A large number of people in Arigidi Akoko, in the Akoko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State, have been mourning the death of the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua, popularly called TB Joshua.
This is just as his elder brother, Mr Abimbola Balogun, on Monday said he saw the late pastor last, eight months ago, when he advised him to always show love to the people.
Joshua died in Lagos on Saturday at the age of 57.
Since the death of the cleric was announced in Arigidi Akoko, his hometown, the community had been wearing a mournful look.
A source told newsmen, “Market and shops are closed in Arigidi Akoko and the nearby towns and villages to honour the departed cleric.”
Also speaking on Monday, Balogun, who said he was in a state of disbelief, described his late younger brother as a God-sent to the family and the entire community because of his philanthropic gestures that had positively affected the lives of many people in the area.
He said, “I saw my brother last, eight months ago; and during that encounter, he advised me to love the people around me and I that should avoid too much love for money.
“We will miss him because he was our breadwinner; the entire community will miss him.”
A friend of late TB Joshua, who is also the traditional ruler of Gedegede Akoko, Oba Walidu Sanni, said the downtrodden, widows, persons with disabilities and the elderly would miss him for his benevolence.
Also, the Chairman of the Akoko North West LGA, Ayodele Akande, who paid a condolence visit to the family of the late pastor in Arigidi Akoko, described him as “an exceptional humble and generous person.”
Okowa mourns, worshippers, beneficiaries sign condolence register
Meanwhile, hundreds of members and beneficiaries on Monday were at the church to pay their respect to the cleric, just as the family brought out condolence registers.
A member, Catherine Adeko, described the spiritual leader as a man of honor, saying, “I will never forget my man of God. He taught us so many things. Even if he is no longer here to lay hands on me, his teachings and training will forever abide with me”
Oba Ashimiyu Dada-Otta, the traditional ruler of Egbe, Elegbe of Egbeland, in the Ikotun area where the church is located also came to pay his respect.
It was noted that hundreds of worshipers, beneficiaries and others waited patiently in the queue to sign condolence registers at two points.
Although people were not allowed to stay long at any of the points, a Journalist glimpsed some messages when he signed one of the registers.
One Mrs Martins wrote, “Your teachings will forever remain with me Papa. Thank you.”
Another member, Mary, wrote, “I will miss you Papa,” while another,
Uche Charles, wrote, “Rest in the bosom of God. We will meet in rapture.
Yet another member, whose name was not available, wrote, “You went to be with your father, sleep well.”
Similarly, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Monday described Joshua’s death as shocking.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said the late cleric would be missed “for his humble teachings, meekness and wise counsels, and particularly for his good heart and grandiose philanthropy.”
He also commiserated with the government and people of Ondo State on the demise of the preacher.
“He was a strong voice in the Christian community where he commanded great following, performed miracles and taught the word of God with passion,” the governor added.
Monarch wants Joshua buried in village
Meanwhile, the monarch of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, has appealed to the members of SCOAN to allow late Joshua be buried in his home town.
Oba Olanipekun said the traditional rulers in the four Akoko local governments had decided to give the late pastor a befitting burial and that he must be buried in the town.
He said, “ We can handle all his burial arrangements, not only Arigidi but all the Akokos’, comprising four local governments. We don’t joke with him, we know what he has done for us.
“Prophet had it in mind that he was coming home, so why would they bury his remains in Lagos? That is what he wants! He is from here. Look at these late pastors, Moses Orimolade was brought to Ikare, Ayo Babalola was taken to Ikeji-Arakeji, Pastor Timothy Obadare was taken to Ilesa in Osun state, among others, so why will ours be different?”