By Vivian Ihechu
“Time to go – time to come here for prayer and time to go home after the service. Were some of the last memorable words of Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, when he spoke at the Emmanuel TV partners meeting on Saturday.
Joshua, Nigerian pastor, televangelist, philanthropist, leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) died on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at the age of 57.
The actual cause of death had not yet been known.
According to The SCOAN website, Joshua attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School (Ikare-Akoko, Nigeria, 1971-1977).
He only had one year of high school before going to work on a poultry farm.
While in school he was known as the “Little Pastor” because of his love for the scriptures and his ability to predict things that would happen in his community; he was also said to have been the head of the “Union des Ecritures” during his studies.
He had taught the children in evening classes and done some menial work before he had the revelation to set up a ministry during a 40-day fast.
In 1987, TB Joshua founded the Synagogue, Church of All Nations under the bridge that connects Ejigbo and Egbe in Lagos State with only a few members.
The church later grew to have large numbers of members inside and outside Nigeria, Africa and Latin America.
He then created the Emmanuel TV channel from Lagos, which has a large audience, especially since it is broadcast on cable TV.
TB Joshua was a well-known philanthropist and known for helping people in need and sponsoring.
‘My People FC’, a football club he founded in 2009, was part of his efforts to help young people and two team members, Sani Emmanuel and Ogenyi Onazi, played for the Nigeria Golden Eaglets during of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
In addition, three club players were sponsored overseas to play professional football for Sweden.
WBO International Light Middleweight King boxing champion Davidson Emenogu had said Joshua had supported him financially throughout his career.
A man of much influence, Forbes wrote in 2011 that Joshua was Nigeria’s third richest pastor with an estimated net worth of between $ 10 million and $ 15 million.
It was so popular that Wikipedia documented its massive social media presence with as many as 3.5 million Facebook fans.
“His YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, has over a million YouTube subscribers.
“He was the most watched Christian ministry in the world on the platform before it was hung.
“He has been described as ‘The Oprah of Evangelism’ and ‘YouTube’s Most Popular Pastor’.
Like many influential men, TB Joshua was not without controversy.
On September 12, 2014, a guesthouse collapsed on The SCOAN premises in Lagos, killing as many as 115 people.
Speculation continued to trace the circumstances that led to the collapse, with former Nigerian aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode alleging that “Nigeria’s intelligence agencies blew up the building.”
In addition, his relations with other clergymen were not smooth and were publicly criticized.
The audience also wondered about the miracles that happened in his church.
Yet TB Joshua, was unfazed and in a 2006 book, “The Mirror,” he said, “Whatever I am today is the product of the belief that victory through Christ Jesus is truly victory.” ; “The rest is history.”
Nonetheless, Joshua has made an impact in education, healthcare, peace and reconciliation, among others.
A Forbes blogger said Joshua was estimated to have spent $ 20 million on “education, health care and rehabilitation programs for former Niger Delta activists.”
He was receptive to repentant people who crossed all walks of life, including the rehabilitation of repentant activists, armed robbers and sex workers who came to church for “deliverance.”
The SCOAN has a scholarship program which sponsors many students in primary, secondary and even tertiary institutions.
In 2012, it was widely reported that Joshua sponsored a Nigerian student to do a PhD in the UK.
His involvement in humanitarian relief was exceptional as Joshua supported efforts during the earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and in April 2016 in Ecuador, where he provided humanitarian aid worth over $ 500,000.
In Ecuador, he financed the reconstruction of a rural school destroyed in the earthquake.
Joshua had sent a team of medical and aid workers to the affected area in Haiti and also established a field hospital called “Clinique Emmanuel”.
He also assisted several groups of Nigerian returnees to settle in the country, following their attempt to enter Europe illegally.
One of his most important reconciliation efforts was his involvement in meeting the family of the late President of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with former warlord Yormie Johnson, who was responsible for Doe’s death.
The Nigerian government in recognition of his humanitarian activities, awarded him a national distinction, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2008.
The United Nations also presented him with a letter of appreciation.
The Arewa Youth Forum, a predominantly Muslim organization, recognized him as an ambassador for peace and ZAKA, Israel’s leading voluntary rescue and recovery service, awarded him an “award of excellence”.
Until his death on Saturday after one of his evening services, Joshua was married to Evelyn Joshua and had three children.
Prophet TB Joshua’s last words in public were, “Watch and pray. “” One life for Christ is all we have; one life for Christ is so dear ”.
Mr. Kunle Olowoopejo, executive chairman of the Egbe-Idimu Local Council (LCDA) Development Zone in Lagos, described TB Joshua as a comprehensive definition of what humanity should be.
According to him, he was generous and no matter your color, ethnicity, tribe, language or religion to which you belong, his hands of camaraderie have no limits and that is why young and old continue to repeat “Alaanu Mekunnu lo”.
According to the Synagogue Church, Prophet TB Joshua left a legacy of service and sacrifice to the kingdom of God that will continue to live on for generations to come. (NAA)
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