Temitope Balogun Joshua (born June 12, 1963), commonly referred to as T. B. Joshua, was a Nigerian charismatic pastor, televangelist, and philanthropist. He was the leader and founder of The Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN), a Christian megachurch that runs the Emmanuel TV television station from Lagos.
Joshua was known for his popularity across Africa and Latin America and his social media presence with 3,500,000 fans on Facebook. His YouTube channel, Emmanuel TV, had over 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers and was the world’s most viewed Christian ministry on the platform before it was suspended. Described as the “Oprah of Evangelism” and “YouTube’s most popular Pastor”,
He was awarded various accolades, notably receiving the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) by the Nigerian government in 2008 and being voted the Yoruba man of the decade by Pan-Yoruba media outlet Irohin-Odua. He was called one of Africa’s 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazines The Africa Report and New African Magazine
As of 2011, according to Forbes, Joshua was Nigeria’s third-richest pastor, although the claim was immediately denied in a statement by the church. He was known to be controversial and was even ‘blacklisted’ by the government of Cameroon in 2010.
Joshua went to the aid of several communities in distress, notably providing two transformers to a local community after theirs was burned beyond repair. He donated over N26m towards restoring electricity and putting an end to over two years of power outage in four councils in Akoko area of Ondo State. The cleric has additionally made several large donations to the police force in Nigeria, Ghana and Colombia.
The SCOAN has a ‘scholarship program’ which caters for the academic needs of students in their thousands, ranging from primary to tertiary education. In 2012, Joshua sponsored a Nigerian student doing a PhD in Oxford University, with Nigerian media reporting she received £100,000 from the church. He also gave a scholarship to a young Motswana to study at Harvard Law School in America.
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Joshua sent a team of medical personnel and humanitarian workers to the affected area, establishing a field hospital called ‘Clinique Emmanuel’.
He additionally sent support to nations such as Philippines, India and Ghana in the wake of varying natural disasters. The ‘Emmanuel TV Team’ also assisted victims of the earthquake that struck the nation of Ecuador in April 2016, providing over $500,000 worth of humanitarian aid.
Joshua funded the building and running of a school in Lahore, Pakistan named ‘Emmanuel School’. He also rebuilt a school in a rural area destroyed by the 2016 Ecuador earthquake, traveling to Ecuador for the opening of the school in June 2017.
Support for migrants and deportees
Several groups of Nigerians attempting illegal travel to Europe through Libya have been supported at The SCOAN following their deportation from the North African nation with only the clothes on their backs. Stories of the harsh conditions they encountered and Joshua’s subsequent assistance made headlines in several local newspapers.
In 2009, Joshua started a football club, My People FC, as part of efforts to help the youth. Two members of the team played for Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Sani Emmanuel, who apparently lived in The SCOAN for several years, was Nigeria’s top-scorer and the tournament’s MVP. Emmanuel and his colleague Ogenyi Onazi signed professional contracts with SS Lazio, Onazi a key player for the Nigerian Senior Team, the Super Eagles.
WBO International Light Middleweight boxing champion King Davidson Emenogu said that Joshua has financially supported him throughout his career and purportedly prophesied that he would be a world boxing champion.
Joshua was involved in the meeting of the family of the late president of Liberia, Samuel Doe, with the former warlord Prince Yormie Johnson who was responsible for Doe’s death. During this meeting, the family publicly forgave Johnson who said it was through Joshua’s prayers that he stopped drinking alcohol and turned to Christianity.
The cleric also played a prominent role in reconciling broken homes and restoring families torn apart by false accusations.
In recognition of his humanitarian activities, he was awarded a National Honour by the Nigerian government in 2008 as well as receiving a letter of appreciation from the United Nations. He was further honored as an Ambassador of Peace by the Arewa Youth Forum, a predominantly Muslim organization, as well as being recognized with an ‘award of excellence by ZAKA, Israel’s primary rescue and recovery voluntary service.