ON Friday, June 12, 2015, when thousands of Africans from more than 10 nations gathered in South Africa to celebrate the 52nd birthday of General Overseer and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, famously addressed as T. B. Joshua, many expected that the popular seer, being the celebrant, would storm the event with his entourage from Nigeria. But their expectation was dashed as the Arigidi Akoko, Ondo born clergy was conspicuously absent from the occasion.
The event held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, South Africa was tagged, A Celebration of Love, in reference to Joshua’s popular slogan, Let Love Lead.
Joshua’s absence from the colourful gig remains an item on the lips of many both within and outside Nigeria. It was even widely rumoured that the wealthy cleric deliberately shunned the ceremony on account of the ugly incident of Friday, September 12, 2104, where a building collapsed in the church’s headquarters in Ikotun, Lagos and about 117 people died, including 84 South Africans.
However, ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, July 2, 2015, visited the church with a view to having a chat with the controversial man of God, especially on why he didn’t attend his 52nd birthday organized mainly by the relatives of the South African worshippers who lost their lives in the infamous collapse of the church’s guest house, in conjunction with the survivors of the pathetic occurrence. But our efforts were futile as he was said to be on the mountain for spiritual purpose.
One of his close aides who spoke to us under the condition of anonymity also confirmed that, adding that he’s not likely to return until after a few days.
He, however, volunteered to react on his behalf. He said, “It’s true the man of God didn’t attend the 52nd birthday organized for him in South Africa. He didn’t shun it as being bandied. He even appreciated it. I think people should understand the kind of person he is. He doesn’t like celebrating his birthday elaborately. Instead, he enjoys using the opportunity to put smiles on the faces of the needy which he actually did that day.
“Not that he was outside the country. He was on the mountain throughout for spiritual assignment. He also used the opportunity to pray for the relatives of those that died in the unfortunate incident of Friday, September 12, 2014. Even to tell you the truth, he’s still mourning their death. He even labeled them martyrs of faith. Prophet T. B. Joshua has no problem with South Africa and the families of the deceased. So, he couldn’t have deliberately ignored the event that was meant to celebrate him.
“Another thing is that the prophet is not even happy about the way the issue of the coroner’s inquest is being handled. They should have known he couldn’t have lied.”
– TADE ASIFAT