T.B. Joshua @ 53: Celebrating an uncommon passion for humanity
Today, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua turns 53. But against expectations of members of his church, the man known for his humanitarian activities and tele-evangelism would mark this year’s celebration low-key, owing to what the church is currently passing through.
However, since joining the golden age, the cleric, an epitome of love and humility, has invested more into charity; empowering the less privileged from different communities to fend for themselves and to contribute their quotas to their communities.
Apart from his healing and deliverance gifts, Prophet T.B. Joshua, the General Overseer of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) walks tall in many aspects of human endeavour. His life story is a demonstration of God’s ability to use the foolish things of life to confound the wise. With just primary school education, the man generally refers to as T. B. Joshua has established himself, rising from grass to grace, to head a church whose converts runs into several millions across the globe.
He has become a beacon of hope to many and a force to reckon with in God’s vineyard. His Church, SCOAN, located in Ikotun-Egbe, a suburb in Lagos, has continued to attract visitors from different parts of the globe. Tens of thousands of visitors from across the world have continued to throng the place in search of spiritual succour.
While some people wonder how a man of modest educational background could have such following, Joshua has consistently maintained that it is unnecessary to join issues with the world; instead he attributes success in the ministry to the glory of God, saying, when one loves God and do good, good will follow the person.
As an agent of change, Joshua’s presence in Ikotun- Egbe remains noble. In fact, some people have built an economy around his church, to the extent that landlords let out their houses for various sums for visitors to stay. And small businesses, including transportation, hotels and others into services, find the environ a safe haven to operate.
Though of late, business has nosedived in the area, owing to the church’s collapsed building, which has necessitated a court action, the impact of the church is still tremendous.
Known for helping the needy, which is not only limited to his church members, the tele-evangelist has maintained his calm amid the different challenges his church is passing through. Even, when some labour and concerned groups recently staged a protest against government for its stand on the collapsed building, Joshua called for peace. He urged anybody fighting for his cause to do so under the law. He holds the view that when one loves he/she would not hurt his/her neighbour(s).
Speaking on love, he says, “ true love always searches for whom to help whenever and wherever it is in a position to do so.” In the last two years, Joshua has received different awards both national and international in recognition of his philanthropy. Last year, an American-based research organisation – www.Ranker.com —- ranked him among the most famous prophets in history. According to the organisation, the ranking was based on votes received from over 250 million people across the globe. Among a total number of 71 prophets named, T.B. Joshua numbers 13 and first in Africa, followed by the late Joseph Ayo Babalola, who occupies number 32 and second in Africa. Only these two prophets were named from Africa.
Aside this, other international and local organisations have given him different categories of awards. Notably among this, is the
Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008 and the Yoruba Man Of The Decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet, Irohin Odua. He was recognised as one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines, The Africa Report and New African apart from being listed among world’s most famous prophets.
Coming from a very poor family, Joshua was determined to excel in life and help others become somebody in life. With this, he engaged in different menial jobs in Lagos, before he was called into the vineyard.
BORN on June 12, 1963, in the rustic village of Arigidi in Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria, Joshua is said to have spent 15 months in his mother’s womb. His birth and early development is said to be shrouded in mysteries, especially, after he narrowly escaped death, when a boulder from a nearby quarry crashed inches near him in his parents’ house. The name ‘Temitope’, meaning “What God has done for me is worthy of thanks,” was not just adopted as a mere name.
Though, he attended St. Stephens’ Anglican Primary School, Arigidi, he could not complete his secondary school education because his parents were poor.
But while in primary school, he was referred to as Small Pastor and led evangelical activities. Growing up, he dreamt of becoming a soldier, joining the Nigerian Army, but that ambition died in the dreamland, after the train taking him to then Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, developed a fault on its way and left the then young Joshua stranded for six days. This delay made him lose out of the training.