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Synagogue Joshua, a 57-year-old Nigerian preacher, televangelist, philanthropist, leader, and founder of The, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), died on June 5, 2021.

By Adeniyi Onaara

Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua’s last notable words, spoken during the Emmanuel TV Partners Meeting on Saturday, were, “Time for everything — time to come here for prayer and time to return home after the service.”

Joshua, a 57-year-old Nigerian preacher, televangelist, philanthropist, leader, and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), died on June 5, 2021.

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The reason of death had not yet been revealed.

Prophet TB Joshua, as he was known, was one of the most controversial and “enigmatic” Nigerian pastors of our time, notably because of his preaching style and record of miracles.

Joshua, who was born in Ondo State, Nigeria, on June 12, 1963, reportedly spent 15 months in his mother’s womb before being born.

Joshua attended St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School, according to the SCOAN website (Ikare-Akoko, Nigeria, 1971-1977).

Before leaving to work on a chicken farm, he had barely completed one year of secondary school.

He was known as the’small pastor’ at school because of his love for the scriptures and ability to foresee events in his community; he was also believed to have been the leader of the ‘Scripture Union’ while in school.

He had taught children in evening sessions and worked odd jobs until receiving a revelation to start a ministry while fasting for 40 days.

With only a few members, TB Joshua launched the Synagogue, Church of All Nations under the bridge that connects Ejigbo and Egbe in Lagos State in 1987.

Within and outside of Nigeria, Africa, and Latin America, the church expanded to have a huge number of members.

Later, he launched the Emmanuel TV television station in Lagos, which has a large audience, especially because it is broadcast on cable television.

TB Joshua was a well-known philanthropist who was recognized for assisting the poor and sponsoring individuals.

‘My People FC’, a football club he started in 2009, was part of his efforts to help the youth and two members of the team, Sani Emmanuel and Ogenyi Onazi, played for Nigeria Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Also, three players of the club were sponsored abroad to play professional football for Sweden.

The WBO International Light Middleweight boxing champion King, Davidson Emenogu, had said that Joshua financially supported him throughout his career.

A man of many clouts, Forbes in 2011 wrote that Joshua was the third-richest pastor in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of between $10 million and $15 million.

He was so popular that Wikipedia documented his social media presence to be massive with no fewer than 3.5 million fans on Facebook.

“His YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, has over one million YouTube subscribers.

“He was the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform before it was suspended.

“He was described as the “Oprah of Evangelism” and “YouTube’s most popular Pastor”.

Like many influential men, TB Joshua was not without controversies.

On Sept 12, 2014, a guesthouse collapsed in the SCOAN’s premises in Lagos, killing no fewer than 115 people.

Speculations continued to trail the circumstances that led to the collapse, with the former Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, alleging that “Nigeria’s intelligence agencies ‘blew up’ the building’’.

Also, his relationship with other clerics was not smooth and it was publicly criticised.

The public also questioned the miracles that occurred in his church.

Yet, TB Joshua was unperturbed and in a 2006 book, “The Mirror”, he said: “Whatever I am today is a product of the conviction that victory through Christ Jesus is victory indeed”; “The rest is history.”

Nevertheless, Joshua made an impact in education, healthcare, peace and reconciliation, among others.

A Forbes blogger said that it was estimated that Joshua spent $20 million on “education, healthcare and rehabilitation programmes for former Niger Delta militants”

He was receptive to repentant persons who cut across all walks of life including rehabilitation of repentant militants, armed robbers and sex workers who came to the church for ‘deliverance’.

The SCOAN has a scholarship programme that sponsors many students in the primary, secondary and even tertiary institutions.

In 2012, it was widely reported that Joshua sponsored a Nigerian student doing a Ph.D. in the U.K.

His humanitarian relief involvement was outstanding as Joshua supported efforts in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and April 2016 in Ecuador, where he gave humanitarian aid worth over $500,000.

In Ecuador, he funded the rebuilding of a rural school destroyed during the earthquake.

Joshua had sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area in Haiti and also instituted a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’.

He also supported several groups of Nigerian returnees to settle back into the country, following their attempt to travel illegally to Europe.

One of his most significant reconciliatory efforts was his involvement in the meeting of the family of the late President of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with the former warlord Yormie Johnson, who was responsible for Doe’s death.

The Nigerian government in recognition of his humanitarian activities, gave him a National Honour, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2008.

The United Nations also gave him a letter of appreciation.

The Arewa Youth Forum, a predominantly Muslim organisation, recognised him as Ambassador of Peace and ZAKA, Israel’s primary rescue and recovery voluntary service, gave 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, the Executive Chairman, Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos, described TB Joshua as a complete definition of what humanity should be.

According to him, he was generous and no matter your colour, ethnicity, tribe, language or religion you may belong to, his hands of fellowship have no bound and that’s why both young and old keep echoing “Alaanu Mekunnu lo.”

According to the Synagogue church, Prophet TB Joshua left a legacy of service and sacrifice to God’s Kingdom of which will continue to live on for generations yet unborn. (NAN)

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