HEADLINE | Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2021
The atmosphere was tense. Solemn. The hitherto hymns and songs choir were silent when The Guardian visited the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN). Everything showed that the 'man' in synagogue was no longer around. The man liked music but the music around was not the kind to wake him up.
Instead the church has opened condolence registers to commiserate with the church over the death of its founder, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, who passed on last Saturday.
People were seen in groups discussing the sudden death of the man of God while others queued to write their names in the condolence registers at the two major entrances leading to the church auditorium.
Among the dignitaries that visited is professional musician and businessman, Dr. Teemac Omatshola Iseli, who said he was T. B. Joshua's friend for many years and even attended his church services regularly for 12 years.
He told The Guardian one incident that really drew him closer to T. B. Joshua and that was when the Abia State Government that was supposed to organise a heavyweight championship fight for Ultimate Commander Osita Offor disappointed them. He said he immediately called Prophet T. B. Joshua, who asked him to bring his team to Synagogue Church, which he did.
Speaking further, Dr. Iseli narrated how it happened. "He helped us with huge stuff to clean the inner side arena of the National Stadium, Lagos, and paid all the expenses, hosted the fight and Ultimate became the World Heavy Weight Wrestling Champion.
"From then on, I became very close because it was that enthusiasm of selfless help that endeared me to Prophet T. B. Joshua. He had helped so many musicians, so many actors who had had health problems. I don't want to mention names, but I know there are thousands of them who are crying at the moment. I'm here at the Synagogue to give my condolences to Mrs. Evelyn Joshua, share my grief with her and tell her that the world is shocked," he said.
He added: "I spoke to Michael Jackson's brother, Marlon Jackson, yesterday, who is actually in the hospital because he had a heart attack. Marlon was crying on the phone when he heard the news. He was shocked; he sent his love to Nigerians for the terrible loss our nation has endured with the passing into glory of Prophet T. B. Joshua. History will remember him as the biggest giver Nigerian ever had; as the most powerful healer and prophet, as somebody who lived a very humble and simple life and I am a testimony to that."
Asked what could have been responsible for the untimely death of his friend of many years, Dr. Iseli warned Nigerians not to speculate, but to see Joshua's death as God's will.
He said: "Please, let's not speculate but I know that the prophet had been working very hard for 20 or more years and he hardly enjoyed any sleep. At three in the morning, he would still be in his office. At 7 or 8, he would be back there. May be the body just said, 'you need to have a good rest' or God recalled him for another assignment."
Augustine Joseph and Omokafa Magalan also spoke with The Guardian.
According to Joseph, "I have been worshipping with the church since 2012 to date. T. B. Joshua was a very kind man; loving and caring. He preached about love, and practised it and he had demonstrated same to everybody that came across his way, be you a Christian, Muslim or pagan.
"We woke up on Sunday morning to hear about the sudden death. He wasn't sick. Some of us are still in shock, to be frank with you. We didn't believe the story initially until much later. We pray that his gentle soul will rest in peace."
Magalan, a Muslim from Edo State, who resides in Ikotun-Egbe, said: "I benefitted a lot from T.B. Joshua. For instance, when my senior brother, Awala Magalan, wanted to travel to Russia to pursue his football career, he came to this church and the man of God prayed for him.
"First, he went for a Romania visa, they denied him. He went for Montenegro visa, they also denied him, but when he came here for prayer, T. B. Joshua laid his hands on him and today, he is a professional footballer.
He went to Russia and signed for one of the clubs and they are in the second division. My brother is no longer in Russia, he has moved to Israel to join another league there.
It was through Prophet T.B Joshua that my senior brother achieved his football career dream."