Popular Nigerian televangelist and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Temitope Balogun Joshua, has been buried in Lagos after a week-long of funeral rites.
Thousands of mourners attended the burial service at his Church in the Ikotun area of Lagos.
Outside the church, flags of various countries fluttered at half-mast. It is hard to know if the flags represented the countries the prophet visited in his lifetime but the poles stretched for more than a kilometre.
The thousands of mourners present at his funeral also reflected the global appeal of TB Joshua. People came from the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and South Africa, where he was highly popular.
People of Ikotun-Egbe, the suburb in Lagos where the church is located, came out in large numbers on Thursday to watch his hearse go past and many more lined the streets early on Friday.
Most of them are not members of his church but were affected by his philanthropy. Many more benefited indirectly from the industry created by his always busy church.
The dignitaries who attended his funeral include, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Prophet Joshua’s home state, Ondo who read a bible passage during the funeral, Lagos state commissioner for home affairs, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi, representing Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Olori Naomi Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the wife of the Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty King Willard Mswati Gomani from Malawi, Pastor Robert Acosta from Argentina, Bishop Steven Ogedengbe from Ondo state, Bishop Trevor Williamson from The Bahamas, Pastor Gerardo Montejano from Argentina, Ayoob Kara.
Also in attendance was the President of the Economic Centre for Peace, Israel, Evangelist Joseph, Prophet Chris, Dr Gary Tonge, Dele Momodu, publisher Ovation Magazine, Deputy governor of Ondo state Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, and the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Lagos state chapter, Rt. Rev. S.T.V Adegbite.
Other popular Nigerian mega-pastors were missing from the week of memorials, highlighting the frosty relationship he had with them.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) previously described him as an “impostor” who belonged to a group of “occults” that had infiltrated Christianity.
Temitope Balogun Joshua was revered by people from around the world and tens of thousands of people attended his weekly services.
The charismatic preacher’s rise to prominence in the late 1990s coincided with the explosion of “miracle” programmes performed on Nigerian TV by various pastors.
Known as the “Prophet” by his followers, he ran the Christian television station Emmanuel TV and often toured Africa, the US, the UK and South America.
Mr Joshua came from a poor background and was brought up by his Muslim uncle following the death of his Christian father.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (Can), which had disputes with TB Joshua in the past over his ministerial style, also sent a delegation to his burial, an indication that hostilities are over.
It is one of the things he wanted most while he was alive, to be accepted by Nigeria’s larger Christian faith. It is perhaps symbolic that it came at his death.
His wife, Evelyn Joshua, who has now been appointed the general overseer of the church, said her late husband grew the church from an eight-member assembly to what it is today.
“For gold to become gold it must pass through the fire. I just want to thank you for being a good father to our children,” she said at Tuesday’s all-day tributes service.
His children, Sarah Joshua, Promise Joshua and Heart Joshua, described their father as “a man with a formidable dedication”.