Ayo Oritsejafor

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Ayo Oritsejafor
Ayo oritsejafor.png
5th President of CAN
In office
July, 2010 – July, 2016
Vice PresidentDaniel Okoh
Preceded byJohn Onaiyekan
Succeeded byDr. Supo Ayokunle
Personal details
BornAyodele Joseph Oritsegbubemi Oritsejafor
November 10
Delta State, Nigeria
Helen Oritsejafor (m. 1997)
ParentsJoseph Monday Oritsejafor
Roli Durojaiye Oritsejafor
ResidenceWarri, Delta State, Nigeria
OccupationPreacher, Author
WebsiteAyo Oritsejafor Ministries

Ayodele Joseph Oritsegbubemi Oritsejafor, known as Papa Ayo Oritsejafor, is the founding and Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, located in Warri, Nigeria. He became the national president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) on February 7, 2005, a position he held for five years. In July 2010, Oritsejafor was elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN),[1][2] the apex body of all Christians in the country. In doing so he became the first Pentecostal leader to hold the position. Oritsejafor was the first to launch a Miracle crusade from Africa to a world audience via satellite in 1987 with evangelist Joe Martins.


Pastor Ayo ministering at the Warri Miracle Crusade in the Warri City Stadium. Warri, Nigeria. December 10, 2015

Oritsejafor is a proponent of leadership by example.[3] This is evident in the role he played in bringing the crisis in Niger Delta area of Nigeria to an end.[4][5]


USCIRF ChairDr. Katrina Lantos Swett with CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor. June 2012

Oritsejafor has been heavily criticized. After he was elected as the National President of CAN, an association not well recognized by Nigerians attracted headlines because of Oritsejafor's defense of the Church in Nigeria, freedom and equality, and terrorism.[6]

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, delivering a speech at a press conference at the Bloomberg Room of the National Press Building in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 25, 2013. Photo Credit: The Christian Post

Sources articulated[7] that Oritsejafor's only crime was to lead Nigerian Christians[8] in calling upon the US Congress to label a "group of young men" a terrorist group in his testimony before a committee of the US Congress[9] in 2012.[10][11]

One of the challenges facing Nigerians is that we are so good at pretending. We bury our heads in the sand and just pretend that nothing is happening. But something is happening.

In 2014, the "group of young men" was not only labeled as a terrorist group but an International Terrorist Organization that have taken over 5000 innocent lives alongside massive territory damages since mid-2009. The Global Terrorism Index said the group has killed more people: 6,644—in terror attacks during 2014 than any other terrorist group.[12]


Oritsejafor has received several awards both internationally and locally in regards of his various peace and humanitarian initiatives. He has been honored with the Golden key to the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan by the mayor of the city. He was also honored with the International Youth Ambassador for Peace Award. He was conferred an Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) one of the Nigerian National Honours at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on December 22, 2008. Oritsejafor received an award of 'A True Servant of God' by The Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) May 9, 2013.[13] Speaking on the choice of Oritsejafor, the Chairman of NOSCEF, Matthew Owojaiye said: "Oritsejafor was chosen because of his commitment and dedication for the things of Christ, noting that when others tried to save their head, he dared to speak the truth."


Oritsejafor with a benefactor during the Annual Poverty Alleviation Program in Warri, Nigeria. December 26, 2015

Oritsejafor sees himself as a servant of God and an instrument through which the God ministers to the spiritual and physical needs[14] of people.[15] He places emphasis on salvation, repentance, holiness, deliverance and empowerment of the less privileged, through social responsibility programmes. Over the years, he has condemned wastefulness and encouraged giving back to the society, regardless of religion or race. He offers scholarships to indigent students in various tertiary, secondary and elementary institutions both within and outside Nigeria irrespective of tribe or denomination.[16][17]

In December 2005, Oritsejafor and his wife Helen partnered with Flight Micro Finance Bank to start an empowerment programme for the people. Oritsejafor, ever since, makes it a tradition to empower the less privileged and to alleviate the sufferings of families all over at the end of every December.[18]

On 26 December 2016, the Word of Life Bible Church in conjunction with the Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank allegedly held the poverty alleviation programme in Warri.[19]

African Broadcasting Network (ABN)[edit]

Oritsejafor set up African Broadcasting Network, an international satellite Christian television station intended to serve as a voice for the gospel of Christ from Africa to the world. ABN is a satellite channel broadcasting from London, with a coverage that spans across the whole of Africa, parts of Asia and parts of Europe. ABN is currently viewed in 75 countries world-wide and online via WebTV.[20]

Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN)[edit]

In 2010, Oritsejafor was declared the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He has been called the "most misunderstood"[21] President of CAN. He was re-elected as the president in July 10, 2013.[1][22] In an interview with a CAN Official, he lauds Oritsejafor:

If people need to celebrate any man, it is this man because he has lifted the profile of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Before, people talk down on CAN, today you don't just talk down on CAN without CAN responding. That is a very huge achievement. One of the greatest achievements that he has done which has never ever happened before in the history of CAN, there has never been any President of CAN who interfaced with all the different blocs of CAN, and there is no bloc that can say the CAN President has not come either physically to worship with them or participated in one of their projects. Do you know that some of the Christian leaders that were killed, like some pastors in Maiduguri, he gave them accommodation, gave their children scholarship.[23]


Oritsejafor has authored several books:

  • Walking in Unity
  • Breaking the Power of Yesterday
  • The Non-Essentials
  • The Stone That Killed Goliath
  • How to get answers to unanswered prayers
  • Power through the Church
  • The Battle is in the Mind
  • Be an Over-Comer
  • Power for the Journey
  • Faith Antidote for Daily Living
  • A Voice in the Wilderness
  • A Man amongst Men


  1. ^ a b "CAN re-elects Oritsejafor as president. On July 10, 2013. He was first elected into the position in May 2010'". Vanguard News. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  2. ^ "'CAN Officers'". Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  3. ^ "The church can help solve Niger Delta crisis". The Nation. 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  4. ^ "How Yar'Adua Can Address Niger Delta Problem -Oritsejafor". Vanguard News (via allAfrica.com). AllAfrica Global Media. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  5. ^ "Grant Amnesty to Militants". Vanguard News (via allAfrica.com). AllAfrica Global Media. 2008-08-17. Retrieved 2016-02-15.
  6. ^ "'It's Open Season on Christians...Help Stop This Genocide!' Pleads Nigeria Christian Leader to US Lawmakers". MidEast Christian News. The Christian Post. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  7. ^ "Waku Blasts Oritsejafor Over Comments At U.S. Congress". Vanguard News (via allAfrica.com). AllAfrica Global Media. 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  8. ^ Gryboski, Michael (2013-07-26). "Nigerian Christians Urge State Dept. to Label Boko Haram as Terrorist Group". Christian Post. The Christian Post. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  9. ^ Kalu, Uduma (2012-07-12). "Designate Boko Haram terrorist group, Oritsejafor tells US Congress". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  10. ^ Kumar, Anugrah (2012-01-08). "Nigerian Christian Leader Calls for 'Self-Defense' Amid Killings". Christian Post. The Christian Post. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  11. ^ "Don't negotiate with Boko Haram". Vanguard News. 2014-11-16. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  12. ^ Alfred, Charlotte (2015-11-18). "Boko Haram Actually Kills More People In Terror Attacks Than ISIS". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  13. ^ Eyoboka, Sam (2013-05-26). "NOSCEF: Why we honoured Oritsejafor". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  14. ^ Atonko, Ben (2013-02-17). "Ayo Oritsejafor celebrates love in Warri". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  15. ^ "Ayo Oritsejafor: The dogged lion equipping people". Vanguard News. 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  16. ^ "Minor bags Oritsejafor's scholarship". Vanguard News. 2015-02-22. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  17. ^ "40 indigent students bag Oritsejafor scholarship awards". Vanguard News. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  18. ^ "Oritsejafor gives out 7 cars". Vanguard News. 2014-12-23. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  19. ^ "Xmas; Woman Bursts Into Tears After Getting Gift From Pastor Oritsejafor. Photos". National Helm.
  20. ^ http://www.abnchannel.net/home/webtv.php
  21. ^ Eyoboka, Sam (2014-10-28). "Oritsejafor is the most misunderstood Christian leader — Oibe, CAN Official". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  22. ^ "Oritsejafor returns as CAN president". Vanguard News. 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  23. ^ "Oritsejafor Is the Most Misunderstood Christian Leader - CAN Official (Elder Sunday Oibe)". Vanguard News (via allAfrica.com). AllAfrica Global Media. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2016-02-04.


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