It has been a few weeks now that the world woke up to the staggering news of the death of the enigmatic prophet and televangelist, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). He passed away on June 5th, 2021 after he excused himself while preaching owing to some discomfort he was feeling and asked to be allowed to take a break. He entered into his private chambers to rest for a short while and that was the last time the congregation saw him alive. He was found unconscious as he slumped on a chair in the room. A couple of hours later, he was pronounced dead by doctors.
Many are still in shock, especially his followers and his people in Arigidi-Akoko. And this is understandable. If there was one person Nigerians, and indeed millions of followers of the prophet the world over expected would die so soon, it is certainly not Prophet T.B. Joshua. There was nothing about him, days before his passing, that suggested death was knocking on his door. Yet, like a thief in the night, the great stalker, death, came and took away one of Africa’s most popular and controversial prophets.
Without a doubt, Prophet T.B. Joshua was a man of God who was loved by many, especially his followers who are scattered all over the globe. He was regarded as the prophet who could heal the sick and revive the dying. From all over the world, Asians, South Americans, Americans, Europeans, Africans, thousands embraced Prophet T.B. Joshua and followed the doctrines of his church to the letter. They all loved him to bits and it is said among his followers that if death was a bullet, and they had seen it coming, many of his followers would’ve taken the bullet for him, preferring to die instead of their beloved prophet. That was how much he was loved and revered by everyone.
But one group of people that will also miss late TB Joshua sorely are the people of Arigidi-Akoko and their Oba the Zaki, Oba Yisa Olanipekun. This is because the late televangelist and renowned prophet has been of immense help to them. Even though the late TB Joshua was from Arigidi, he extended his philanthropic gestures and spread his milk of human kindness beyond Arigidi. Many towns in Ondo State, including Akoko, have all benefitted from his large heart. Nearly everywhere you turn in Ondo State, you would be shown one community project or the other made possible by the late compassionate man of God. From the tarred roads he undertook by himself and completed to rehabilitated schools, TB Joshua put smiles on the faces of the people. He was a man who believed clearly that his immense wealth would be of no significance if he couldn’t share it with the needy and downtrodden in the society.
Reports coming from Arigidi-Akoko and environs reveal that the aged, the widows and the sick and abandoned ones in the communities are all in grief. They are mourning the loss of an illustrious son of the land. They are mourning a man who represented hope and faith to them. TB Joshua was the man who gave them a reason to go on and the belief that tomorrow holds a better day for them.
It is said that every two months, the late TB Joshua would send truck loads of rice, groundnut oil and other food stuff to his home town to be dispatched to all the neighbouring communities. Not only that, he would also arrange envelopes of monies for them to keep body and soul together. Everyone, including traditional rulers, chiefs, retired civil servants, school children, the unemployed youths, all benefitted from the large heart of TB Joshua. This explains why the community looked forward to having the remains of their son brought back home to them and a befitting spot given to the family as his final resting place. Even the Zaki of Arigidi-Akoko sent a stern message to the late televangelist’s family that their son must not be buried in Lagos, that his remains should be brought back to them in the community where, they argued, should be his final resting place. But his family reportedly kicked against the idea, they insisted the late man of God will be buried in his church.
But it was not quite as straight forward as that. According to an inside source who spoke to City People on the condition of anonymity, the late TB Joshua’s family had to raise a powerful delegation of some of the church’s elders who traveled to Arigidi Akoko to meet with the Zaki and elders of the community to plead with them to allow them bury their father and leader right inside the church in Lagos. They argued that if the remains of the late prophet are buried outside the church, the consequences of this is that, within a short while, the Synagogue will become history. For the church to remain strong and relevant years after the death of the prophet, he must be buried in the church where his followers can come and not only pay their final respect to him but also have some form of contact with him. Insiders reveal that some sort of mausoleum would be built for the prophet where people can go in and pray to their spiritual father. Without his remains buried in the church, no matter how good whoever is taking over the pastorial and leadership duties will be, the church would soon become desolate as members would begin to leave the church in droves, seeing that there is nothing in the church that indicates that the spirit of their beloved founder and leader is still very much with them in the church. Left without any other choice, the Zaki and the kinsmen of the late prophet saw reasons with the delegation from the church and succumbed to the demand of the family.
Reports emanating from the Synagogue indicate that the final burial plans of the renowned man of God have been concluded. After all of the controversies trailing his burial and the questions that arose as to whether he would be buried in Lagos or in his hometown of Arigidi- Akoko, it has been finally agreed that he will be buried in his church in Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, on July 9th next month. Both the family and followers of the late prophet have been ecstatic ever since this contentious matter was laid to rest. Now, they can all look forward to giving their father and spiritual leader the befitting burial that he so thoroughly deserves.
– WALE LAWAL