young debt-ridden carpenter who declared himself Jesus Christ returned in the 50s. He founded Universal College of Regeneration in Lagos State, Nigeria, where he taught religious lessons and encouraged his followers to sell their property and follow him.
Of course, they did, with some of them abandoning their families to help him establish a self-sufficient settlement in Ebute Metta, Lagos. He was said to make his followers declare their assets and give 10 per cent tight while he charged them for rent.
Jesu Oyingbo was known to be less sexually conservative than other Christian sects as he established sexual rights over many females within his sect. He was also known for preaching his sermon with loudspeakers placed outside in the church hall, at a location close to Oyingbo Market, which prompted the name Jesu Oyingbo.
To be a member, a convert will be lashed with nine strokes of the cane. He ran his ministry with various business ventures to fund a New Jerusalem. These ventures include Jolly Makers and Happy Day food canteens, Deluxe bakeries makers of Goodluck bread, barber shops, lodgings, and so on.
The businesses provided wages for his followers. However, his ministry crumbled when he died in 1988, which led to a prolonged battle for the many properties and estates he left behind. He also failed to resurrect on the third day of his death as he had prophesied.
3. Malaika Agba
Olayinka Oladipupo, popularly known as Malaika Agba, was a self-proclaimed God Almighty who founded the New Jerusalem Church with around 1000 followers in Isolo, Lagos. She was said to have mandated her followers to call her “baba” because she believed she was both a man and woman merged into one. Like many related religious sects, she engaged in numerous sexual intercourse at will, saying her doctrine as a god was one of enjoyment.
However, trouble began in her organisation when some of her former members began to question the mysterious deaths of some followers. One notable questionable death was a 21-year-old woman named Bosede Olaniyi, who died in Malaika’s home in 2005. Bose was reportedly adopted by Malaika Agba when she was 12 years old and never left the cleric’s side until her death.
At first, Malaika claimed she was at a service when she was informed that her ward had died after a brief bout of malaria. However, loopholes were found in her story, which sparked an outcry from the public. Bose’s corpse was exhumed for forensic studies, and later discoveries showed the accumulation of bacteria around her heart and an injection mark under her elbow. Malaika later confessed that she conducted ‘spiritual surgeries’ for her followers to ‘evacuate the dirt in their stomachs.’ Before the surgeries, she would inject them with a “miracle” substance.
Malaika was subsequently arrested and detained at the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters in Panti, Lagos State, where she confessed all her dealings. However, her “miracle injection” remains a mystery. She has since been released from police custody after brief incarceration, but she now prefers to keep a low profile while continuing her ministry as God almighty.
4. Jesus of Ikot-Ekpene
Edidem-Bassey was a failed truck pusher who became the richest man in Ikot-Ekpene, located in present-day Akwa Ibom State, south-south Nigeria. He claimed to be Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour, and the Lord. While some people saw him as a mad man, others became his ardent followers through whom he acquired so much wealth that made him live like a king.
He reportedly built the biggest and the most luxurious house in all of Ikot-Ekpene and wore attires made from the finest materials. He also made his followers build him a “special throne” where they would carry him around the streets of Ikot-Ekpene. His mind control was truly outstanding as he would go as far as sleeping with any woman regardless of whether she was married or not. In fact, his male followers saw it as an honour to allow him to sleep with their wives because they were the “chosen ones.”
Jesus of Ikot-Ekpene’s minstry stood on three pillars – sex, money, and power. However, his ministry began to disintegrate when some members of his sect broke away to form the Spiritual Kingdom Church of Christ (SKCC). Jesus of Ikot-Ekpene is dead, but his “godhood” lives on in his son, whom followers believe is an embodiment of his father.
5. Guru Maharaji
Mohammed Ayobami Ajirobatan, aka Guru Maharaji, is a self-proclaimed Black Jesus with long beards that match the mental imagery of a supreme being. He lives in Ibadan and claims to have power over all illnesses and all problems affecting humanity. Like many of his kind, he has huge followership where members are not allowed to enter his compound with their shoes on because it is a “holy land.” He believes the “holy land” is the highest spiritual centre on earth and the kingdom of heaven on earth.
Like Jesus in the Bible, Guru Maharaji gives specific instructions to his followers before performing healing on them. No one outside the enclave can ascertain the instructions, but followers strongly believe that Sat Guru is the carrier of God’s light and the other religions are lies by Western civilisation.
Guru Maharaji doesn’t believe in death as he says that death is darkness and has nothing to do with light (him). He’s still alive, so we’ll see how far his “light” will continue to quench the darkness.
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