Friday, April 6, 2012


power can even be more powerful than the pull of electromagnetic waves that drive electricity.” Credit: Tony Boon/

I have no qualms against religious bodies producing commercially, but when the product is labeled as “holy”, like Hebron sachet water produced by the founder of Winners Chapel, David Oyedepo, and the price is fifty percent (50%) cheaper than the usual, then this is a predator in the market!

Hebron sachet water was born to be a monopolist.

Hebron sachet water could eventually be a natural monopoly in the market for sachet waters at Ota and like everybody would eventually learn, you better beware of entering its territory.

For one, the residents of Ota say that the water is “holy.” On the other hand, Oyedepo has decided to sell it at fifty percent of the actual price in the market. The demand for his product is so high that it even interferes with church services.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you that if Oyedepo is allowed to continue this way, he is sooner than latter going to drive so many of his competitors out of the market. When he gains monopoly power, (oh, how sweet power is!), we could see a trend where resellers of the sachet water would come from only amongst people who attend his church. By selling it at N120, the market price, they get to make a profit of N60 on each bag of sachet water which profit no other sachet water can provide. So, only his devotees will eventually control the market.

Hebron sachet water could see a line of Hebron bottle water, Hebron spring water and so on and so forth in the near future. That is the benefit monopoly confers.

But what if his monopoly power is only a tool to further increase his religious powers?

Business must be good for his company. And also for his members who have given him a cost advantage over his rivals. Altruism and the volunteering spirit would make sure the cost of input for his business is lower than the average. This indeed is a good thing, especially if they get to share from the profits.

The downside is that this could be a strategy, well known in poverty ridden Africa, of enriching his church members as a bait used to attract other people who are not members of his church. This would be a dangerous thing. But what if everyone does it and would surely want to do it?

Power corrupts and so does religion.

After gaining monopoly power and driving his competitors out of the market, what if Oyedepo decides to increase the price of Hebron sachet water to reflect the true market price? Because he has all of Ota at his fingertips when it comes to sachet water, he could see his revenue and profits double, triple and quadruple overnight. He has the power to decide who will be in the business or not, especially when he must have started with the faithful of his church. Religion and power are dangerous things, you must agree with me, and when both resides in the palms of a single mortal, then one only wonders when corruption will start creeping in.

Notwithstanding, everyone likes a cheap product and he has it going for him.

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