Nigerian Pentecostalism and Covid

Nigerian Pentecostalism and Covid-19: Assessing the RCCG’s Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Webinar: 3 November 2021, 4-5.30 pm

Speaker: Dr Chris Wadibia, University of Oxford

Registration is free. To join, email the Centre Coordinator.

Founded in 1952, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) is one of Nigeria’s largest, wealthiest, and most politically powerful indigenous Pentecostal churches. The first case of Covid-19 was reported in Nigeria on 28 February 2020. The advent of Covid-19 created spaces for the RCCG to leverage its influential religious platform and development activity infrastructures to, in its own eyes, assist the Nigerian state in combatting the spread of the virus. This lecture employs the RCCG as an organisational case study to offer a critical analysis of how Nigerian Pentecostals have responded to the crisis. The RCCG’s Covid-19 response can be grouped into the following three categories: investments in palliatives, virus-related biblical exegeses, and engagement with the Nigerian state. Ultimately, this lecture seeks to equip students with an understanding of how Africa’s indigenous Pentecostal churches have delivered creative solutions in response to the considerable social and public health challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Christopher Wadibia is a Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Oxford. He is researching the nexus between political Pentecostalism and racism in the UK under the aegis of Pembroke’s Religion and the Frontier Challenges programme. Christopher’s doctoral research studied the politics of how the RCCG, one of Nigeria’s most popular and socio-politically influential indigenous Pentecostal churches, invests in Nigerian development causes. Before Oxford, Christopher completed a BA in Government at Georgetown University (2016), an MPhil in Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies at Trinity College, Dublin (2018), and a PhD in Theology and Religion at Cambridge (2021).