Who is Rev Esther Ajayi, the billionaire woman pastor and philanthropist, who owns a private jet?

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Yinka ’ADETUNJI
Rev. Mother (Dr) Captain Esther Abimbola Ajayi is an accomplished Christian leader and billionaire philanthropist. She lives in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. She brims with energy, confidence and assuredness and is a real woman of “swagga” though in a most humble way. She swings with the high and the mighty but never is she aloof from the lowly, she is ever attracted to them. She is deeply involved in humanitarian services through her NGO – Esther Abimbola Foundation.

Early life
Born on April 2, 1963 in Mushin, Lagos, Nigeria, she grew in a family with a strong Christian value. She claimed her great grandfather introduced Methodist Church to Agboyi town in Lagos. Right from a tender age she began to have the touch of the Holy Spirit; at a time, her mother was critically ill, she was asked to pray for her and instantly, her condition started to improve. She had other experiences in praying for the people which came to pass. Entrepreneurship runs in her blood, no wonder by the time she clocked 25 years of age in 1988, she had built a storey building in Lagos. She attended schools in Lagos before attending Faith Bible College, Sango-Otta, Ogun State, where she bagged BA Degree in Biblical Theology along with other academic honors.



Ministry
Her venturing into the ministry happened in a most dramatic way; this was at a time she had become tremendously successful; she was excelling in the corporate world as a business woman. She narrated during an interview how she came into the ministry: “My journey to ministry kick-started in 1997, when as a businesswoman, the then, National Electric Power Authority, NEPA owed me N4.2m. I was in Abuja and was bent retrieving my money because I was owing a bank and was servicing heavily. One day, I boarded a taxi and as my usual practice, I would always pray every hour. The taxi driver, who I called Baba Ogbomoso (he’s late now) saw me praying in the taxi at 3pm and I asked if he would join me. We prayed together after which he asked if all was well. I told him about NEPA owing me. He quickly asked me if I would meet a woman of God to pray for me. Desperate for help, I agreed to see the prophetess.
“That was how I met Rev Esther Oguntoyinbo. Immediately I got there, she knelt down and asked me to pray for her. I was confused and wondered what she was saying because I had come to her to pray for me. She persisted and I just said a short prayer. Then, she said God wants me to carry His cross and that God would prove this with the payment from NEPA, which she said, would be paid within 7 days. That way, I would know that God wants me to carry His cross. Before I left her place, again, she asked me to pray for her.
“On my way back, I wasn’t pleased with what the prophetess said because I needed my money to be paid and not carrying any cross. But on the fifth day, I went to the gospel.
“That was how I started preaching and I would preach on my streets, everywhere and even when we came to London. I would ring the bell and preach the gospel on the streets of London, saying, ‘repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Initially, people looked at me but they got used to it and said hello.”
In 2007, she was led by God to start her own church named: Love of Christ Generation Church C&S in London. In 2015, the church moved into a newly renovated Cathedral in Clapham, London, where she now pastors a congregation with hundreds of worshippers and thousands of social media followers every day.
She constructed a massive Cathedral of Love of Christ Generation Church C&S in Victoria Island, Lagos, which she dedicated last week.
“Iya Adura” as she is also affectionately known is author of several books including “Hidden Law of Prosperity” and “Praying in Faith” and the soon to be released, “Crazy Faith” and “The Divine Solution to Your Marital Problems.”
After seeing her own personal transformation, Esther Abimbola Ajayi has become a crusader for healthy living across our communities. She created The Fit-Faith Club, an initiative that provides free gyms, free personal instructors and free nutrition advice.

With her husband


A peep into her philanthropic work
Rev. Ajayi stayed in Nigeria voluntarily between 2017 and 2021 so as to regularise her immigration status in the UK.
She after a period of absence of about three-and-a-half years, – has returned to the United Kingdom from Nigeria.
Her trip to Lagos was an opportunity to make giant strides in Nigeria and beyond – growing the work she had commenced in the UK.
Her philanthropy in Nigeria and some other parts of the continent increased with numerous beneficiaries. She also travelled to numerous countries including Ghana, Rwanda, Liberia, Benin Republic, St. Kitts, United States of America and Israel.
In July 2018, the second edition of Celebrate the Comforter – a joint Revival of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church (C&S) and Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), which she founded and sponsored, took place in New York. The third edition of the event took place in 2019 at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
She was a major sponsor of the Ovation Carols.
She has played major financial roles in numerous projects including the Seraphim Land at Kilometer 40 on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway; Moses Orimolade University, Omu-Aran in Nigeria’s Kwara State; and the St. Moses Orimolade Holy Land project at Ijaiye, Ojokoro. She has also sponsored many on pilgrimages to Jerusalem and brought succour to the sick by paying their medical bills.
The lover of youths has also sponsored many of their programmes, paid educational bills and empowered many to start their businesses.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she offered a helping hand by way of palliatives to the less-privileged.
She is a great bridge builder across many communities especially in Nigeria. She influences secular, political and traditional leaders positively and spiritually for the sake of good governance, equality and social justice within society and most importantly for mutual unity amongst all faiths and denominations.
In 2017, she was honoured with the Freedom of the City of London – the most established Borough Freedom that is conferred in England which was first recorded in 1239.
She owns a private jet, which costs about 30 billion naira to maintain on a yearly basis. She says a private jet is an instrument of evangelism. “I see private jet as an instrument of evangelism. I have ridden on chartered private jets with associates on a few gospel trips. I don’t want a private jet or wealth that I won’t be in a position to help the poor or needy.” It is estimated that her net worth is between $20m and $50m.
She also says, “I am one of the major funders of Moses Orimolade University, located at Omu-Aran, Kwara state. My plan is to make the university cheaper and affordable for Nigerians who are not well to do. I also print 10, 000 copies of the Holy Bible every year from China and I give it out freely to people.”
Captain Ajayi has been happily married for 39 years to Rev. Dr. Ademuyiwa Ajayi, a lecturer in theology at the Faith Bible Church, Sango-Otta, and they are blessed with two boys, two girls and an adopted daughter.

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