The wife of a controversial Nigerian televangelist pastor is continuing his legacy, after reopening his mega church for Sunday services.
Evelyn Joshua, who has been appointed as her husband’s successor, recently led the first Sunday service at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) to take place in five months*7/11* .
Temitope Balogun Joshua *corr*, known as TB Joshua, who died in June, was known to SCOAN members as “the senior prophet” or “our dear father” and had a huge social media following as well as a significant international influence.
The 57-year-old Pentecostal was called one of Africa's 50 most influential people by Pan-African magazine’s The Africa Report and New African Magazine, but was not affiliated with the official Pentecostal church in Nigeria, and was blacklisted by the government of Cameroon in 2010.
The Guardian Newspaper told of how devotees of Joshua “spent long hours memorising hundreds of pages of his teachings, known as Quotable Quotes, which they believed to be the word of God”, with some “cutting themselves off from friends and family, foregoing marriage, education and conventional careers”.
Spiritual healing at SCOAN has been the subject of several media reports, including a mention in Time Magazine, an Associated Press interview and an article by Foreign Policy suggesting Nigerians tend to seek spiritual help due to insufficient medical facilities.
The BBC reported the mass outpouring of grief upon the colourful figure’s death, as well as people fleeing the church in Lagos, Nigeria, with cash, in-fighting over Joshua’s succession and “disciples” being evicted by Mrs Joshua when she took over.
Mrs Joshua, 52, who according to the BBC was not considered by some to be the successor her husband intended, is an ordained minister and was allegedly helped to the position of leader by her supporters obtaining a court order to make her a member of the church board.
She denies the eviction allegations.