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COVID-19, 2020 Prosperity Gospel, and Belief in Prophetic Churches in Nigeria: Repositioning Perspectives

The coronavirus pandemic was a ravaging storm cloud with silver lining. It took the world by surprise and left mixed actions and reactions in its wake. COVID-19 in Nigeria went down in history as a public health crisis that triggered a religious renaissance. It shook Nigeria’s health care system and prophetic churches to their foundation. This paper problematizes the failure of the December 2019 prosperity prophecy for 2020. Using the historical research method, it corroborates primary and secondary data to demonstrate the impact of the failed 2020 prosperity gospel on social interactions and belief in prophetic churches. It finds that out of all the organized religions operational in Nigeria, prophetic churches are the most attractive. Prior to COVID-19, they stood tall as acclaimed healing centers, seers, and breakers of evil yoke. And belief in the potency of their prophecies was strong and unshakable. On December 31, 2019, both staunch and irregular Christians made it a date with prophets and pastors to obtain New Year prophetic messages. They prayed their way into 2020, casting and averting all supposed forces of evil deployed to hinder their prosperity. They sowed seeds through offering and tithing to back their beliefs. Resultantly, during the pandemic some staunch believers in prophetic churches cruised under the prophetic delusion that coverage by the blood of Jesus builds immunity and inoculation against COVID-19. In a highly prophetic environment, some Nigerians wonder: how come no prophet saw COVID-19 coming? Why were they unable to heal any COVID-19 patient? These thoughts are repositioning beliefs in prophetic churches in Nigeria.


Religions in Igboland: Diversification, Relevance and Belonging

Religion is one of the socioeconomic phenomena with undeniable impacts on humanity anywhere in the world. As sacrosanct as it seems, religion is not only important to the understanding of the existence of any indigenous population but also has policy relevance in the interethnic and developmental contexts. Historical and ethnographic evidence on different manifestations and nomenclatures of the phenomenon of religion abound. The Igbo nation in Southern Nigeria, on both sides of the Niger River, is one of the largest black entrepreneurial cultural groups in Africa, with unmistakable religious fervour that implicates sustainable development and interethnic interactions within its traditional borders. But the religious landscape of Igboland is constantly changing. Until 1840, the dominant religion(s) of the Igbo was indigenous or traditional. Less than two decades later, when Christian missionary activity commenced in the area, a new force was unleashed that would eventually reconfigure the indigenous religious landscape of the area. Christianity grew to dwarf the dominance of the latter. Before the centenary of Christianity in Igboland, Islam and other less hegemonic faiths arose to compete against indigenous Igbo religions and Christianity. This paper tracks the religious diversification and its functional relevance to harmonious development in Igboland. It draws its data from published works, interviews, and artefacts. It argues that as new religions emerge, the Igbo religious landscape will continue to diversify and/or adapt, either for inclusivity or exclusivity among the existing and emerging religions, for the survival of the Igbo.