Irukwu, a former investment banker and a senior Pastor of Jesus House (a Pentecostal church) in London since 1994, has been under a series of attack from gay rights campaigners for his outspoken views on homosexuality.
Similarly, British Prime Minister David Cameron has threatened to cut aid to African countries that do not respect gay rights.
Irukwu won 54 per cent of votes in a competition organised by the Mayor of London, Mr Boris Johnson and Metro Report, a local Newspaper.
He was picked from a shortlist that also included U.S. President Barack Obama, former South African President Nelson Mandela and late U.S. human rights activist Martin Luther King.
Other Nigerians also shortlisted were Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, UK-based Nigerian news broadcaster, Ronke Phillips and writer/radio presenter Dotun Adebayo.
Irukwu, in his reaction, said it was humbling to be voted as the most inspiring person.
“In no way do I consider myself to be a hero; certainly not of the calibre of iconic figures such as Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama, for whom I have great admiration, and others who have made indelible marks on the sands of history.
“I believe that those votes were not for me personally, but an acknowledgement of the values of Jesus Christ which I stand for, strive to live by and teach.”
In a congratulatory message to Irukwu, the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) described him as an “energetic, hard working and pragmatic Nigerian”.
“This award is symbolic of what postive things we (Nigerians) can do as a people in any part of the world.”