I was taken in by the ease and facility with which the rich and the powerful all mingle in a symphony of spiritual curiosity and the sense of order and organization that defines the church.
Let me start by apologizing for the unavoidable absence of this column last week. It was due to circumstances that were completely beyond my control. I thank all those who had called and sent text messages wondering if I was okay. Thanks a million.
He is one of the most consequential if not the most consequential prophets of our generation. His prophetic pronouncements have come to pass with clinical precision, from the improbable election of the late Ghanaian president, Professor Atta Mills, to the air crash in Buffalo, New York in 2010, to the Boston, Massachusetts marathon day bomber and other great predictions, Prophet T. B Joshua- the General Overseer of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (The SCOAN)has continued to confound the world with his uncanny spiritual and prophetic gifts.
All over the world, especially in the United States, the name T. B. Joshua elicits great curiosity, admiration and spiritual awe. Most readers of my newspaper, The Diasporan Star, especially those from the southern tip of Africa – Zimbabwe, South Africans – the Caribbean community and other mainstream American populations have asked me on many occasions to try and do an in interview with the great Man of God, Prophet T. B. Joshua and to feature him in our very popular column, “Keepers of the Lord’s Vineyard”. One of such deep followers of the prophet, Christine Ngorosandu, a Zimbabwean-American nurse had pleaded with me last year to do a big story on the church and the prophet as a way to show the world, especially Americans the awesome power of God that is unfolding in the church and I remember telling her I would do so, when I next I visit Nigeria. Ms. Ngorosandu had paid a pilgrimage to Synagogue church last year and came back a spiritually changed and deeper Christian.
And so, last Tuesday, I decided to go to the church and attempt to see the Prophet who is affectionately called by millions of his followers “Man of God”. I was stunned first by the majesty of the church, the intricate designs of the main church, the pace of activities I saw, the throngs of people from all nationalities that were united in a single pursuit of spiritual growth and development; the professionalism the staff had shown- from the security, to the ushers and to the media team, who as a reflection of the name of the church cuts across all nationalities, the media team, for instance, are all Britons and as they greet you, and ,making you feel completely at ease and at home, they let you know they have internalized certain Nigerian lingos, such as telling you “no wahala.
I was taken in by the ease and facility with which the rich and the powerful all mingle in a symphony of spiritual curiosity and the sense of order and organization that defines the church. “We will try our best to ensure that you get to see the ‘Man of God” one of the media aides had told me and as I enjoyed the sumptuous meal of rice and stew chicken in the church’s well-appointed cafeteria. I was amazed by what the Lord could do in the lives of the people, by picking a chosen vessel upon which all nations would come together and praise Him without a recourse or resort to class, gender, colour or pedigree.
It is a known fact that T.B. Joshua’s ministry is defined by prophetic pronouncements and the need to let us mere mortals understand the supernatural elements of God, but I was shocked-pleasantly so, to understand that the church has done a lot of charitable works- giving hope to the hopeless, lifting people up from the depth of despondency to self-fulfillment, providing succor to the weak and the infirm, the widows whom the society often abandons to the vagaries of hard existence upon the death of their husbands and breadwinners. I was pleased to note that that the church and its TV arm-Emmanuel TV have done extensive work in bringing to the fore the hardships the earthquake ravaged people of Haiti had faced, and the resources the church had put to bear in ameliorating some of those harsh realities of the Haitian people.
I have observed the actions of a lot of churches- from those in the United States and here, in Nigeria, and the emphasis on most of those churches has always been to collect without giving back to those who helped nurture the growth of those churches. You will hear congregants of those churches tell you they cannot afford the school fees for their children in some of the schools those churches run and administer. The tuition is simply out of reach of the ordinary and not so ordinary members of those churches. What I saw at Synagogue, was different. I saw a church community that celebrates philanthropy, that builds and encourages people to be the best that God had wanted them to be- a church that is all-inclusive and I began to wonder why some naysayers have trafficked in some outlandish, vile and base innuendos about the church and its leader.
T.B. Joshua in spite of the awe-inspiring presence he commands is exceedingly simple. When I eventually got to meet him on Wednesday, July 17, in his office, I was shocked by the simplicity he projected, the demeanour of a true and caring man of God that he wore and the simplicity of his office, his mode of dressing and approach. I was left confounded. Walking up to his office, I had been battling some butterflies in my stomach as I wondered how and where to start interviewing a man of God who sees everything and is able to read people’s minds. He totally relaxed me and even though he told me, he was giving me ten minutes to ask my questions, he was generous enough to have given me a few more minutes and eventually asked me to come back for a full-length interview which was conducted yesterday, Friday, July 19.
The Prophet was very keen to speak on topical issues and had answered all my questions with his characteristic frankness and openness. We touched on both politics, social, spiritual, world affairs and his prediction on what he saw coming in 2015 and how what he saw coming could be averted. The full interview with the awesome man of God, Prophet T. B. Joshua will be published in the next edition of The Diasporan Star and excerpts will be published here in Nigeria as well. Please look out for this once-in a million encounter with the Man of God who has brought all nations to Nigeria, and in the process redefine the way we are seen and regarded by the larger world.
Nigerian Pop Culture Now Rules the World I have written about this topic more than once and I am not yet tired of writing about it, until I am convinced the powers that be, understand and appreciates the awesome power that is inherent in this key aspect of our essence: the appropriation of our popular culture or pop culture as Americans call it for national development and the fashioning or rebranding of our nation.
Even though we have challenges and difficulties as a nation, even though our compatriots have defaced our national brand by indulging in tendencies that are less than noble, even though we have been branded in the most unflattering manner all over the world, one key element of our national life stands ramrod straight, illuminating the darker recesses of our lives, and pointing a way forward to what would be, is to be and would certainly become- a nation of hugely creative people whose talents and skills in music, movies and other elements of the creative arts stand us apart from the rest of our continental compatriots. Recently, I was in London and had visited ‘The Steam nightclub’ located at Paddington Hilton, and the packed audience was dancing deliriously to the music of top Nigerian acts.
I have observed same in places like Forest Hills, Queens, New York, which is probably the most ‘Jewish’ of all the Jewish neighborhoods in the whole of the United States outside of Israel. At a lounge I visited a while back, Tu’face’s African Queen was played repeatedly and the young patrons were singing along effortlessly. Brimming with pride, I told my companion the guy was my compatriot and she felt very excited
It is a known fact that our popular culture as represented in music and movies dominate the African continental creative firmament, shaping and affecting the ways people see and regard us, and even our unique lingos have found expressions in popular culture all across African. Why then is our government not appropriating this unique rebranding tool to better define us a people. I intend to dwell more on this topic next week. Please keep a date.