SPOTLIGHT: Mummy G.O: New face of social media memes, trends in Nigeria

“Mummy G.O” may be a recent trend on Twitter, but the topic has been prominent on social media for some time. ‘Mummy G.O’ is a typical name to refer to female heads of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, or the wives of the prominent heads of Pentecostal churches. The ‘G.O’ means General Overseer and the ‘Mummy’ is, of course, a reverential reference name.  

Mummy G.O trends on Twitter

Nonetheless, it is not the generic term, Mummy G.O, that has triggered the trend but a Nigerian female pastor and founder of Rapture Proclaimer Evangelical Church of God in Lagos, Funmilayo Adebayo. In late 2021, her videos went viral and sparked a meme trend and since then, a good deal of news platforms have taken interest in her and are visiting the church in Lagos.

Her message was specific and even common: “to awaken the church for Christ and to prepare souls for heaven.” Yet it was her manner of delivery that appears to garner the attention and the controversy. Mrs Funmilayo continually outlines the dos and don’ts  of getting to heaven, even listing out activities that may hinder people from accessing heaven. In one instance, she said that those who play soccer professionally will not access heaven. It was similar controversial issues like this that went viral, triggering a trend of comic memes on social media that depicted her pictures alongside ridiculous activities that may hinder access to heaven. 

A typical meme of Mummy G.O on Twitter

Who is Mummy G.O?

Mummy G.O is the popular name given to a Nigerian female pastor and founder of Rapture Proclaimer Evangelical Church of God in Lagos, Funmilayo Adebayo.

The 52-year-old evangelist, according to Biography Nigeria, was born 15 June 1970 and hails from Ekiti state. She is popular for her controversial messages. In 2021, evangelist Funmilayo’s interesting and controversial messages went viral, bringing her to limelight.

In this BBC interview, she described herself as a revivalist and evangelist doing the work of God. She also revealed she was called 27 years ago and her ministry is 24 years. She noted she was familiar with the popular title “Mummy GO” given to her on social media but doesn’t mind, as she believes the trend is aiding her prominence and helping to spread her message. 

In the last quarter of 2021, she became a popular face for memes when many Nigerians made memes with some of her messages and other ridiculous claims that wages on some activities that may lead one to hell. Though Mummy G.O has denied most of these claims on the premise that most of the videos and pictures of her going viral message have been manipulated, and on the memes, a source of fun, some users disagreed with her.

She said some of her original messages can be found on her YouTube channel Rapec Tv.

Screenshot of Rapec online TV.

A visit to her YouTube page showed she had 275 videos with over 10,000 subscribers. This YouTube  channel clearly states that her message is to “awaken the church for Christ and to prepare souls for heaven”.

Mummy G.O’s popular controversial topics

In a testimony she shared “990 years in the kingdom of darkness”, she said  she was originally a man in Egypt, who died in a war. In the afterlife, she claimed to be trained and sent for industrial training before being reborn into Nigeria as a woman.

Some of her popular controversial messages were about break dancing, 666 encoded Walt Disney’s logo, Lucifer’s love for sexual intercourse, etc. 

It is these teachings and videos that have now become a niche for content creators, adopting her style of preaching to create funny memes, and comedy skits that have now continued to circulate on social media.

Some of the rules to attend her church at 31 Adeyefa Street, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos was highlighted by Premium Times to include the following: No jeans wearing allowed and only long plain skirts for women and plain trousers for men allowed. In addition, all females must cover their hair with a scarf; and no phones or make-up allowed, etc.

This trend led many news platforms like Pulse Nigeria, the Nation, etc. to write about her and her messages. However, it was BBC pidgin that succeeded in getting an exclusive interview with her.

The Mummy G.O trend: a prospect for misinformation

While most of these memes are merely satiristic and comic contents intended to trigger laughter amongst social media users, similar contents have been found to mislead and misinform people in the past. 

Typically, though most of the memes started with a picture of ‘Mummy G.O’ and an alleged statement referenced to her, the trend seems to have transcended to content such as doctored pictures showcasing her face. In some cases, her picture was doctored to portray her with a bogus breast and another one showcasing naked. 

Two doctored images portraying the church leader in a rather vile manner

One user replied to this tweet, ‘It’s good I don’t have a babe. I never knew Mummy G.O is this loaded and hefty,’ either satirically or realistically suggesting some level of belief in the picture.

In instances, among many others, she was portrayed to have made some comments on cryptocurrency, alcohol, music among some other issues that easily generate controversy among many Nigerian youth.

Below are some of the memes with varying degrees of believability judging by the comments that followed.

Largely without intention, Mummy G.O has crept into the Nigerian meme space and managed to front a face of several falsity tied to her preaching. She seems not to be bothered though.

…nothing is true about the memes, they are just fabricating the memes, everybody with their content, writing all sorts of things and tagging her pictures. We are used to it; the best thing is to ignore them.

Her son, Samuel Adebayo, was recently quoted as saying.
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