• Nigerian preacher Jerry Eze prays over stacks of requests received from his followers
“What God Cannot Do Does Not Exist”
Pastor Jerry Uchechukwu Eze @ 40
Every morning at 7am Nigerian time, Pastor Jerry Eze can be seen on a YouTube livestream fervently praying over thousands of stacks of requests he has received from his followers around the world.
Flanked usually by his wife, Eno, and an associate, Eze’s passionate prayers are delivered in an urgent staccato, as he prays for cures to ailments and challenges such as illnesses, court cases, and financial issues.
Eze touts miracle healings with the slogan ‘What God cannot do does not exist,’ and midway through the live broadcast, cuts to pre-recorded videos from his followers sharing testimonies they say are the results of his prayers.
They range from healings from terminal illnesses to conception after years of infertility.
Eze describes the testimonies as the “strange acts of God.”
“It’s way beyond science and technology,” he says.
CNN has not independently verified the content of the videos.
Pastor Jerry Eze celebrates 40th Birthday
Most watched on YouTube
The broadcasts on the New Season Prophetic Prayers and Declarations channel (NSPPD) have propelled Eze to become one of the most watched preachers on YouTube.
With more than 90,000 peak concurrent viewers, Eze’s daily broadcasts rank among the most streamed globally on YouTube, according to the analytics website Playboard, which collates data for YouTube channels.
His YouTube platform also ranks second among gospel channels with the most live viewers worldwide — trailing behind Brazilian preacher Bruno Leonardo, Playboard’s data shows.
Eze also rakes in large amounts of donations from his broadcasts. He is one of YouTube’s top-earning preachers who are leveraging the platform’s Super Chat donations that help creators earn revenue.
YouTube’s Super Chat feature allows viewers to pin their comments on live streams for a fee that ranges from $1 to $500.
Among his ardent fans is award-winning Nigerian singer D’banj who tells CNN joining Eze’s morning prayers has become a routine.
“Waking up every day to NSPPD … has become part of my daily routine. I hardly miss it. It’s part of my family’s morning devotion,” adds D’banj, whose real name is Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo.
The singer says he has had his own share of miracles from prayers on the platform.
“I remember last year Pastor Jerry said we should write seven things we want to see happen, and we prayed and I believed. I checked the list the other day and … all seven have been answered.”
Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh says she also connected with Eze’s ministry early last year. She’s now “addicted,” she tells CNN.
A poverty-stricken background
Eze, who turns 40 on Monday, has come a long way from the days he and his single-parent mother struggled to find food to eat.
“I came from a family where poor people will describe my family as poor,” he says. “There were days my mum and I had no food to eat, and my mum would hold my hand and pray and give thanks to God. My mum was a single parent and a petty trader who sold groundnuts in the market … There were days she’d come home crying having not made any sales, so unable to buy us what to eat.”
Born on August 22, 1982, in Bende Local Government Area of Abia state, Eze tells CNN his education was funded by a benevolent couple who had noticed his active engagement in a church in his early years.
“I was just doing things in church like sweeping, singing, and reading the Bible — doing what most of my mates did not want to do. I had just finished junior secondary school at the time before they took me in,” he says of the couple.
Eze excelled in his studies and obtained a degree in history and international relations from Abia State University. He also went on to complete a master’s in human resource management.
Before venturing into ministry, Eze previously worked with a local TV station before joining the World Bank project for HIV/AIDS and later worked as a communications specialist with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
“I was very excited about the job (at the UNFPA), but my mum wasn’t. She said it wasn’t what God told her. According to her, God told her I was going to be a preacher,” says Eze.
“I never shared those aspirations (to be a preacher). I wasn’t even listening to her. She and I lived in poverty, so I always asked why God didn’t first help us out of poverty before asking me to quit a job that was giving us money to be a preacher. The money I was giving her was coming out of the job (with the UN), so it didn’t make sense.”
He eventually quit his job and entered full-time ministry but sadly his mother died of heart failure before he fulfilled her ambition for him, he says.
“It was when she died that the reality of my assignment began to dawn on me,” he adds.
Entering into full-time ministry has come with huge sacrifices and Eze says he spends long hours praying into the night to prepare.
“I don’t have friends, I don’t hang out, I don’t have spare time. I can’t tell what my hobbies are anymore because there’s no room for hobbies,” he says.
Eze has two children with his wife Eno, who is also a pastor. He said his marriage hasn’t been perfect due to the demands of ministry.
“It hasn’t been 100 percent, but because my wife and I do the same thing (ministry), we bond the same way. The things that matter to other people don’t matter in our family. Our conversations are about ministry and how next we’ll fulfill God’s will for our lives. If I had married the wrong woman, I’ll be boring the person.”
An accidental fame
Eze may have become an internet phenomenon, but insists his fame is accidental.
He had started livestreaming hoping to inspire his congregation when the pandemic shut down all church services and attendance at his fledgling ministry, Streams of Joy International, dwindled.
“It wasn’t a goal to reach the world,” Eze says. “During the (peak of) Covid, there was a palpable fear everywhere and I noticed that a lot of my church people were very scared of coming around the church. So, every morning, my wife and I will come online, spreading encouragement to people,” he tells CNN.
“I just wanted to speak hope,” he adds.
Eze’s daily messages of encouragement later morphed into a daily online prayer network every weekday on YouTube and other video-sharing services.
The live streams proved a hit and now in its third year, Eze’s YouTube channel has 880,000 subscribers as of this publication, and his broadcasts have garnered more than 122 million views over a three-year period, according to figures from his channel.
Jerry Eze pictured with wife Eno.
Viewers from the UK and the US jointly make up 25% of his live streams on YouTube, with more than one million views from the UK and over 700,000 views from the US between July 20 and August 16, 2022, according to figures from the platform.
Nigeria has the highest with over two million viewers. His broadcasts are also viewed in other African nations and countries such as Italy, Germany, Canada, France, Spain, Ireland, and the Netherlands, the chart showed.
Digital analyst Edward Israel-Ayide tells CNN Eze’s success can be linked to the “recent boom in digital churches and online religious movements.”
Israel-Ayide says this is because of the fallout from Covid-19.
“With lockdown restrictions in place, the need for community and a sense of belonging drove Nigerians at home and abroad to seek digital platforms that could provide them with direction and hope,” he says. “Post-Covid, many people are still seeking purpose and direction due to the socioeconomic challenges brought on by Covid-19 and the ongoing global economic crisis. This is one of the main reasons why religious movements like Pastor Jerry Eze’s NSPPD thrive.”
While many people now know him because of his online platform, “that’s not where it began,” Eze says. “There was a physical church before the online one.”
Eze founded the Streams of Joy International church in the suburbs of Nigeria’s eastern city of Umuahia many years before he shot to prominence.
Eze is now based in the Nigerian capital Abuja and his church has expanded beyond Nigeria to include branches in the UK, US and Canada.
Attendance in his Abuja church has also risen. But it is with the online community he has gained the most traction, and it is here to stay.
“People all over the world are accustomed to waking up and finding Pastor Jerry online,” Eze says. “It’s like a virus that has come stay.”
The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) has demanded a thorough investigation into the fire incident that gutted a section of the Supreme Court in the early hours of Monday.
The party raised the alarm over the incident which it described as suspicious giving the fact that a verdict on a sensitive issue of national importance is being expected.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba made the position of the opposition party on the fire incident known in a statement on Monday.
He said, “The PDP is worried over the fire outbreak especially given heightened public apprehension of possible arsonist attack with the intent to cripple and frustrate the Supreme Court from effectively discharging its constitutional duties especially with regard to high profile electoral cases including the Presidential Election Appeals pending before it.
“Our Party demands for an immediate full-scale investigation into the fire outbreak with the view to unraveling the circumstances or possible sabotage in the incident.
“The PDP insists that the outcome of the investigation should be made public unlike those of previous fire incidents in various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies which were characteristically swept under the carpet by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administrations.
“While calling on the Federal Government to beef up security around the Supreme Court, the PDP also demands that Nigerians must be assured of the safety of sensitive documents and equipment at the Court especially at this critical time.”
Gov Peter Mbah (centre) and some government officials during inspection of the collapsed bridge in Enugu on Monday
…urges FG to concession roads to states
Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has called for a new road maintenance model to guarantee a better condition and longevity of Nigerians roads, regretting that the current model had failed woefully.
Dr. Mbah made the call when he visited the site of the collapsed bridge between the New Artisan flyover and the NNPC Mega Station along the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway.
The collapsed bridge
Fielding questions from newsmen after the first-hand inspection of the scene of the disaster, Mbah who thanked God that no life was lost despite the magnitude of the incident, urged the federal government to consider a concession of all the federal roads in each state to the state governments for proper maintenance in conjunction with the private sector.
“I think the question should be whether the current model of federal road maintenance is working or not; and I think that is the bigger question that we must ask.
“Today, we are here witnessing a tragedy that has just occurred. We are fortunate enough that no life was lost, but this could have been prevented entirely. So, the people can no longer ply this route because of this tragedy. This shows clearly that we do not have a sound federal road maintenance model.
“The bridge collapse didn’t just happen. These threats could have been identified if we had routine or regular maintenance.
“Perhaps the way to go is to find a way to concession these roads to the states. The states need to take charge of the roads within their domains and there has to be a conversation around the funding models”.
The said bridge collapsed on Monday, leaving commuters stranded.
Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Gerald Otiji, government has advised commuters to use Nza Street through New Haven or ply Ogui Road and Abakaliki Road to their various destinations, while the authorities come up with measures for immediate repair on the failed section of the bridge.
The flyover bridge across the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway at the Enugu New Artisan market in Enugu state capital has collapsed.
The bridge collapsed Monday morning but an eyewitness said there was no casualty as artisans and residents were yet to come out from their homes for the day’s activity.
The eyewitness, an Auto Mechanic who identified himself as Nnamdi, told The Advocate that two lorries conveying goods which were on the bridge when the incident occurred were affected.
According to him, drivers and conductors of the two lorries, however, escaped unhurt.
The Advocate observed that one lane of the Enugu – Port Harcourt dual-carriage way had been blocked by the debris of the collapsed bridge forcing motorists playing the expressway to divert through alternative routes to continue their journey.
Security operatives, officials of the Federal and Enugu State Ministries of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were sighted within the area to access the situation as well as to assist the road users plying the alternative routes.
Residents of Goshen Estate, Premier Layout, worshippers at the Dunamis Church and traders at the New Artisan market who are regular users of the bridge are likely to encounter serious traffic gridlock on account of the collapsed bridge, if an alternative route is not created as a matter of urgency.
The state government has yet to speak on the development by press time.