Posted by News Express | 12 June 2021 | 1,166 times
The ancient town of Arigidi Akoko, the hometown of the late founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, Temitope Joshua, popularly known as Prophet T. B. Joshua, in the Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State, has been mourning since the day the death was announced. The traditional ruler of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Olanipekun; a brother of the deceased and a another relative tell PETER DADA how the deceased impacted the community
T. B. Joshua paid our electricity debt worth millions of naira, didn’t want people to suffer – Oba Olanipekun, Arigidi Akoko monarch
Can we meet you?
I am the Zaki of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Olanipekun.
How did you receive the news of the demise of Prophet Temitope Joshua?
The late Pastor TB Joshua was an illustrious son of this community. He was a kind-hearted person to us in Arigidi and Nigeria as a whole. I received the news of his death with shock. Somebody called me at about 1am on the fateful day, informing me that TB Joshua had passed on. So, I started calling people. Initially, I didn’t believe he had died it until I was told that his remains had been deposited in a morgue. It was then that I believed. Since that is God’s wish, there is nothing we can do.
What step did the community take when his death was announced?
Immediately, I summoned some of my chiefs to prepare to go to Lagos. But they called me from Lagos that a team had already been sent from Lagos to Arigidi Akoko. So, we waited for them. In the evening of Sunday, they arrived and delivered the message to one of the siblings of the deceased. Thereafter, they were told to meet me in the palace. But to my surprise, a man that was my kingship opponent, Tunde Olanipekun, was the leader of the team. He refused to come to the palace, saying he was not sent to the palace. He forgot that TB Joshua’s death is the concern of Arigidi and I am the king of Arigidi. The deceased and I were very close, so I saw no reason they could not come to me.
Many have spoken about the late cleric’s kindness. How much of an impact was he to the people of Arigidi Akoko?
He did very well. His contribution to the development of this town is countless. He was a person that did not want people to suffer. I can count the number of times he used trailers to deliver bags of foodstuffs to us in the Akoko area. He would ensure the foodstuffs were distributed town by town, village by village. We, in the Akoko North West Local Government Area, were disconnected from the national grid due to our indebtedness but he paid the money we owed –millions of naira – and electricity supply was restored. We still have some local government areas that lack electricity today because of their debt. There is nothing we requested from him that he did not do for us. I can’t count them. They are numerous. During festivals, he would send cows and bags of rice to all streets for us to enjoy the festivities.
Since you are close to him, what was your last encounter with him?
Two days to the last Sallah celebration, his call woke me up from bed. He asked how we were going to celebrate it; he told me to send my account number and within a few minutes, I saw an alert of a very huge amount of money. That was how he usually did it. You didn’t need to ask him; he would do it at the right time. Everybody enjoyed him – the Christians, Muslims, traditional chiefs, the local government council and the ordinary people on the streets. We all benefitted from his philanthropic gestures. All the buses used in our four local government areas today, he provided them for us. He called me some time ago and said he wanted to buy us tractors to help boost our agriculture. He said the tractors would be under the control of the traditional rulers. So, he tried for us.
How much would he be missed in this community?
He will be missed greatly. I tell you, since the night I received the sad news, I have not been able to sleep. Before now, he told me he would soon come back home; he had asked for land, that he wanted to move his church down here and that he would buy buses that would bring his international guests and worshippers from Akure Airport to Arigidi with full security. Now, all these plans have stopped.
You have been appealing to the family and the church to bring and bury his remains in Arigidi. What is the reason behind the call?
As I said when we spoke some time ago, he said he wanted to turn Arigidi into Jerusalem. Work had already started on the site he wanted to build his church. If he is not buried here, will his worshippers come here to see his tomb? They will not come. He wanted to build schools and a church on the land. I see no reason he should not be buried here. Great men of God like him were buried in their hometowns. The late Moses Orimolade was buried in Ikare Akoko. The late Pastor (Timothy Obadare) was buried in Ilesa (in Osun State) and many others like that. So, they should bring his remains home.
What can other well-meaning indigenes of Arigidi town learn from the late T. B. Joshua?
I will appeal to them to emulate the philanthropic activities of late Pastor T. B. Joshua and assist the town and its people and I pray God will raise another person like T. B. Joshua to assist this town.
Cleric’s death shocking, unfortunate– Cousin
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Sola Balogun and I am 31 years old. I have been living in this community for several years. In fact, I am an indigene of the town and I have been living in Arigidi for a very long time. When I finished my secondary school education, I joined a photo laboratory where I now work in the town.
What is your relationship with the late T. B. Joshua?
He was my uncle; he was also my father.
How would you describe him?
He was a man of God; in fact, a man of all nations. Everybody knew him as a man of God. He had done well, in terms of humanitarian services to the underprivileged, particularly in our area here.
How did he impact this town?
I can’t even finish talking about it because he impacted and contributed copiously. He helped a lot of people in the community. There was a time our transformer went bad. He gave us a brand new one which we have been using for the past 10 years. He also helped many persons with disabilities by providing them with stimulus packages.
How would you describe his demise?
We heard the disheartening news on Sunday that our man had died. Painfully, there was no report of his ailment earlier. It is very shocking and unfortunate. Everyone is mourning the passage of my uncle because he touched so many lives. In fact, the atmosphere is bereft of merriment. Everybody is sad.
Late clergyman wanted to join the military before God ‘arrested’ him – Brother
What is your name?
I am Sunday Abimbola Balogun.
What is your relationship with the late pastor?
I am his elder brother.
How close were you to him?
We were very close. He was nice to all members of the family, so we were close.
When was your last encounter with him?
I last saw him about eight months ago. When I visited him in Lagos, he spoke with me about many issues, preaching to me not to love money more than Jesus and also forsake ungodly behaviour. Those were his words to me. He always preached love and peace. He advised me to love the people around me, that I should avoid too much love for money.
Can you tell us how he began his ministry?
Joshua stayed with our sister (who has passed) in Lagos. During that period, he never saw himself as a servant of God. All his aims were on how to further his education and join the military. He did that before God ‘arrested’ and called him.
How did that happen?
When he started, he was in the house for seven days. My sister thought he had travelled, not knowing that he was inside the house. When my sister later found out he was indoors for days, she went to his room but the door to his room was difficult to open. So, it was opened by force and a bible was found with him. My sister saw the spirituality in him and took him to a prophet called Ajalenkoko, an indigene of Ikare Akoko. But before they got there, there was a prophecy that a mighty man was on his way to the man’s church. That was how he started working for God. When he was still an infant, there were many incidents that happened to him that God made him to surmount before God performed wonders in his life.
What was the reaction of the family when he started the work of God?
We were pleased with him working for God. We gave him our support and prayers.
What were some of his contributions to your family?
He has done so many unforgettable things for the family and the people of this town. He even built houses for us; he helped us financially. We didn’t pray for him to die now; the incident is really shocking and unbelievable but God understands it all. We are seven in number in our immediate family. Other siblings are based in Lagos, but our step brothers and sisters are around in this community. He never neglected his family and the people of Akoko land.
What would you miss about him most?
I will miss his heart of kindness, love and generosity.
He gave our community world recognition, his death too painful – Sister-in-law
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am Mrs Eunice Balogun. I am 50 years old and a civil servant working with the Federal Government.
How related are you to the late pastor?
I am his brother’s wife, I mean his biological brother. But he saw me as a mother. When I got married, he took me as a mother. She neither saw me as a wife nor called me by my name. He called me Iya (mother). We did play together. He was too humble. Sometimes, he would say that I ought to have been angry when he didn’t ask after me.
When was your last moment with him?
It was in August last year. I had earlier informed him that I would like to spend a week with him; he acceded by granting my request. He asked his aides to prepare a befitting room for me. Later, I requested his approval for me to go back to Akoko, but he was reluctant. Nevertheless, he allowed me. He told me to notify him whenever I wanted to visit. All these showed that he was a man that loved his family. He did counsel me by telling me to keep mum whenever people troubled me. We were expecting his arrival as people said he would come home. We were devastated after hearing the news (of his death).
How do you think he would be missed by the community?
He would be missed in numerous ways. He used to take care of the aged people in the community. In fact, upon hearing the sad news, the elderly in our community became sad and debilitated because of the passage of the great man of God. He used to feed people living with disabilities and gave money to the needy always. In fact, whenever he was around, everybody always wished to meet him. Whenever he came home, nobody slept without seeing him. He distributed money to everybody he saw. The mood is not good now. Everybody is mourning. Nobody goes to farm; no church service. It is too painful. T. B. Joshua gave our community world recognition. (Text from Saturday PUNCH, excluding headline)
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