Leaders of various Christian denominations in Nigeria were conspicuously missing as the Founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, aka TB Joshua, was laid to rest on Friday, July 9, 2021.
Equally important, Nollywood star actor and producer, Femi Branch, who spoke during the funeral, blasted the Church leaders; even as he railed at them for their lack of humaneness in what was an apparent reaction to their decision to stay away from the funeral.
‘‘I am not here to mourn TB Joshua…Instead, I am here to mourn a nation that failed to appreciate a jewel it had before it was taken away…I am here to mourn the Church for their lack of humaneness, humility and love,’’ he declared.
1st News reports that the funeral attracted prominent Nigerians from all walks of life including politicians, Nollywood actors, footballers and a huge sprinkling of foreigners.
Among the dignitaries who stormed the hustling and bustling town of Ikotun, Lagos, on Friday for the ceremony was Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr Olarewaju Elegushi; Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation; the Aare Oona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams; wife of the Ooni of Ife, Olori Naomi Adeyeye and High Chief Bibopere Ajube, among others.
Also, leading international gospel singers, Shirley Murdock and Byron Cage, were among those that performed at the funeral.
However, the rest of Christendom in Nigeria remained surprisingly aloof from the proceedings.
Although the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) sent a delegation, prominent Nigerian pastors all stayed away from the funeral. The list of top pastors that failed to show up or send representatives to pay their last respects to TB Joshua include Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG); Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church also known as Winners Chapel; Paul Enenche of Dunamis Church; Apostle John Suleiman of Omega Fire Ministries; Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar; W.F Kumuyi of Deeper Life Church; Lazarus Mouka of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Church; Pastor Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church International Ministries; Pastor Tunde Bakare of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly), and Matthew Ashimolowo of of Kingsway International Christian Centre, among many others.
1st News reports that most of the dignitaries present also poured encomiums on the departed Synagogue leader.
Fani-Kayode recounted how TB Joshua had reached out to him while he was in prison in 2016.
“I know of at least eight people that Prophet TB Joshua prayed into power. He had friends everywhere and many loved him.”
“When I was in Kuje cell in 2016, TB Joshua called me and told me that I was going to be released from the cell in three days.
“Before then I had never had any encounter with him, we had never met or spoken before. True to his words, three days later, I was released. Since then, I have never returned back to the cell and I will never return,” he said.
A philanthropist who was credited for helping many and touching lives in Nigeria and around the world; TB Joshua died on July 5, 2021, a week to his 58th birthday. The popular preacher was a popular figure whose ministry attracted world leaders; while tens of thousands of people also attended his weekly services.
He left behind his wife of 31 years, Evelyn Joshua and three children.