*Flags At Half Mast
Two women sat on the pavement of the entrance to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos, wailing. The first woman, Mrs. Ohiri was crying profusely, holding an empty bottle. She had come in that early Sunday morning to get prayer water from the tap when she heard of the sudden death of Temitope Balogun Joshua. She could not believe it; she thought it was a joke. She had been a member of the church for more than 22 years. After carrying a pregnancy for 12 years, it was at the Synagogue Church that she was delivered of a baby boy. Since then, she has been a staunch member of the church and the death of the General Overseer was too much for her.
The other woman who sat behind her was also lamenting. Mrs. Esther Joseph usually come to the church for early morning service. On hearing the news, she could not hold herself as she became hysterical.
“The God that lives in heaven will not allow TB Joshua to go like that, it is not now, it is not now ooo. TB Joshua is a nice man. Person no go chop him money (and) curse am, he is a nice man ooo”, Mrs. Joseph wailed uncontrollably.
“Before I come this church, I be juju person, but I challenged the God of this church when I left Delta State come Lagos, and God did it here,” Mrs. Joseph continued lamenting in pidgin.
The Church has been playing host to large number of sympathisers since the death of the General Overseer was made public early Sunday.
When Western Post visited the premises on Sunday, the gates to the church were locked as only few well known members were allowed to go in. The flags inside the church premises were lowered at half mast. Some members stood outside crying, while others talked in low tone, giving hope, praying that things would turn around. Many came as far as outside Lagos to confirm the veracity of the devastating news.
A Cameroonian woman who has been in Nigeria for three years said she came to the country because of TB Joshua. The woman, who refused to disclose her identity to this Western Post reporter said: “I don cry, tears don finish for my eye. He preached here yesterday, better man, man of God. I watched online from South Africa, people dey roll for ground. You know na here Jim Iyke survived. The help wey dat TB Joshua dey help too much.”
A member of the Ikotun community where the church is located , who gave his name as Fatai Hamzat said TB Joshua was their father.
According to him, there was a time the transformer in the area got spoilt. It was TB Joshua who bought a new one to power the community amongst other philanthropic gestures.
“He gives us money every festive period, he gives us rice. When the Baale of this area died two months ago, he came to console us, not knowing his demise was also near,” Hamzat said
A landlady in the area, Mrs. Tabo, also gave an account to Western Post of what she knows about TB Joshua. According to her, he was the man who put food on her table.
“I moved to my house in 2009. That was when I knew about TB Joshua and since then people around him, and everybody around this Ikotun-Egbe, even Lagos State gained a lot from him. I personally gained a lot from him, and even a pure water seller gained from him because he is was philanthropist.
He helps. He cannot see you hungry. He put food on our table.
“When this church started, there was problem of where people will lodge; I had to open my house for them to rent it. That is how TB Joshua put food on my table,” Mrs. Tabo said
It is evident that the church members are still dazed by the unexpected demise of their founder. In days, months and years to come SCOAN may never be the same again.