Sanwo-Olu, Akeredolu pay tributes as T. B. Joshua is buried
As the remains of popular Nigerian televangelist, Temitope Balogun Joshua was interred yesterday in the premises of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) Ikotun, Lagos State, after week-long funeral rites, thousands of mourners who attended the burial service described him as a man who lived for God and humanity.
Joshua died after a church service at SCOAN on June 5, few days before his 58th birthday anniversary.
SCOAN had at a news conference on June 29 said that July 5 to July 11 would be dedicated for a series of Joshua’s ‘laying to rest’ activities tagged: ‘Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Prophet Joshua (1963 to 2021)’.
People from different races, cultures and countries gathered at SCOAN premises yesterday to give final respect to the late prophet.
Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu; Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Orimisan; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr. Anofiu Elegushi; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II represented by his wife, Olori Silekunola Naomi and a delegation from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) witnessed the colourful burial.
The first Bible reading at the burial service, taken from First Corinthians 15: 51 – 57, was read by Governor Akeredolu, after which Bishop Stephen Ogedengbe of the Wisdom of Chapel Ministry explained the passage.
The cleric urged Christians to emulate the exemplary life of love lived by the late founder of SCOAN.
Ogedengbe said: “The character of a true believer is to find refuge in our Lord Jesus. That is why children of God are not afraid in reaching the final destination – death. Heaven is our home, our dwelling place.”
According to him, Joshua had always mentioned that those from above longed to be there.
Minister Ayoub Kara from Israel took the second Bible reading from Revelation 21: 1-7, while Pastor Robert Acosta from Argentina preached a sermon from it.
Acosta said that Christians should follow Christ “because outside Jesus there is no reality.”
He said that Joshua did so many miracles and showed much love to many people.
After the sermon, Akeredolu and the representative of Governor Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State delivered speeches.
Sanwo-Olu told the congregation that the late prophet fulfilled his destiny on earth by living for others.
He encouraged Christians to long for the spirit of dedication as shown by the SCOAN founder.
“His life should encourage us to renew our hope in Christ. Unity, peace, progress and love should be our watchword as Christians,” he said.
He urged Christians to emulate the late prophet’s life and live in peace with everyone without discriminating.
In his speech, Akeredolu described the death of Joshua as a huge loss to the people of Ondo State, Nigeria and the world at large. He revealed that the traditional ruler of his hometown, Arigidi Akoko in Akoko North local council of Ondo State, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, had mobilised him to ensure that Joshua’s remains would be buried in the town.
He noted that Joshua contributed immensely to the emancipation of the downtrodden, orphans, widows and other less privileged people.
“Joshua remains the only person who died and market men and women closed their shops for one week in his home town. Kabiesi mobilised me for the body of Joshua to be buried in his hometown because he was convinced that we should bring the body to Arigidi. And I said to Kabiesi that our late prophet has a family and where his remains will lie is for the family to decide not for him.
“I have to let you know that prophet T.B. Joshua came from Arigidi, Ondo State. He is a Nigerian but doesn’t take it away; he is a world citizen,” he said.
Speaking on Joshua’s impact in Ondo State, he recalled that when he was first elected as the governor of the state, the prophet gave his family a huge amount of money, adding that he also paid up the electricity bills of four local councils who were in darkness for years.
“T.B. Joshua’s demise is not only a loss to Ondo State or to the world, it is a loss to humanity. I am not sure we have had a world congregated in this number from different countries, probably during Nelson Mandela’s burial. But the world is more represented here than when Nelson Mandela was buried,” Akeredolu added.
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