The US-based website, Richest Lifestyle,which listed President Goodluck Jonathan as Africa’s sixth richest president has retracted the publication.
Richest Lifestyle had ranked Jonathan alongside King Mswati III of Swaziland, stating that both African leaders were worth $100m (N16.5 bn) in the publication titled “Africa’s Richest Presidents 2014.”
Following the publication, the President had threatened to institute a legal action against the publishers of the online magazine, stating that the ranking lacked “factual basis.”
“The Presidency condemns the totally unwarranted inclusion of President Jonathan in the publication titled “Africa’s Richest Presidents 2014” as another attempt to unjustifiably portray the President as a corrupt leader and incite public disaffection against him.
“As is well known, President Jonathan has never been a businessman or entrepreneur, but a life-long public servant. The clear and unacceptable imputation of the claim that President Jonathan is now worth about $100 Million is that the President has corruptly enriched himself while in office which is certainly not the case,” the Presidential Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, had said in a statement on Wednesday.
But the global magazine which claims to showcase “rich, famous and fabulous people around the globe” said on Thursday that it based its evaluation of Jonathan’s worth on information and statistics it gleaned from a sister global celebrity magazine, CelebrityNetWorth.com.
While the other African leaders on the list remained intact in the rankings, the Richest Lifestyle simply deleted the segment detailing Jonathan’s net worth on the portal.
“This article (on Jonathan) has been removed. The net worth was evaluated by Celebrity Net Worth,” the online magazine wrote, without giving reasons why it took down the President’s profile.
An enquiry made by iPUNCH to the Richest Lifestyle on the circumstances surrounding the taking down of the President’s profile on the ranking was not responded to as at press time.
However, Celebrity Net Worth explained on its website that it does not cook up statistics, adding that its “figures and articles are thoroughly researched.”
“All of our figures and articles are thoroughly researched, scrutinised and fact checked by our team of writers and financial analysts.
“The figures are acquired from all publicly available information including salaries, real estate holdings, divorces, record sales, royalties and endorsements. The estimated net worths come from a formula that takes out taxes, manager’s fees, agents’ fees, and lifestyle,” the California-based celebrity finance outlet, founded in 2009, wrote on its website.
While Richest Lifestyle removed Jonathan from the ranking on its portal, Celebrity Net Worth retained the publication which was put together by its senior developer and search engine consultant, Alex Chan, on its portal.
Apart from the President, Richest Lifestyle also ranked the Presiding Bishop of the Living Faith Church Ministries, David Oyedeopo, as the richest pastor in the world, in its “Top 10 Richest Pastors in the World 2014” list.
Apart from Oyedepo, four other Nigerian clergymen made the list. They included the Founding President of Believers’ Love World Incorporated, popularly called Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome (2nd); Founder of the Synagogue Church of all Nations, Prophet TB Joshua (7th); Kingsway International Christian Centre’s Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo (8th); and Pastor of the Household of God Church International Ministries, Chris Okotie (8th).
While Ashimolowo and Okotie tied on the ranking, it listed Israeli-American cleric, Benny Hinn; American televangelist, Creflo Dollar; televangelist, Billy Graham; Bishop of American non-denominational mega-church, TD Jakes, and Singaporean pastor, Joseph Prince, on the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and tenth positions.
Describing all the pastors as “respected by Christians all over the world” Richest Lifestyle described Bishop David Oyedepo as the ‘richest pastor in Nigeria and the world’, adding, “He is the founder of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry. Ever since he founded this ministry in 1981, it has grown to become one of Africa’s largest congregations.
“He hosts three services every Sunday in The Faith Tabernacle. This prosperous pastor owns private jets and homes in the US and the UK.”