The only thing he did not tell me was when he would die or how he would die. Every other thing he said to me in a special encounter with him around the year 2000 has all come to pass.
Some of the people who knew me around that time would tell you for free that I was one of the closest friends of Prophet TB Joshua. He would always invite me to attend every Sunday service or any other special program at the Synagogue. I was then a young staff in the Punch Newspaper.
On this particular Saturday, I had gone to the Synagogue to keep an appointment I had previously missed with him. I was about to take my seat in the main bowl of the Church when he rushed out of his office to attend to an emergency, and suddenly our eyes caught each other. He directed one of his disciples to take me directly into his office. That was the first time I would enter his private office sparsely furnished with a wooden table and a chair. I immediately knew something very special would be discussed that afternoon.
About 10 minutes later, Prophet Joshua came back into his office and greeted me in his usual manner, “Lawal bawoni.”I answered, “Everything is fine, sir.” I also thanked him for the N4,000 he had given to me the previous Sunday. Staring at my face, he asked: “What are people saying about me on the streets?” I answered ironically: “All those things that you are also hearing are what the people are saying about you. They said you are a fake prophet of God and that you relied on diabolical powers for all the miracles you are performing. Some even go about saying that the miracles you performed are stage-managed.”
He paused for a minute and began to draw an analogy: “Do you know Opekete, the dwarfed palm tree,” I said yes. He began the narration by saying that at the dwarf stage of a palm tree, it was expected that people would ordinarily throw all sorts of pebbles at it. Some would pluck the seeds or even cut the branches down for no just reason. But as the palm tree increases in height, people will ordinarily feel sad that their hands will no longer reach its height.”
“That is the situation for now. Allow them to say whatever they like about me; the future of my ministry will permanently seal their mouths. I foresee a future where foreigners will dominate my congregations, and Nigerians will find it very hard to find spaces for themselves in the Synagogue.”
“Let me also tell you, this Ministry will not operate a single bank account either now or in the future. I will not also operate another branch apart from this one in Ikotun-Egbe. Countries and Nations will come here and go back to plant Synagogue Church in their various countries. It will start from Africa to Asia and into the world.”
“The lands on both left and right of this Church shall all be for the Synagogue to expand its glory. We shall be here to do the work of God, and the Synagogue shall be a harbinger of hope, prayers, and healing for the people across the world. We will not operate any school; rather, we shall give scholarships to the children of the poor to study in Nigeria and abroad. We shall give hope to the hopelessness. We would not pursue money or riches; the synagogue shall be for all nations and it will be developed by the people. We shall create a platform that will spread to all the nooks and crannies of the world. We will preach only and only His words and for his people.”
Prophet Joshua said all these and other things that I will not want to mention here for certain reasons. But he ended by saying that he handed over to God all who were faking his stories around.
All of these predictions have today come to pass. When Prophet TB Joshua was to celebrate his 40th birthday anniversary, he told the church he would be celebrating it specially. He went to Oyingbo, Ikotun, etc, to gather all the beggars and destitute, and he prepared a big banquet under a sophisticated reception to entertain them. He put all of them in well-decorated settees, and special foods and drinks were served to them. When they were departing, he gave every one of them a parting gift and money.
One thing that really thrilled me and will forever thrill me about Prophet Joshua was his attitude toward persecution, slander, and opposition. The provocative tendencies of the opposition never stopped him from doing the work of God excellently despite the terrible things said about him. He was calm, focused, and determined to spread the gospel according to the Bible. He acted courageously as if the people leveling the allegations against him never existed.
Interestingly, and to the chagrin of everyone, the synagogue kept growing and expanding across Africa, Asia, and the world as he rightly predicted to me in the year 2000.
Prophet TB Joshua was simple, modest, humane, and generous to a fault. He helped the needy more than any other MOG in Nigeria, and history will forever remember him for especially impacting the world.
Adieu, Prophet TB Joshua, May His soul rest in Peace.
Alhaji Dauda Lawal, a social analyst, wrote this from Ado Ekiti.
I wrote this piece in June 2021 after the death of Prophet TB Joshua. This is still relevant today even amid the controversial BBC documentary.