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TB Joshua: A Time To Come And A Time To Leave!

The Nigerian popular televangelist, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly known as TB Joshua, the founder of the Lagos-based Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) died over the weekend in Lagos. Prophet Joshua was said to have conducted an evening service in his church and was on his way to the hospital when he died. He was said to have fallen sick two days prior. His 58th birthday was billed for June 12. His megachurch runs the popular Emmanuel TV from Lagos and viewed worldwide. Prophet Joshua was born on June 12, 1963. He hailed from Arigidi Akoko, in Akoko North West Area of Ondo State. He was married and had three children.

According to the widow, Evelyn Joshua, however, the man of miracle had spent about three long hours on the ‘mountain’ praying before mounting the pulpit for the evening worship. Ministering the gospel to the faithful the Prophet spoke prophetically about a time to come and a time to leave. And suddenly he took his leave retreating to his inner chambers.

As the woman, according to her narrative, waited for some time for her husband to re-emerge to continue the service she decided to check on him. Lo and behold she met the famous Prophet sitting on the chair like someone reflecting but unconscious! Efforts to revive him proved abortive.

It would seem that Prophet Joshua had a premonition of the grim reaper lurking by the corner going by the trending video in which he had exhorted his members to mark his upcoming birthday by praying and fasting. He had these to say: “As things stand, you may have realised it will not be easy for me to celebrate my birthday under the present circumstances. Some of the people who want to come are troubled by the situation all over the world. We see their fear and their worry. I feel their pain; I feel their worry…. Therefore, let us dedicate this day to prayer and fasting. Don’t forget the needy. By the grace of God, more birthdays are ahead. God bless you!”

According to some online reports some soldiers and other security agents had laid siege to the Synagogue edifice as if something was wrong somewhere. They were said to have molested journalists, preventing people from getting inside the temple of God. Nigeria and her security elements never ceased to amaze the outside world with their unprofessional work ethics. Why preventing legitimate people from getting into Synagogue? Or was there a search warrant or fears of looting following Joshua’s sudden demise?

Prophet TB Joshua rose from a poor parental background to become a great man. He touched lives, he empowered lives. He was controversial yet an enigma. In a nation where pentecostalism has become a billion-dollar-spinning ‘business’ Joshua made name and money for himself building the Synagogue to become one of the greatest christian organizations in Nigeria and Africa. His followers cut across regions and countries.

Scenes of melancholy could be seen on video online as his followers mourned his untimely passage to the great beyond. Men and women, old and young, were seen shedding tears and asking questions over their welfare since their benevolent ‘breadwinner’ had died. Some were even imploring God to take their lives instead and bring back Joshua!

But regrettably the stunning biblical Lazarus miracle is no longer possible in our generation post-Jesus. No mortal can boast of possessing the power wielded by Jesus the Christ when he raised the dead and buried Lazarus, his friend, from the grave. So Joshua is gone for good, never to return in flesh and blood. To those weeping we ask them to take solace in his good deeds and generosity while he lived. His pentecostal legacy would definitely outlive him from generation to generation.

The general effusion of grief towards the late prophet demonstrated his popularity and the impact he had had on the society. Yet he never endeared himself to many people in Nigeria and outside our shores. At home he was banned from membership of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). And from Kampala, Uganda came the news that the Pastor of the Christian Life Church, Jackson Senyonga, was celebrating Joshua’s death! He described him as the “biggest witch in Africa”!

Nigeria boasts of great flamboyant men of God — Bishops, Prophets, Apostles and Pastors — the Oyedepos, Okonkwos, Adeboyes, Kumuyis, Sulemans, Enenches, Oyakhilomes etc. But unlike most of these rich and material-conscious ‘servants’ of God Joshua was different in many ways. He was stupendously rich yet he lived a normal life devoid of bigmanism. He was munificient and philanthropic.

While his peers were busy buying limousines and private jets he was content living modestly. Though he possessed the financial resources to indulge in such luxurious lifestyle or fantasy he decided to be himself believing in the vanity of material possessions here on earth. Perhaps that was why he was hated by his pentecostal peers.

Read also: [OPINION] Who offended Buhari? Twitter or Nigerians?

When he began his ministry flaks and fireworks followed almost immediately because of his unconventional methods and tactics. He started off as a man of God of questionable credibility and source of spiritual power. But he ended up convincing millions of Nigerians and non-Nigerians of his healing and deliverance powers.

Prophet Joshua courted controversy as he set his eyes on the bigger picture. He began rough and tough! His physical attribute, heavily-bearded and eagle-eyed, was not only intimidating but his manner of deliverance raised questions about his possible involvement in occultism or sorcery. Initially he was alleged to have been using alligator pepper and other traditional instruments to drive away demonic spirits. He did many miracles and predicted events of the future. Some of these predictions hit their marks while others fell by the way side.

In the Holy Book we, as Christians, are admonished against proclaiming or reaching judgement on anyone since the ultimate judgement belongs to the heavenly hosts. But we dare say here that Joshua had this myth about his personality and evangelism that was as perplexing as it was interrogatory. Doubts about his staying spiritual power and his modest academic profile persisted for years even as the membership of Synagogue multiplied.

Many years ago (precisely in 1996) the late Prophet was arrested for drug peddling in Lagos by the operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and detained for two weeks. It later turned out to be false accusation as nothing incriminating was found on him or inside his church or home.

On 12 September, 2014, a guesthouse collapsed in the SCOAN’s premises in Lagos killing at least 115 people! 84 of those that perished were South Africans. This tragedy led many into believing that a blood sacrifice could have been the cause of it all! It was not the first time a building under construction had collapsed in Lagos or elsewhere in Nigeria. But what made the Synagogue building collapse more controversial was the large number of foreign victims. Litigation followed and Prophet Joshua survived the storm.

Many Nigerians outside the Synagogue family may not have known that TB Joshua’s birthday is on June 12. A greater event unfolded on June 12 1993 and it must have overshadowed the late Prophet’s birthday. On that historic day of June, the 12th, democracy was gloriously born in Nigeria but was murdered by a military gang led by Generals Ibrahim Babangida and the late Sani Abacha.

Now that another June 12 is imminently upon us we must, given the Buharian slow but steady loading absolutism, return to the trenches to defend democracy in our country. Bashorun MKO Abiola could not have died in vain while trying to actualize ‘Hope-93’.

As for Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua the parting word is instructive for us, the living: ‘A time to come and a time to leave’! That is the portion of every living carnivorous and omnivorous animal. From the cradle to the grave remains till eternity our existential reality. Prophet Joshua came, he saw and he conquered.

Fare thee well, Prophet. We grieve for you!

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Kanayo O Kanayo calls out teen actress, Angel Unigwe, mother over alleged breach of contract

Veteran Nollywood actor and producer, Kanayo O. Kanayo, has called out teen actress, Angel Unigwe, and her mother over an alleged breach of contract.

The filmmaker claimed that Unigwe breached a filming contract with his production firm after her mother came and took her home before the expiration of the duration of the contract.

He called on Nollywood producers to boycott the teen actress, threatening that he would come to disrupt any shoot involving her.

Speaking in a video message shared via his Instagram page on Friday, Kanayo said, “A particular woman has been holding producers to ransom. And this is unfortunate; it has happened to me. Unfortunately, she is Angel Unigwe’s mother. A contract is reached by every producer, whether written or orally. But we found out that immediately after this woman takes money from you, everything changes. I’ve gotten reports from people before it happened to me.

“It happened last night that she took her daughter at 9 pm, when a particular day we agreed had not expired. 12 midnight is expiring into another day. She came and took her daughter at 9 pm.

“This is a clarion call for every producer. Please, I beg you, in the name of professionalism and all that unites us, from this moment, the 21st day of June 2024, any set that employs the services of Angel Unigwe, I will come to that set and make sure filming does not hold. You guys know what it is for an artiste to walk out on a set. There was no issue. I want to assure all of you, we had very good working relationship with Angel. [But] Her mother has been threatening many producers. So please, from this moment on, I will monitor every filming schedule. Any set where I found Angel Unigwe would be disrupted.”

Angel Unigwe has not yet responded to the allegations and neither has her mother.

 

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Mohbad’s family rejects autopsy report, seeks proper investigation

The legal team representing the family of Ilerioluwa Aloba, popularly known as Mohbad has expressed dissatisfaction with the toxicology test results concerning the late singer.

The legal practitioners Wahab Shittu SAN and Taiwo Odumosu, Esq., in a press statement jointly signed, faulted the handling of the procedures, adding that it raised serious concerns about the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation by the police and the medical team into Mohbad’s death.

The family also challenged the Lagos State Government to confirm the autopsy’s authenticity because of the public’s doubts and conflicting reports.

Recalled that a US-based lab had refuted the claim by the Lagos State Government that the toxicology test was conducted at its facility.

The revelation was in response to inquiries made by our correspondent, who embarked on a fact-finding mission to ascertain the musician’s cause of death.

The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, while responding to inquiries via a live telephone call with Ahmad Isah, the anchor of an Abuja-based online programme, Brekete Family, sometime in February 2024, had said the toxicology test was being conducted at the NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, USA.

However, a pathologist, while testifying before the Coroner’s Court on May 15, revealed that an autopsy couldn’t determine Mohbad’s cause of death due to the decomposition of his body.

While citing the report, Shittu stated that the silence that followed from the government made a review of the toxicology test a necessity.

Shittu, who claimed there were discrepancies regarding the involvement of NMS Labs alleged that the letterhead and address of the facility appeared on the toxicology report despite conflicting statements from the laboratory regarding their actual role in the testing process.

He said, “We, the legal representatives of the Aloba Family, express our projfound dissatisfaction and disappointment with the recent announcement regarding the toxicology test results of the late Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, which have been declared ‘inconclusive’ by the pathologist.

“This outcome is entirely unacceptable to us and the Aloba Family and raises serious concerns about the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation by the police and the medical team into the untimely death of their beloved son, brother, and friend. The Aloba family and, indeed, the whole world demand to know where the toxicology test was carried out as this has impugned the integrity.

“Following the news report in the Punch Newspaper of 31 May 2024 titled ‘US Lab Denies Conducting Poison Test on Mohbad’ and the silence that followed from the government, a review of the toxicology test must be necessary. The legal team wonders how the letterhead and the address of the National Medical Services Laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA appeared on the toxicology test report if the test was not truly carried out in the USA.

“The legal team is puzzled more given the discrepancies in the further response given by the NMS laboratories ascribing the test to another sister laboratory.

“The conflict of interest that bothers on professional integrity. The public is interested in knowing the relationship between the Lagos State DNA and Forensic Laboratory, NMS in the USA and ITSI Biosciences who allegedly completed the toxicology test on behalf of the Lagos State government.”

While describing Mohbad as a vibrant and promising young individual whose sudden demise left an indelible void, Shittu said the declaration of the autopsy as ‘inconclusive’ failed to provide the clarity needed and undermined the public as well as his family’s faith in the investigative process.

The legal team however demanded a fresh examination of the toxicology samples by an independent and reputable forensic laboratory, ensuring transparency throughout.

The team also called for a thorough review of testing protocols to prevent procedural errors or contamination, just as it urged the involvement of international forensic experts to oversee and validate the re-examination process.

It insisted on complete transparency in sharing all findings and reports related to the toxicology tests, urging expedited efforts to re-examine the samples and deliver definitive answers promptly.

Furthermore, the legal team criticised the Nigeria Police for what they deemed insufficient effort in the investigation while calling for the intervention of the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.

“The Aloba Family remains steadfast in their pursuit of truth and justice for Ilerioluwa. They deserve clear, definitive answers regarding the cause of his death, and it is the responsibility of the investigative bodies to provide them with such clarity. The current ‘inconclusive’ results only serve to prolong their agony and uncertainty, which is both unfair and unjust.

“Considering the Coroner Inquest, we appeal to the presiding Magistrate to ensure that an independent toxicology report is submitted to the Coroner’s Court before submitting the final report to the authorities.

“Presently, we have an application before the Coroner Court seeking approval to conduct an independent autopsy and toxicology test. We call on the presiding magistrate in the matter to expedite a hearing on the independent autopsy and toxicology application. That is the only way justice can be served in this case,” the statement added.

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Chairman Evergreen music, Femi Esho dies at 77

Legendary music promoter and Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen Musical Company Limited, Femi Esho, has died at the age of 77.

Esho who was born on October 29, 1946, died in Lagos on Monday during a brief illness.

A press statement by the family on Tuesday, signed by Mr Bunmi Esho, announced the legend’s death.

“We announce the passing unto glory of our Patriarch, Mr Samuel Babafemi Esho popularly known and referred to as “Baba Esho”, Baba Musician, etc.

“Baba Esho departed to greater glory on Monday 17th June 2024 after a brief illness at the age of 77 years.

“Baba Esho until his demise was the Chairman of the Evergreen Musical Company as well as the Founder of the Evergreen Music Heritage Foundation.

“Baba Esho was a mentor and “encyclopedia” to many ‘Highlife music aficionados.

He will be remembered as one who gave so much of himself to see to the “immortality” of the musical works of Nigerian Highlife, Juju, Sakara, Apala, Afrobeat and a crop of other Nigerian/African genres of Indigenous music,” the statement read.

The family added that burial arrangements would be announced in due course.

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