The number of divorce cases are on the increase, and religious leaders are not exempted from that statistics.
But let’s face it, no matter how much we try to “spiritualize” it, clerics are humans and not spirit. Thus they can experience marital problems just as much as everyone else.
Even the Bible gives conditions where divorce is permissible. Matthew 5:32 states that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality and marries another, commits adultery.
In 1 Corinthians 7:15, Paul explains, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace”.
Therefore, God permits divorce when adultery and abandonment occur. Nowhere in the Bible were pastors exempted from that rule.
So, if a pastor’s wife commits adultery, or if she deserts her marriage without the desire to reconcile, the pastor is free to divorce her and remarry. The reverse is also applicable. That is, if a Pastor commits adultery or deserts his marriage without a desire to reconcile, the wife is free to divorce and remarry.
READ ALSO: Grounds For Applying For Divorce In Nigeria
Some clerics have divorced without any of these two reasons, in those cases, its becomes a violation of Biblical instruction.
But what does the Bible say if it’s a case of divorce due to domestic (emotional and physical) abuse?
Now that is a discussion for another day.
While the entire concept of a clergy divorcing his or her spouse might be novel in Nigeria, however, it has been a long time trend in the West. For instance, famous clergy that have once divorced their partner include: Kathryn Kuhlman, Kenneth Copeland, Archbishop Nichola Duncan Williams, Richard Roberts, Juanita Bynum, Paula White, and Joyce Meyer.
Anyway, here is a list of 8 Nigerian pastors and ministers that have gone through divorce and are still in ministry.
Chris Kwakpovwe is the founder and senior pastor of Manna Prayer Mountain (MPM) Ministry Worldwide, headquartered in Lagos. He is also the author of the immensely popular daily devotional, Our Daily Manna.
The Pastor divorced his wife Pastor Dolapo Kwakpovwe whom he married in 1987.
The 61-year old trained pharmacist turned preacher is now married to Flora Ejiro Kwakpovwe. They got married in 2000.
Reverend Chris Okoties is a politician, televangelist and the founder of the Household of God Church International Ministries – an Ikeja, Lagos-based church.
The 65 year-old Okotie has been married twice. In 2001, his first wife, Tina, whom he married in 1988, left him and never returned.
On August 7, 2008, the pop singer turned preacher married Stephanie Henshaw – a mother of three.
On June 24, 2012, he announced that he had separated from the second wife. They cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce. They were married for four years.
Pastor Okotie, a former pop singer, quit music in 1987 to go into full-time ministry.
Pastor Chris Okafor is the founder of Mountain of Liberation and Miracle Ministry, also known as Liberation City. The church has its headquarter in Ojodu, Lagos.
In 2012, his former wife, Bessem, and mother of their four children, left their home and has not returned since.
In 2014, she accused him of assault and even shared photos of injuries she allegedly received from his assault.
Chris Okafor popularly referred to as The Oracle is a faith healer with particular emphasis on dealing with foundations and altars.
Bishop David Benenoch is the founder and head Pastor of the Communion Church, Festac Town, Lagos.
On Saturday September 15, 2012, during a service, he announced to his congregation that he was divorcing his wife, Esther Benenoch.
According to him, there was no going back because it was an instruction from God.
The announcement was made after 23 years of marriage. The only explanation given was for spiritual reasons.
His wife was at that time living in Houston, Texas USA.
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Trinity House, Victoria Island Lagos.
The 62-years old Ighodalo was one of the renowned provincial pastors of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). He was formerly married to Lucy-Ann Summer whom he married in 1995. The marriage, however, hit the rock a few years later.
In 2007, he married a former beauty queen and event planner, Ibidun Ajayi.
Due to the sensitive position he held in the church, he was suspended as a Pastor in RCCG for remarrying another woman. He, however, left the church to establish the Trinity House, Lagos.
These events happened over 10 years after he seperated from his first wife who had gone on to remarry and have children.
His second wife, Ibidun Ajayi-Ighodalo, passed on June 14, 2020, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is the founder of LoveWorld Ministry popularly known as Christ Embassy.
The revered clergyman and his former wife, Anita, got divorced after 22 years of marriage. This was after she filed for a divorce in London over infidelity on 9 April 2014.
The divorce was confirmed completed on the 8th February 2016.
The couple met as students at the Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University) and got married on February 2, 1991. The marriage was blessed with two daughters, Sharon and Charlene.
Bishop John Egah is the Bishop and founder of Hope and Power Mega Church worldwide – an Abuja based church.
The Bishop divorced his first wife, Maureen, after a turbulent union with accusation of infidelity.
In 2019, he later got married to Apostle Naomi Aderonke Egah.
Prohet Joshua Iginla is the founder and senior pastor of the Abuja-based Champions Royal Assembly.
In 2019, he made a shocking confession when he revealed that him and his wife Yemisi, both had children out of wedlock.
According to the 54-year old clergyman, his wife brought an illegitimate child into their home, he forgave her, but she refused to forgive him when he had a child with another woman.
They have since gotten divorced. He later married Prophetess Stella Zimasa – a South African – who had a daughter for him while he was still married to his first wife.