President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday led other dignitaries, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, and Governors Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, to mourn the founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua.
A statement by the SCOAN said the televangelist died on Saturday. He was 57 years old.
The statement did not give the cause of his death.
“On Saturday 5th June 2021, Prophet TB Joshua spoke during the Emmanuel TV Partners Meeting: “Time for everything – time to come here for prayer and time to return home after the service.
“God has taken His servant, Prophet TB Joshua home – as it should be by divine will. His last moments on earth were spent in the service of God. This is what he was born for, lived for and died for,” the church said.
The news of the death of Joshua was met with shock and disbelief. When REPORTERS arrived at the church’s headquarters in Ikotun-Egbe, a suburb of Lagos, members were looking forlorn while some were crying profusely asking church workers to disprove the story.
Efforts to access the church was rebuffed by officials who blocked the entrance and denied even members entrance.
For most of those present, nothing could be more shocking as they had no inkling what was in the offing when they thronged the church yesterday seeking solutions to their problems.
The road to the church was equally crowded with people who were prevented from entering the church, among whom were those that came with the hopes of being healed of one illness or the other by the late televangelist.
Buhari, in a statement yesterday by his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Joshua would be missed by his global followers.
He commiserated with the family and members of SCOAN on the passing on of their father and founder.
He said the renowned televangelist would be missed by his followers all over the world not only for his spiritual contributions, but for touching many lives through philanthropic gestures.
He urged Joshua’s followers to take solace in the knowledge that life is not measured and defined by chronological longevity but by enduring legacies and lives touched positively.
He also condoled with the government and people of Ondo State.
Jonathan expressed sadness over the death of Joshua, describing him as a devout man of God.
In a message of condolence to his family and the SCOAN congregation, the former president said Joshua served God and humanity with passion.
Jonathan also prayed God to grant his followers across the world the strength to cope with his exit.
“I am saddened to hear about the death of Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua known as TB Joshua, the Spiritual Leader of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), at a young age of 57.
“TB Joshua was a devout man of God who served God and humanity with relentless passion. He was a man of sound doctrine, meek and faithful to his call and passion of reconciling men to God and offering hope to humanity.
“As a Christian leader, TB Joshua and his ministry exemplified Christ in faith, love and charity; positively impacting the lives of many Nigerians, Africans and millions of people across the world,” he said.
On his part, Akeredolu said he received the news of the death of Joshua with a heavy heart.
Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Richard Olatunde, described the deceased as a blessing to humanity and a great ambassador of the state.
“Undoubtedly, Pastor Joshua’s demise came as a rude shock. The pains are not mere emotional flashes; they are indeed piercing. The Ondo-born Pastor and televangelist was a philanthropist whose exit will be sorely missed by many,” he added.
Also in a statement, the traditional ruler of Joshua’s hometown, the Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Tisa Olanipekun, said the community received the sad news with grieving hearts.
He said: “The shocking event is reported to have occurred on Saturday, 5th June, following a prayer and worship session at his church. His body is believed to have been deposited in a morgue somewhere around the church. A delegation from SCOAN is presently headed for Arigidi to make an announcement and submit a factual report of the devastating incident.
“Pending receipt and confirmation of this report, I solicit the full co-operation of SCOAN church members in Nigeria and across the globe to allow the immediate family and the Arigidi community to mourn this painful loss without further distractions.
“I am hereby making a demand that his body must be preserved intact until arrangements are made to examine and/or certify the cause of his death and the body is moved to Arigidi for final burial rights to be announced at a later date.”
Fayemi has also expressed condolences on the death of Joshua.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, said he received the news of Joshua’s death as a rude shock, describing it as a major blow to the Christian community in the country.
Fayemi described the deceased as a man of God whose life and ministry impacted positively on the lives of the people.
He added that the uniqueness of his ministry also earned him large followership outside the country.
The governor said the late Joshua did not only minister to the spiritual needs of the people but to their physical and financial needs as attested to by many who found succour in his church.
Also, the Southern Senators’ Forum has described the demise of the renowned preacher as a national loss.
In a statement yesterday by the Chairman of the forum, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the lawmakers said Joshua’s evangelistic and philanthropic gesture had inscribed his name in gold.
The forum said Joshua spent over four decades serving God and that he had only answered the call to get his reward for these sacrifices in heaven.
On his part, the Aare Oona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams, described the death of Joshua as an eclipse in God’s vineyard, saying it is a rude shock.
Adams, who is a cousin of the church leader, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Aderemi, said Joshua was an Iroko tree, an abode for many souls.
“The man of God has found favour in spreading the Gospel of God through his ministry. And according to the words of God from the Bible “The Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
“It is very difficult for me to come to terms with the reality of his death. It was a rude shock and very sad. Prophet TB Joshua lived and died for God. His life was a complete definition of God’s generosity and philosophy. He was very humble, gentle and generous to a fault. His large-heartedness knows no tribe, colour, ethnic, language or religion. He was simply a winner of souls even spreading beyond the shores of Nigeria,” he stated.