By Osagie Otabor, Akure, Gboyega Alaka, Alao Abiodun, Uwaifo Faith-Abiodun and Lekan Ale
Eminent Nigerians and some foreigners on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to the late Founder/Leader of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet Temitope Balogun (T. B.) Joshua.
The popular televangelist died on June 5, according to the church, a week to his 58th birthday on June 12.
The event was held on the church premises at Ikotun in Lagos State amid tight security.
The wife and the children of the late cleric set the tone for the day of emotions.
Evelyn, the widow of the preacher, told the audience of the event beamed live across the globe, how he fondly called her husband “TBJ, my love”.
She described him as a loving husband, father and one who created time for his family, despite his busy schedule.
Mrs. Joshua praised God for making her the wife of such a great man and spiritual father to many, saying: “Thank you for choosing me.”
According to her, the late preacher did not impossibility existed.
“We will keep the light burning. I was proud and shall forever be proud to be your wife.
“You are not dead; I know that.
“I am sad that I, Evelyn, may not be able to see you physically again. Your children, spiritual sons and daughters may not see you physically again, but we know that you are not dead. Sleep on, my love. Sleep on, my God’s general,” she said.
The late cleric’s first daughter, Sarah, said: “I am so proud of my father. Dad told me that the work of God is so beautiful to do.
“Indeed, he lived a prayerful life. I recall how he, one day, we prayed for 45 minutes, and after that my knees were aching. After that, he told me that the spirit is willing but the body is weak.
“I will truly miss our conversation. If anyone lived a fulfilling and yet enigmatic life, it was you. My dad had the biggest heart that I know of. What a life you lived! Such a legend and exemplary light!”
Another child of the deceased, Promise, said: “He lived each day like it was his last. He didn’t come to me like a surprise. Thank you for living such an exemplary life.”
Eminent personalities at the event included the Aare Onakakanfo of Yoruba land, Chief Gani Adams; Nollywood actresses Ronke Ojo (aka Ronke Oshodi Oke) and Olajumoke George.
Activities for the burial of the late SCOAN founder began on Monday with a private candlelight procession.
Others include the lying-in-state on July 8, laying to rest and internment on July 9, and a thanksgiving service on July 11.
Also, kinsmen of the Prophet Joshua in Arigidi community Akoko Southeast Local Government Area of Ondo State are to virtually participate in activities of his burial ceremonies.
The burial rites are to hold in Lagos State but arrangements were made to make the kinsmen participate in the week-long event.
On Monday, residents of Arigidi and environs wore white singlets to join in the candlelight event.
The traditional ruler of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Yisa Olanipekun, said all arrangements had been concluded to enable the residents pay their last respects to the late preacher.
Oba Olanipekun said all activities held in Lagos would be replicated in Arigidi.
In Akure, sympathisers are to gather at Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Arcade ground in Igbatoro to watch the burial.