[The Concourse] POSTMORTEM: TB Joshua’s death and the convenience of defamation
POSTMORTEM: TB Joshua’s death and the convenience of defamation
“Do you believe this man is from God? Whether he is from God, I do not know, but all I know is that he made me well.”
– Jn. 9:25.
While Nigerians were still trying to reconcile in their heads the ban on Tweeter operation in Nigeria in this 21st century by President Buhari, something akin to unidentified flying object (UFO) hit our information superhighway on June 5, 2021. It was uncontemplated, because without prior information about his health, the news of the death of Founder of Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) Temitope Balogun Joshua popularly known as Prophet TB Joshua hit the cyberspace with jolted palpitations which inundated the public domain with dismal whimpering.
The news caught his followers in utter disbelief. Reports said he presided over a church service session the previous day. He didn’t report sick. But barely 10 hours later, he was dead! That reality was unsavory. But that is not the crux of this discourse. What followed afterwards is.
Amidst the fury and cries of agony, wriggled out a traduced unsympathetic song of calumny — a repudiatory campaign to asperse his personality. Before 4pm that day, all the sympathies expended and reserved for the departed pastor were getting diluted. Another unsolicited imagery of his, were created by ‘holier-than-thou’ christians. Allegations of his unscrupulous behaviours contemptuous of men of God were brought to the fore, by people whose aim was indecipherable.
Pastor TB was summarily dismissed as a decoy in christian garb working for nether spirits, with diabolical powers worse than Babalawos’. He was said to have been deploying paganistic gestures, manipulative forces and crude magical powers in his healing ministry. At twilight of the next day, the grouse of his transducers has embalmed and qualified him for the hottest part of hell fire. And it was getting worse by the minute.
Who is this TB Joshua, you may ask.
He was an obscuredly middle-aged Yoruba man from Ondo state, who took the world by surprise in early 2000s when SCOAN which he established in 1987, became the most patronized pentecostal christian church in Africa.
According to Wikipedia:
“Temitope Balogun Joshua (12 June 1963 – 5 June 2021) was a Nigerian charismatic pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist. He was the leader and founder of SCOAN, a Christian megachurch that runs the Emmanuel TV station from Lagos.
Joshua was widely known across Africa and Latin America and had a large social media presence with 3,500,000 fans on Facebook. His YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, had over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers and was the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform before it was suspended in 2021. He was described by media outlets as the “Oprah of Evangelism” and “YouTube’s most popular Pastor”.
Joshua was awarded various accolades, notably receiving the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008 and being voted the Yoruba man of the decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet Irohin-Odua. He was called one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines The Africa Report and New African Magazine.
As of 2011, according to Forbes, Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor, although the claim was immediately denied in a statement by the church. He was known to be controversial, and was even ‘blacklisted’ by the government of Cameroon in 2010.”
Although TB was mired in few controversies domestically, like his contemporaries, he was humble and tried to maintain low profile that befits a true pastor of souls.
It was this man that suddenly became the S.I unit of evil by the reckoning of people who parade the social media milieu as acolytes of God’s judgement throne. It begs the question: where is our Africanness? where is our humanity? where is our conscience as christians? Why choose now that he is gone to reel out his ‘unpardonable’ sins? What do we gain in defaming the dead?
I am not his admirer, neither do I subscribe to his church. But those whose forte it is to malign the persona of the dead should be refuted.
TB died and suddenly they became busy in their art again. They put up all kinds of defamatory writeups to drag his name and dignity as a man to the mud. All those allegations were unsubstantiated. But the seemingly unanimous silence, and ‘programmed’ decision of other penticostal church founders/pastors not to send condolence messages or mourning remarks to his church and family leaves much to be desired.
Even if everything about the man is evil, at least his philanthropic nature, his humility, his ability to manage fame and modesty of living are all virtues worthy of emulation.
Another thing is that we should stop narrowing the gate of heaven to accommodate only those who fit into the ephemerality of our mundane convictions. The nugget that “the voice of man is the voice of God” does not mean that whoever we billed for hell, must go there. We don’t define the type of punishment God gives to men who ‘offend’ him. Neither do we determine how God visits justice on those we accuse of sinful acts. Such mindset is vindictively paganistic.
The decision on who merits heaven or fits hell fire is still God’s not humans’ to make. Pastor Joshua has paid his dues, touched lives and gave nations hope. His departure is a gap that gapes at the centre of human chronology.
Like our opening quote taught: this is not the right time to judge whether TB Joshua was a holy man of God or not. What is important is that he helped the poor, succoured the afflicted, took care of the sick, clothed the naked and fed the hungry. Every other thing is God’s call to make. But he will be dearly missed by many especially his beneficiaries.
May daylight spare us and may his soul gain the reward of eternal repose in heaven through the mercy of God.
✍Eze Jude O.