By Uche Amunike
On the morning of 5th June 2021, the world woke up to the news that the charismatic pastor and founder of the Synagogue Church of all Nations was dead. People thought it was mere rumour. I personally didn’t believe it. However, before the end of the same day, his media handlers had released a statement confirming that he was really dead.
TB Joshua, whose real name is Temitope Balogun Joshua is one pastor I always admired right from when I started watching his popular Emmanuel TV back in the days. I remember that one thing I really loved about him was his philanthropy and humility.
I always saw him giving and giving and giving. It was either he was building houses for widows and their children or he was sharing hundreds of bags of rice and other food items to people, or he was visiting old people in their homes with his church members and making them feel loved and appreciated.
I remember vividly when I used to watch that program. That’s where you will see a good-looking young lady who is well dressed snuggling up to an old dirty looking person in a shabby home. They always made those people feel good, feel loved and feel accepted in society.
That was TB Joshua for you. His works of Mercy was so impressionable that I always wondered what manner of man he was. TB Joshua showed a true example of Christ in faith, love and charity. He positively impacted the lives of many Nigerians, Africans and millions of people across the world.
He was just exceptional. The remarkable thing was that he helped even people that were not his flock. To him, it didn’t matter if you were Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, or Presbyterian.
He didn’t care. He simply believed in Christ. He believed in the Gospel of Christ. He also preached it like it should be preached…in the most simple terms!
A lot of controversy has shrouded this man of God. Some say he’s occultic. Some say his powers are not from God. Some say he’s a fake prophet. I personally say that he is a humble gentleman that has added so much value to the lives of millions of people the world over.
That’s pretty much my yardstick for measuring a good Christian, prophet or not! As you all know, our people love to ignore positivity and celebrate negativity. I don’t understand the reason why but I will always choose positivity over negativity.
I cannot overlook all the good things being done by this gentleman when he was alive and start digging for dirt now that he’s gone. It doesn’t make sense to me. Most of the things that happened to him are still things that would have happened to anybody, prophet or not.
He was not a superman. Just human, with blood running in his veins. So, when people look at you and see that you’re doing well and still prefer to dig up bad stuff about you, then it’s not okay by any standards. The major controversy I remember was the incident that cost him lots of members. It was in 2014, when a guest house within the premises of his church collapsed.
115 people died, including 84 South Africans. These were worshippers attending a gathering by the prophet when the incident happened. However, T.B. Joshua referred to reports surrounding the incident as “persecution” and “propaganda”.
Rescue workers said the building may have collapsed as a result of the construction of additional storeys without reinforcing the foundations. However, Joshua blamed the incident on a small plane that had been circling over the building before it came crashing down on Friday 12 September and suggested it was an attempt on his life.
This didn’t go down well with a lot of people. They saw it as an intentional act and I wondered why anybody will make himself lose property worth millions and also lose credibility in the eyes of his followers intentionally, for whatever reason. It just didn’t make sense to me.
So, I never ever bought that idea that it was intentional. I know there is a possibility that the building collapsed because like some of them pointed out, the structure wasn’t strong enough for him to add new buildings or new wings. That is understandable.
That is possible. But saying that he intentionally made the building collapse so that people will die because he was occultic? That was way too much for me to accept. A whole lot of crap! It was that situation that formed the main controversy around him in that year. It actually made him lose so many followers but with time, his fellowship increased even more.
As for the very popular Emmanuel TV, T.B Joshua launched Emmanuel TV in 2006 after the Nigerian government banned the advertisement of ‘unverifiable’ miracle healing on television.
According to T.B Joshua, the ban by the Nigerian government was targeted at him.
However, In April 2021, YouTube also suspended the Emmanuel TV channel from its platform.
T.B Joshua was accused of hate speech after his church posted one deliverance video where he claimed to have delivered a man from gay spirit. Later, Facebook also removed all the videos where he claimed to have delivered some persons from ‘gay spirit’. Moreover, despite the challenges,
T.B Joshua was still regarded as the “Oprah of Evangelism” and “YouTube’s most popular Pastor even till his death! He was known for his popularity across Africa and Latin America. He has over 3,500,000 fans on Facebook and his YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, had over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers and was the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform before it was suspended.
As of 2011, according to Forbes, Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor. Although he denied it. T.B. Joshua was also known for his philotrophical acts. He donated over N26m towards restoring electricity and putting an end to over two years of power outage in four councils in Akoko area of Ondo State. The cleric has additionally made several large donations to the police force in Nigeria, Ghana and Colombia.
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’. He additionally sent support to nations such as Philippines, India and Ghana in the wake of varying natural disasters.The ‘Emmanuel TV Team’ also assisted victims of the earthquake that struck the nation of Ecuador in April 2016, providing over $500,000 worth of humanitarian aid.
Joshua funded the building and running of a school in Lahore, Pakistan named ‘Emmanuel School’. He also rebuilt a school in a rural area destroyed by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake, travelling to Ecuador for the opening of the school in June 2017
In 2009, Joshua started a football club, My People FC, as part of efforts to help the youth.
His life was impactful, meeting the needs of millions of people worldwide.
It’s a pity that he died at just 57. He left really early and he left behind a legacy of sacrifice, love for the work of God, humanitarian service to the world at large and philanthropy if there’s one thing I will keep loving about his memory, it’s his humility. It was unsurpassed.
I remember when the federal government decorated him as officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR). I don’t remember what year it happened, but what I do remember is the fact that it didn’t look like it was a big deal to him. It is a very big honour for any Nigerian which was why Nigerians were shocked when his wife came to receive it on his behalf.
When he was eventually interviewed he said he was busy at his Ministry. So many Nigerians who find themselves in those shoes would have made a big deal out of it. Some will even go with their own entourage and invite their entire Village for show.
Remember, such a national honour is not something that happens in someone’s life everyday. It can only be a man filled with a humble personality like TB Joshua, that could be that nonchalant about an honour as dignifying as that.
Oh well, everything has its time and season, according to the book of Ecclesiastes. There is a time to be born and a time to die. I gathered that he died after his usual Saturday service. Interestingly, his last words were: ‘There is a time for everything. Time to come here for prayer and time to return home after service.’
I can only wish him a peaceful repose and pray that his family let’s his legacies of love, sacrifice and philanthropy live on. I also pray that God consoles his entire family, friends and flock both here in Nigeria and the world over.