It was Jesus Christ himself who said that a prophet is not without honour except in his own country and among his own people. In this context, JOHN SILAS and ANTHONY NWACHUKWU take a perspective look at some of the issues that had made Prophet TB Joshua an iroko among several distinguished personalities. They opine that although TB Joshua is seen and treated like every other ordinary Nigerian, he is highly revered and literally worshipped abroad.
Indices such as intellectual, financial or spiritual attainments, etc, have often separated some men from their contemporaries. But, beyond these lies the level of humility exhibited by a few of the highly gifted. And Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua (simply shortened to TB Joshua) is highly benevolently so endowed.
Expectedly, people often count God’s blessings based on exotic and expensive automobiles, private jets, palatial and luxurious mansions, including assorted ensembles available to an individual. TB Joshua has more than enough of all these but that is beside the point.
Of course, most people who found themselves in this privileged category see themselves “super-human beings” and scrupulously flaunt their wealth even in irritating manner. This is where Prophet TB Joshua make an exemplary difference. He is stupendously wealthy, yet extremely humble. He is gifted, yet chose to remain ordinary. He prefers to clad himself in humanitarian essence, pursuing his ministry with such godly favour. TB Joshua is so loud in charity that even at 53, he seamlessly epitomises deep humanitarian acts with his ministry of the Word, ecclesiastically portrayed in unparalleled healing prowess.
The Ondo State-born televangelist cum philanthropist, founder and General Pastor of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) has continued to soar in popularity well beyond Nigeria, Africa, up to Europe, Asia, America and the Oceania. He uses his Lagos-based Emmanuel TV (presently Africa’s largest Christian television network) to spread the Word and extend God’s bounteous mercies to humanity through healing.
Complementing this medium is his ubiquitous online presence, which has stretched to more than 2.5 million Facebook fans and over 500,000 YouTube subscribers, making him YouTube’s “most popular pastor,” with over 300 million viewers.
Behind this soaring personality, apart from his primary mission of evangelising Christ Jesus, the Saviour and Redeemer, through his preaching and miracles, is the charity work spreading rapidly across the world.
It is of particular interest and The AUTHORITY confirms that wherever there is large-scale humanitarian need, and where misery and suffering exist, TB Joshua is always there to lend a helping hand. According to the revered man of God, the mission was handed down to him in a vision in which he received God’s anointing and covenant to start the ministry, which took off with only eight members.
That vision could equally be linked with the unusualness of his birth, said to have been prophesied 100 years before his delivery. It was also said that instead of 9 months, TB Joshua spent 15 months in the womb, and also escaped death by the whiskers when a quarry explosion sent rock sharpnel to their residence just seven days after his birth and the family miraculously escaped death.
Somehow, humanity is not completely oblivious of the good works of this distinguished Nigerian, having been bestowed with the national honour of the “Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)” in 2008. He also received commendation letter from the United Nations; an “Award of Excellence” by Israel’s Rescue and Recovery Voluntary Service, ZAKA. TB Joshua is also a recipient of the Arewa Youth Forum Ambassador of Peace award.
There was also the symbolic “Key to the City” of Lima, Peru, handed over to him on September 24, 2016, by the Mayor of La Victoria, Cuba Bautista, “In Acknowledgement of Your Outstanding Works”. The honour was bestowed on him after he conducted a crusade at the Estadio Monumental Stadium in Peru, said to have been attended by over 500,000 persons.
In addition to these accolades, the President of the Generals, Admirals and Officers of the Peruvian Armed Forces, Gen. Juan Gonzales Sandoval, presented him with the “Medal of Honour”, the country’s highest military distinction honour. Sandoval stated the award is “a very special decoration to the most highly distinguished people, which our national police and nation bestow”.
It is noteworthy to state that at one of his crusades in Columbia, he donated $100,000 and assorted materials to the Columbian National Metropolitan Police Force in aid of the widowed, orphaned or wounded and the downtrodden particularly in Cali.
Not done yet, he also donated to the homeless in Colorado, United Stated, as well as to people in social isolation in Southampton, United Kingdom, Russia (winter relief for the homeless in frigid weather), and cascaded South Koreans, Singaporeans and similar people in Indonesia, Australia. These were beside the donations, clinic and relief materials he sent to Haiti after the devastating earthquake in the Latin American country, as well as donations sent to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak. TB Joshua equally extended humanitarian gestures to Mexico (community support in Chiapas), Pakistan (schools in Lahore), and Indonesia ($10,000 donation to charity home), among others.
In the West African Sub-region, he is not lacking at all. In nearby Ghana, he donated $140,000 worth of vehicles to the Ghana Police Service, consisting of three brand new police escort vans and 20 brand new police motorcycles with helmets in aid of security operations.
And in Nigeria, Ikotun, once an unknown slum, has long become a tourist haven, beginning with the imposing church building and adjoining construction site, including the guest houses.
Though the church is said to be a cornucopia of everything, there is no gainsaying that the neighbourhood have immensely benefited spiritually, socially, economically and academically from the generosity of the founder. A recent visitor would marvel at the transformation of the once slum area through rehabilitated roads, remodelled buildings (residential and commercial, a good number of which have been transformed into hotels, fast food outlets and sundry business outfits), among other facilities that now cater for the needs of visitors and worshippers, both local and foreign.
The founder’s philanthropy is legendry and epitomises an extensive ring of worldwide humanitarian activities which Forbes estimated at over $20 million, spent in cash and kind, handed out to orphans, orphanages, widows, physically-challenged, destitute, elderly, homeless, private and public institutions, scholarships, rehabilitation works and community development programmes, not exclusing different kinds of empowerment programmes at home and abroad.
It is noteworthy that SCOAN, with an estimated two million tourists yearly, has pushed many Nigeria’s purpose-built luxury tourism centres behind and has become West Africa’s most visited destination. This is corroborated by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), which revealed that about six of every 10 foreigners to Nigeria are SCOAN bound.
Such notable visitors included Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ghana’s former President, late John Evans Atta Mills, and Zambia’s late President, Frederick Chiluba. There were also Tanzania’s President, John Magufuli, Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda, Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangarai, and South Africa’s Winnie Mandela.
As with his philanthropy, the attraction included his reported divine healings, which pulls hundreds of aid-seekers each week to his prayer lines. It is also apt to mention that My People FC, which Joshua established in 2009, produced two Golden Eaglets key footballers that featured in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup: Sani Emmanuel, and Ogenyi Onazi.
Although there is no basis for comparison, but it is instructive to state that TB Joshua towers in fame and philanthropy above his peers and contemporaries. Since Nigeria desperately needs foreign exchange to bail the economy out of recession; this Prophet could be a ready ally for quick fixes and extensive national revenue mobilisation through religious tourism. Can’t we embrace this golden opportunity?