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Buhari, Jonathan, others pay tributes to TB Joshua

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  • His life and times

President Muhammadu Buhari and Fomer President Goodluck Jonathan are among prominent Nigerians that have commiserated with the family and members of the Synagogue, Church of All Nations on the passing of their father and founder, Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua.

The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, 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.

President Buhari urged Pastor 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 and prayed that God Almighty would accept the soul of the departed pastor.

Former President Jonathan also expressed sadness over the death of the spiritual leader of the Synagogue Church, describing him as a devout man of God.

In a message of condolence to his family and the SCOAN congregation, the former President noted that Joshua who died at the age of 57 served God and humanity with relentless passion.

Dr. Jonathan also prayed God to grant millions of his followers across the world the strength to cope with his exit.

 

 

 

The former President stated, “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.”

Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said the deceased was a philanthropist whose exit would be missed by many.

Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Olatunde Richard, said the renowned man of God was 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.

“He demonstrated timelessly an alluring service to humanity and compassion by assisting not only his home local government, Akoko North West. Other adjoining local governments in Akoko land benefitted from his large heart of benevolence.”

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, described Joshua’s death as an eclipse in God’s vineyard.

A statement yesterday by his media aide, Kehinde Aderemi, reads: “It is devastating to hear such sad news breaking like a wildfire. Prophet TB 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 word of God, ‘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. Prophet T.B 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, ethnicity, language or religion. He was simply a winner of souls, even spreading beyond the shores of Nigeria.

“He opened a new vista in religious tourism, and Nigeria earned a lot of foreign exchange from his accommodating spirit. With his death, there has been an eclipse in God’s vineyard.

“I pray God to grant the family, kinsmen, church and the country the fortitude to bear the loss.”

‘He attracted the highest number of tourists to Nigeria’

 

The Zaki of Arigidi, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, said the community was still in disbelief over the news of Pastor Joshua’s death.

Oba Olanipekun said people had been coming to his palace to confirm the news as well as make arrangements to travel to Lagos where he died.

“We are very sad here in Arigidi and the entire Akokoland. Joshua was a good man to everybody. He has been helping everybody,” he said.

The Chief Imam of Arigidi-Akoko, Alhaji Salisu Musa, an uncle to late T.B Joshua, said the preacher died without any prior sickness.

Many members of the Synagogue Church broke down and cried uncontrollably on Sunday in Lagos when the news came that the pastor is dead.

Some of them, who were barely able to speak, told NAN that his death was unfortunate, especially at a time the nation was in need of strong voices to unite it and entrench love and genuine spirituality.

They said that he committed his time on earth to serve God and humanity.

Others, amidst tears, wondered what their lives would be like, in his absence, as he was their saviour in time of material need and in prayer.

The man and his ways

The late TB Joshua was born on June 12, 1963 in Ondo State. He was said to have stayed 15 months in his mother’s womb before he was given birth to.

According to the SCOAN website, Joshua attended the St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School (Ikare-Akoko, Nigeria, 1971-1977).

He had only one year of secondary education before he left to work on a poultry farm.

While in school, he was known as a ‘small pastor’ because of his love for the scriptures and gift to predict things that would happen in his community; he was also said to have been the leader of ‘Scripture Union’ while in school.

He had taught children at evening classes and done some menial jobs before he had a revelation to set up a ministry while on a 40-day fast.

In 1987, TB Joshua founded the Synagogue, Church of All Nations under the bridge that links Ejigbo and Egbe in Lagos State with just a few members.

The church later grew to have a large number of members within and outside Nigeria, Africa and Latin America.

He later established the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos which has wide viewership especially as it is on cable TV.

TB Joshua was a known philanthropist and noted for helping the needy and sponsoring persons.

‘My People FC’, a football club he started in 2009, was part of his efforts to help the youth and two members of the team, Sani Emmanuel and Ogenyi Onazi, played for Nigeria Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Also, three players of the club were sponsored abroad to play professional football for Sweden.

The WBO International Light Middleweight boxing champion King, Davidson Emenogu, had said Joshua financially supported him throughout his career.

A man of many clouts, Forbes in 2011 wrote that Joshua was the third-richest pastor in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of between $10 million and $15 million.

He was so popular that Wikipedia documented his social media presence to be massive with no fewer than 3.5 million fans on Facebook.

“His YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, has over one million YouTube subscribers. He was the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform before it was suspended. He was described as the “Oprah of Evangelism” and “YouTube’s most popular Pastor”.

Like many influential men, TB Joshua was not without controversies.

On Sept 12, 2014, a guesthouse collapsed in the SCOAN’s premises in Lagos, killing no fewer than 115 people.

Speculations continued to trail the circumstances that led to the collapse, with the former Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, alleging that “Nigeria’s intelligence agencies ‘blew up the building’’.

Also, his relationship with other clerics was not smooth and it was publicly criticised. The public also questioned the miracles that occurred in his church.

Yet, TB Joshua was unperturbed and in a 2006 book, “The Mirror”, he said: “Whatever I am today is a product of the conviction that victory through Christ Jesus is victory indeed”; “The rest is history.”

Nevertheless, Joshua made an impact in education, healthcare, peace and reconciliation, among others.

A Forbes blogger said that it was estimated that Joshua spent $20 million on “education, healthcare and rehabilitation programmes for former Niger Delta militants”.

He was receptive to repentant persons who cut across all walks of life including rehabilitation of repentant militants, armed robbers and sex workers who came to the church for ‘deliverance’.

The SCOAN has a scholarship programme that sponsors many students in the primary, secondary and even tertiary institutions.

In 2012, it was widely reported that Joshua sponsored a Nigerian student doing a PhD in the UK.

His humanitarian relief involvement was outstanding as Joshua supported efforts in the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and April 2016 in Ecuador, where he gave humanitarian aid worth over $500,000.

In Ecuador, he funded the rebuilding of a rural school destroyed during the earthquake.

Joshua had sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area in Haiti and also instituted a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’.

He also supported several groups of Nigerian returnees to settle back into the country, following their attempt to travel illegally to Europe.

One of his most significant reconciliatory efforts was his involvement in the meeting of the family of the late President of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with the former warlord Yormie Johnson, who was responsible for Doe’s death.

The Nigerian government in recognition of his humanitarian activities, gave him a National Honour, Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2008.

The United Nations also gave him a letter of appreciation.

The Arewa Youth Forum, the predominantly Muslim organisation, recognised him as Ambassador of Peace and ZAKA, Israel’s primary rescue and recovery voluntary service, gave him an ‘award of excellence.

Until his death on Saturday after one of his evening services, Joshua was married to Evelyn Joshua and had three children.

Prophet TB Joshua’s last words in public were “Watch and pray.” “One life for Christ is all we have; one life for Christ is so dear”.

Mr Kunle Olowoopejo, the Executive Chairman, Egbe-Idimu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) in Lagos, described TB Joshua as a complete definition of what humanity should be.

One of the mourners kept screaming that God should have taken her, instead of Joshua.

Mrs Melinda Soares, a member of SCOAN, who came in from Seme, said “Baba”, as Joshua was fondly called by his followers, died for Nigeria.

“Baba has finally died for Nigeria! This has always been his wish. I have never seen a man of God like him. He does what he says and says what he does.

“He still said the same thing yesterday on the mountain where we went. His death is a pointer to the fact that God’s will for Nigeria is finally coming to pass,” Soares said.

Mr Perter Lucas, another member, said God took Joshua at a very early age so that, through him, there would be peace in Nigeria.

Members who came to worship but couldn’t gain access to the Church auditorium continued to praise and worship at the Church entrance.

They prayed for the repose of Joshua’s soul and prayed that God would bring him back to life.

 

-Additional reports from The Nation

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Anxiety over plans to truncate inauguration of NDDC board

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A group in the Niger Delta region has claimed that some people are desperately working to truncate the inauguration of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) raised the alarm yesterday in a statement made available to The Nation.

It would be recalled that the upper legislative chamber on 5th November 2019 screened and cleared 14 of the 15 nominees to the board of the NDDC by President Muhammadu Buhari.

But their inauguration was put on hold to allow for the completion of the comprehensive forensic audit of the Commission.

The report of the audit has since been submitted to the President on 2 September 2021.

Two weeks after submission and no talks of inauguration of members of the boards of the Commission, tongues have started wagging over plans by some powerful persons working to maintain the status quo.

The Commission has been under the control of a Sole Administrator, Effiong Akwa since December 2020.

Reacting to the rumour, the group stressed that the continuous running of the activities of the Commission by a Sole Administrator is inimical to the representation of the various stakeholders in the region and thus is totally rejected.

The group alleged that those behind the scheme are doing it for their own personal interest and not for the good of the region.

Consequently, the group urges President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency inaugurate members of the board already cleared by the senate to deescalate the agitation already going on over the issue.

The statement which was signed by Mr. Izon Ebi leader of 21st CYNDAC reads: “The 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC) have been made aware of the various underhand tactics been employed by political jobbers to truncate the inauguration of the substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.

“As critical stakeholders, we reiterate our stance that any attempt to truncate the inauguration will bid the region and the Commission no good.

“The attempt by these political jobbers to truncate the inauguration is for their political and pecuniary gains and nothing else, of what benefit will it be for the people and the region? Nobody is talking about the prosecution of people found culpable of the decades-long malfeasance, these rogues masquerading as stakeholders are only interested in planting people in the commission as a means of getting their hands on the cookie jar to fund their lifestyle.

“We use these medium to urge Mr. President to keep to his promise of cleaning the NDDC Augean stable by making the NDDC to benefit the people and the region, any attempt to allow fifth columnists to truncate the work of the forensic audit and further delay in inaugurating the substantive board will be of no benefit to the people and the region.

“The palpable restiveness and tension of the youths in the region is already being felt.  We urge Mr. President to do the needful and deescalate the tension and agitations. The 21st CYNDAC therefore use this medium to urge the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to take his redemption mission of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC to its logical conclusion by making sure that the substantive board of the commission is sworn in.

“Words on the street is that the minister is more amenable to running a one man show through the sole administrator vehicle which gives him unilateral power over the running of the Commission,  though the 21st CYNDAC are not in tandem with this submission taking cognisance of the forensic audit of the Commission which is more or less the brainchild of the Honourable Minister,  it behooves on the minister to come clean on his plans for the inauguration so as not to give charlatans an avenue to rubbish his noble objectives about the Commission to downsize the board of the Commission is inimical to the representation of the various stakeholders in the region and thus is totally rejected by the 21st century youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience  ( 21st CYNDAC  ) and other stakeholders in the region.”

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Lawyer: We have CCTV evidence of how Kanu was abducted from Kenya

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Details of a N5 billion suit filed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against the Kenyan government have hinted on the torture the IPOB leader allegedly went through in the custody of security agents in the East African country.

Kanu’s lawyer, George Wajackoyah, claimed in an audio tape that he had CCTV and other evidence of how his client was abducted in Nairobi, Kenyan capital by the Muhammadu Buhari government.

“We have copies of his passport and a stamp that he was indeed in Kenya. We also have evidence he was in his residence on a particular day.

“We also have material proof that he was at the airport on a particular day to meet a friend and there he was arrested.

“Definitely, he was kidnapped,” Wajackoyah said.

The Kenyan government had strongly denied involvement in the process that led to the arrest and repatriation of Kanu back to Nigeria, with its High Commissioner to Nigeria, Wilfred Machage, describing the claim that Kanu was arrested in the East African country as “deliberately concocted to fuel antagonistic feelings in the minds of certain sections of the Nigerian people against the people of Kenya.”

The high point of Kanu’s ugly experience, according to the law suit, was that he got his body smeared with his own urine and faeces because the security agents allegedly denied him permission to use the toilet.

The suit, which was filed in Umuahia, Abia State by Kanu’s counsel Aloy Ejimakor on September 7, revealed that Kanu was beaten severely until he fainted and was revived with cold water.

The suit is seeking to enforce Kanu’s right to life, dignity of the human person, personal liberty and fair hearing.

The affidavit in support of the originating motion, which was done by Kanu’s brother, Emmanuel, stated: “That the facts and violations deposed to in this affidavit started at the applicant’s residence in Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State; to wit; the military invasion of the applicant in September 2017 by a combined team of Ohafia-based 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, the Abia State Command of Nigeria Police Force and the Abia State Directorate of the State Security Service.”

“That it was the said invasion that nearly took the life of the applicant that caused him to seek refuge abroad which ultimately to Kenya, where the respondents lawfully pursued him, abducted him, disappeared with him and ultimately brought him to Nigeria and detained him.

“That in October 2015, the applicant was arrested in Lagos upon his return from the United Kingdom, detained in Abuja and ultimately charged for certain offences Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Nnamdi Kanu).

“That the applicant was detained for 18 months, but was later released on bail whereupon he returned to his home in Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North, Abia State, and there awaiting his next trial date set for October 2017.

“That on or about 10 September, while the applicant was resting at home with some family members and friends, the Ohafia-based Nigerian Army, police and DSS launched military invasion and assaults at the applicant’s residential building and premises.

“That in the course of the military action, 28 people were killed and several others, including the applicant, were wounded. Both of the applicant’s parents sustained grave injuries from the military invasion and both of them eventually succumbed to those injuries and are now late.

“That in the course of the invasion, the applicant managed to escape to a safe location from where he managed to flee overseas to save his life. That there was neither a court order revoking the applicant’s bail nor any arrest warrant that could have justified the deadly military assault.

“That had the President implemented the provisional measures, the applicant would have felt safe enough to voluntarily end his exile and return to Nigeria to face prosecution in the said charge under reference therein.

“That in the course of his exile, the applicant on or about May 5, 2021, entered the Republic of Kenya on his British passport and was admitted as such at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. After his admission, the applicant settled in at a temporary location in Nairobi, Kenya.”

Giving details of the alleged abduction of Kanu from the East African country as well as his ordeal at the hands of the Nigerian security operatives at a private residence where he was taken to, Emmanuel said: “That on June 19, 2021, the applicant drove himself and without any companion to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, to drop off a friend at the airport.

“That as soon as the applicant pulled to stop at the parking lot and alighted from his vehicle, about twenty respondent’s agents (hereafter abductors) violently accosted and abducted the applicant, handcuffed and blindfolded him, bundled him in a vehicle and sped away, while telling onlookers that the applicant is a “terrorist separatist.”

“That the applicant’s abductors took him to a nondescript private house (not a police station) somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya, and chained him to the floor. That while chained to the floor, the applicant’s abductors took turns to beat him torturing him to a point that he fainted several times and was intermittently revived when they poured cold water on him.

“That to prevent the applicant’s anguished screaming from being heard in the vicinity, the applicant’s abductors tied a cloth over his mouth and so close to covering his nostrils that the applicant struggled to breathe.

“That the applicant remained chained to the floor for eight days and was thus forced to relieve himself of urine and excrement where he was chained with same being smeared all over his body.”

That throughout the duration of the applicant’s captivity, he was not allowed to bathe and was fed only on bland bread once a day and given non-sanitary water to drink.”

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2023: PDP governors split over zoning

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Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, a fresh crisis is brewing in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over which zone should have its presidential ticket.

Since the party was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015 to bring its rule for 16 years to an end, it has been struggling to reclaim the presidency without success.

While the opposition party is in the process of holding an elective national convention to elect its new leaders, there are indications that the issue of zoning is tearing it apart.

For months now, there have been severe agitations as to where the presidential ticket of the party should be zoned to, with leaders and chieftains of the party, particularly from the southern part of the country, insisting that the party’s unwritten zoning arrangement be respected and the 2023 presidential ticket zoned exclusively to the South.

It is believed in many quarters that the zoning controversy is at the bottom of the storm that has been the lot of the suspended national chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus.

His alleged tacit support for a presidential aspirant from the north in spite of the clamour for power shift is believed to have won him several enemies from his home zone.

However, fresh indications have emerged that anti-zoning forces may have devised new plans to forestall the possibility of the party zoning the presidential ticket to the South.

The Nation gathered that an ongoing process towards the election of a new national chairman for the party is brewing suspicion and creating a fresh crisis within it.

Very reliable party sources said the high number of southern PDP chieftains indicating interest in the national chairmanship while no northerner is showing interest has become a source of worry for pro-zoning agitators within the PDP.

It was gathered that some prominent leaders and chieftains of the party, including governors, National Assembly members and Board of Trustees (BoT) members from the southern zones have expressed dissatisfaction with what they described as an attempt to scheme the zones out of contention for the presidential ticket.

It was also gathered that governors elected on the platform of the PDP are now divided over the zoning issue.

The Nation gathered that while some of them are now openly supporting national chairmanship aspirants from the south, others like Governor Seyi Makinde and Udom Emmanuel of Oyo and Akwa Ibom states respectively are warning that the emergence of a southerner in that position may nail any hope of the region getting the presidential ticket.

An ally of the Oyo State governor explained in a chat with our correspondent yesterday that Makinde’s position is based on his understanding of the practice in PDP.

An aide to the governor said: “A look at previous arrangements revealed that the national chairman and the presidential candidate had never emerged from the same region in the past.

“So, our governor, given his commitment to the southern presidency project, is asking his colleagues for a commitment that the chairmanship is not a bait to stop power from shifting to the South in 2023.

“He is not alone in this. There are other governors with him.”

The Nation however gathered that some other governors have recently proposed that the presidential ticket be thrown open for aspirants from all zones of the country to contest for it. “Their major arguments are that the last president the PDP produced is from the South and it may not be easy to defeat the APC with a presidential candidate from the South So, they have a plan to retain the ticket in the north,” a source claimed.

Finding by our correspondent revealed that majority of southern governors are opposed to the new plan by their colleagues from the north. “Though a couple of southern governors are now being convinced to join the anti zoning push, with offers like the vice presidency and other promises, the majority is still unrelenting in the quest for the ticket in 2023,” a party source said.

Determined to send the message clearly to their colleagues, PDP governors in the south have joined their APC colleagues to insist that the next president of the country should come from the South in 2023, in spite of indications that many of their colleagues are plotting to keep the ticket in the north.

“At the recent meeting of southern governors, PDP governors sent a very strong signal to their colleagues from the north and others opposed to zoning when they openly supported and signed the communique insisting on power shift. The implications are that PDP governors are now poised for showdown over the zoning issue,” our source said.

The Nation also gathered that members of the PDP caucus in the National Assembly are also not on the same page on the zoning issue.

Last week, the Southeast caucus of the PDP NASS met and decided that it will not be part of any arrangement that opposes the zoning of the presidential ticket to the South.

The legislators were responding to alleged moves to give the Southwest the national chairmanship in order to keep the presidential ticket in the north.

“Our position is to put it on record that the chairmanship is not the same as the presidential ticket and that those angling for the seat are not doing so on behalf of the entire south,” our source added.

As the drama continues to unfold, prominent chieftains of the party are urging the gladiators to be careful not to cause an implosion within the party. They have also been expressing fears about the chances of the party in the next general election.

A member of the PDP BoT, while speaking on the current crisis, accused some governors of trying to return the party to its troubled era.

He said: “The plot to give the Southwest the chairmanship so as to block the South from the presidential ticket will fail.

“It is an attempt to destroy the PDP and we must be careful. If PDP wants to win in 2023, we must respect zoning and give the South the ticket.

“I commend the governors that are still standing and I am sure they will prevail.”

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