Top Nigerian pastors and religious leaders, on Friday, stayed away from the burial of the late founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, Temitope Balogun Joshua, aka TB Joshua.
Joshua, who was laid to rest in the church premises at Ikotun, Lagos, died a few days to his 58 birthday anniversary.
He was said to have died after concluding a programme at the Synagogue Church Of All Nations on Saturday, June 5.
At a news conference on June 29, SCOAN had 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)’.
Some of the top pastors absent include Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God; Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar; Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith Church also known as Winners Chapel; W.F Kumuyi of Deeper Life Church; Paul Enenche of Dunamis Church; Lazarus Mouka of the Mountain of Fire Church.
Others are Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church International Ministries; Tunde Bakare of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly), and Matthew Ashimolowo of of Kingsway International Christian Centre.
But some prominent Nigerians and dignitaries, including the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu; the Aare Oona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Aare Gani Adams; Wife of the Ooni of Ife, Olori Naomi Adeyeye; a former Minister for Aviation, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode and High Chief Bibopere Ajube, attended the funeral.
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was represented by the state Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr Olarewaju Elegushi.
When Joshua died, the Christian Association of Nigeria and many pastors were initially silent.
But 72 hours after, CAN issued a terse statement to condole his family and the SCOAN congregation.
The condolence, which observers believed was belated, came following condemnation of its silence among Christendom and several organisations in the social media.
Critics wondered why CAN would commiserate with others but would wait for a long time before making a statement on Prophet T. B. Joshua.
Meanwhile, absence of many of the pastors has received a mixed reaction on social media, especially Twitter.
“Oh get a grip all of you in the comments, nobody hated him, it was an issue of doctrine on salvation, apparently the deceased had his own philosophy which many thought to be contrary to bible.
If you notice, I included, I haven’t seen the deceased make an altar call for repentant souls,” a tweep, @black_ash422, said.
“I sincerely don’t understand why many of them didn’t go. We are humans and not God, we should not judge others. They deserve to pay him last respects,” another tweep, @Chukwu, added.
President of CAN, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, had in an earlier statement described TB Joshua as “one of the foremost Nigerian charismatic pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist who devoted his entire lifetime to the propagation of the gospel.
According to him, “Prophet T.B Joshua was one of the foremost Nigerian charismatic pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist who devoted his entire lifetime to the propagation of the gospel and ministering to the needs of the downtrodden. He was renowned for his philosophical simplicity and humility. His death is not only a loss to the family and the church, but to Nigeria and the world at large.
“On behalf of all members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, we commiserate with you, and the entire family on this loss. It is our prayer that the Almighty God grant Prophet TB Joshua an eternal rest in his creator, and may God’s perpetual light continue to shine on his path (Amen). Once again, please accept our heartfelt condolence.”