It Is School Resumption Season Again
Grace Ego Omoni
In our days, going on holidays was exciting and welcoming as if we would never get back to school. That old song keeps on echoing in my ears:
Holiday is coming,
No more morning bell,
No more teachers’ cane,
Till we meet again.
My jolly, holiday!
Waoh! school children will echo “my jolly holiday” with so much excitement and enthusiasm that very closing day. As soon as the holiday is drawing to a close, they remember that phrase” ..till we meet again.” Dear Reader, the “jolly holiday” is almost over. Teachers, school children and parents need to be prepared for another school year, right there at the corner. Parents, children, teachers/ schools, how prepared are you?
Education we all know is the bed rock of child development. It is the process of giving and receiving systematic instructions specifically at school. It is both the art of teaching knowledge to others and that of receiving knowledge from some other person or persons. In other words, it is the art of facilitating knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, morals, habits, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving under the guidance of educators. It could be formal, informal or non-formal.
Formal education is the teaching and learning process in the school environment which includes, the preschool or kindergarten or nursery, the primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions like the colleges of education, polytechnics and the university. The principal thing that education does to the society is that of training individuals to develop physically, socially, intellectually and morally. It enhances national development, thus, the importance of formal education by the school cannot be overemphasized.
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The holiday period is almost over and I feel compelled as a retired teacher to remind parents, students/ pupils, teachers and schools of the necessity of making adequate preparations for the new school year. The adage, prior preparations prevent poor performance is like a stitch in time saves nine. People fail to plan and not that they plan to fail. Preparing for another school year reduces failure and stress in the teaching/learning process. It is a well known fact that parents, family and community involvement in education correlates with higher academic performance and school improvement for learners when they work together.
The intention of this article is to give stakeholders in education tips on prior preparations as schools are about to resume.
Tips for Parents and Guardians.
The home, family and care givers fall into this category. The Holy Bible has two important verses that seriously encourage parents and guardians on parental care. Proverbs 22:6 says” train up a child the way he should go and when he grows up, he will not depart from it” and second is from 1Tim 5:8 :” But if any provides not for his home and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.” As parents or guardians, here are some tips to enable you to help your children to be adequately comfortable in this new school year:
a) set money aside and make a budget for the education of your children or wards for school fees and a lot of other things;
b) by now parents and guardians should have considered whether the children will continue in the same school or searched for a new one if not satisfied with the academic performance of their wards in the previous school. Parents should also take into consideration the nearness of the school to the place of residence, quality of the teachers, tone of the school as well as teachers’ effectiveness and efficiency in carrying out their duties;
c)ensure that all necessary materials such as recommended textbooks, stationary, school/P.E uniforms, nose masks, hand sanitizers, footwear, stockings, school bag, writing utensils (Biro, pencil, ruler, mathematics set etc) and internet facilities are made available before resumption.
d) in schools where there are online learning programmes, parents and guardians must ensure that they are accessible to them. This will help them to track the academic progress of their children. It will also help them to plan their children’s learning schedule and time management skills. Many schools in the urban cities in Nigeria are already doing online learning. Parents, do not be left out;
e) parents prepare yourselves to communicate and be committed to the school. Parents must be ready to match the expectations of their children’s welfare, the school and the teachers with their own commitment. Relationship with the classroom and subject teachers is very important. Ahead of resumption, parents must plan to attend PTA meetings, open days and work in tandem with the school. Parents and guardians should understand that 100% school attendance, punctuality and regularity will bring about higher performance. So parents must make necessary arrangement for their children’s transportation to and fro school if they are day students/ pupils to enhance punctuality;
f) be a role model to your children. Read and encourage your children to read. Be a help in their educational journey and travel with them with true inspiration. Avoid arguments and quarrelling with your spouse in the presence of your children;
g) plan out time ahead of school resumption on how to check their school work, assist and monitor them with their home work;
h) monitor what they watch on television, the internet and video games and the time lapse for such. Parental control is very essential;
I) parents must also create time to relax with their children, tell them stories of their own school experiences both positive and negative. It will serve as corrective measures to intended bad habits;
j) know your children’s friends and discourage bad influence such as bad language, inappropriate dress code, truancy etc;
m) give your children comprehensive orientation on the “new normal ” way of life. I mean the COVID- 19 saga. Teach them to keep the rules to avoid being infected: wearing of mask, maintaining social distancing, washing hands regularly, using hand sanitizers and not shaking hands or hugging people.
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School Pupils and Students.
Children are the leaders of tomorrow and are to be cared for, motivated to learn and monitored. Children should realize that holidays do not last forever! The third to the last line of the lyric at the start of this write up says ” …till we meet again” indicating that schooling is a continuous cycle. School’s resumption to many students/ pupils is sometimes negatively inclined. This ought not to be so. Therefore school children must:
a)have a positive concept about school and prepare themselves, physically, intellectually, emotionally, morally and socially;
b) constantly remind parents of their needs. These include the school fees, learning materials such as textbooks, school /P.E uniforms, footwear, school bags, stationary, face masks, hand sanitizers, etc. These have to be ready before school resumes.
c)set your goals; that is what you as a student want to achieve at the end of the school year. Your parents or guardians or teachers can assist you in setting goals. Practise how to set goals using the acronym “SMART” where:
This means that what you intend to do must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. These could be in terms of academic performance in each subject area or in terms of your moral behaviour. Write out your expectations down before hand;
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d) agree with your parents which of the schools you will attend for optimum academic performance;
e) evaluate and review your previous performance and identify your strength and weaknesses and work on them before resumption. Review what you have learnt the previous school year by reading your notes again and making a list of things already learnt;
f) prepare a study time-table, choose a study space free from distractions and practise ahead the study habit tips. Be determined to be more organized by balancing your study, rest and relaxation time;
g) plan to attend school and classes regularly and punctually and on time. Most schools start at 7:45 a.m. Be in school before that time. Plan not to miss any learning period;
h) who are you going to chose as a friend? Make sure your friends are those who love school work, ready to learn, who obey school rules and regulations, who are not truants or absentees, trouble or noise makers or who engage in other anti-social behaviour. Always remember the adage: ” tell me your friend and I will you who you are”;
j) the world has changed. COVID-19 is still ravaging nations. Make sure you understand the rules binding this “new normal” and plan to practise them passionately. Make use of the nose mask and hand sanitizers. Wash your hands regularly, maintain social distancing and avoid hugging friends and be ready to run away or report class/ school mates who do not want to abide by the rules;
k) get your school materials ready in your bag and plan to make ready all that you will need for school the night before.
Tips for the School/ Teachers
In preparation for school resumption for a new school year, the teachers and the headteachers need to do a lot of things:
a) hold a staff meeting two weeks before resumption to review the previous school year performance to identify the strength and weaknesses in terms of the curriculum, teaching – learning process, learner’s academic performance, discipline, structures, the school plan, staff strength, finances, extra curricula activities, parent- teacher relationship, school facilities, community and ministry of education involvement and suggest ways for improvement.
b)plan for rehabilitating, repairing, renovating and refurbishing blocks of classrooms and building new ones to make the environment an enabling conducive one;
c) make available a list of materials needed by the students ahead of resumption and have them displayed on the notice board or send the messages through online to parents and guardians;
d) school is to organize workshops/ seminars for teachers both new and old on improved methods of teaching and other strategies to making learning more interesting before school fully resumes;
e) teachers should be knowledgeable as regards the content of their subject areas;
f) school may need to meet with parents ahead of resumption to talk about the needs of the learners in terms of school materials, transportation, discipline, mid- day meal, punctuality, truancy and regularity with the sanctions to be imposed on defaulters;
g) the School’s Management Board in conjunction with the ministry of education should post qualified teachers and school counsellors to the school before resumption. Private schools are to do the same and be properly monitored. The idea of transferring or posting teachers when children are already settled to learn is disruptive;
h) schools must plan to start teaching the first day of resumption and the idea of leaving students to be gallivanting about the town and school premises for one or two weeks before settling down must be discouraged;
i) the school is the best place to practise the rules binding COVID-19. So it should insist on them being religiously observed. In addition, the school should provide nose masks, hand sanitizers, water, wash hand basins in different locations within the school compound for effective observance to the laws. A monitoring team must be put in place to maintain the rules and regulations. Enough classrooms for social distancing is very important in schools henceforth;
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j) learning facilities must be made available such as teachers’ textbooks and guide, the school curriculum handbook, school records such as admission and attendance registers diaries, lesson notes, time and movement book, the syllabus, teaching aids and a host of others;
k) the school should plan ahead of resumption to put in place the date for orientation of new and old students. This will help them in adjusting to the new environment, knowing the different locations such as headteachers’ office, the sick bay, school hall and the library;
l) the school administration must plan the budget for the school year on how to source finances and the intended expenses.
Education is the bedrock for a nation’s development. It is instrumental to security, unity and peace. It is therefore the duty of all stakeholders especially parents, the teachers and the learners themselves to endeavour to make success of this enterprise. This should start by making adequate arrangements at the outset of the school year. Morning shows the day, says a Yoruba adage. Parents, children, teachers and the schools should prepare now!
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Toyin Falola: Foremost African Historian Wins Lifetime Achievement Award
By Olusola Ogunnubi
On Wednesday, May 31st, 2023, US-based Nigerian renowned historian, Professor Toyin Falola, was awarded the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS) for his contributions to African Studies. The entire hall was full of elevation, and the side talk was that this was one of the best decisions ever made by CAAS.
CAAS is the umbrella body for scholars and practitioners dedicated to promoting the study of Africa in Canada, and according to its website, the Lifetime Achievement Award is indeed the highest honour of the Association awarded to senior scholars who have been actively involved in CAAS and have retired or about to retire. In the words of Prof Nduka Otiono, President of the Association, “this esteemed accolade recognizes your exceptional contributions, unwavering dedication, and profound impact on the field of African Studies in Canada and beyond”. According to the CAAS website, the selection of Falola for this prestigious award was on the merit of three criteria: (1) a lifetime of sound scholarship, (2) accomplishments (research, teaching and mentoring awards, etc.) and (3) involvement in the activities of CAAS. The award was formally presented to him during the CAAS Annual General Meeting and Conference hosted at York University, where coincidentally, Toyin Falola had been a professor between 1990 and 1991. Prof Falola stands in the illustrious company of previous awardees, including Prof Paul Lovejoy. The CAAS Distinguished Lifetime Award was the first awarded to a scholar in over five years.
Toyin Falola is a professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities. He was also previously The Frances Higginbotham Nalle Centennial Professor in History, a position he held from 1995 to 2012. His research is focused on African History since the nineteenth century, African Diaspora, Epistemologies, Theories and Methodologies. Professor Toyin Falola’s contributions to the field of African Studies and African History have continued to place Africa on the map of global recognition. Not only is Falola’s scholarship recognized globally, but he is also dedicated to mentoring a new generation of young and emerging scholars in the social sciences, arts and humanities. He also convenes the Annual Africa Conference, a platform for knowledge exchange between scholars from Africa and the diaspora. I had the honour of attending the Africa Conference in 2012, where Falola generously accommodated me in his house after the conference along with other guests from Africa. As a postgraduate student attending the conference from South Africa, this short period of interaction would eventually shape my resolve to aspire to greater heights within the academic space.
In 1981, Prof Falola finished his doctorate in History from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), where he completed his thesis on “The Political Economy of Ibadan, c.1830-1900.” Remarkably, more than 40 years after his first PhD, professor Falola earned a D.Litt in African Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 2020. Professor Falola receives 16 honorary doctorates and over 40-lifetime awards from several universities and countries. A brief list includes Monmouth University (2007), City University of New York (2013), Lincoln University (2015), University of Jos (2015), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (2018), Redeemer’s University, Nigeria (2017) Federal University, Lokoja (2021) among others. Falola has also previously been appointed to several distinguished honours, honorary professorships and visiting fellowships at various universities, including the University of Cape Town, South Africa, Centre for African Studies (2018-2022), Olusegun Obasanjo Centre for African Studies, National Open University, Abuja (2019-2021), Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South, Library of Congress (2016), Pontifícia Universidade Católica De São Paulo, Brazil (2007); Humanities Research Council, Australian National University in 1995.
Interestingly, Falola helped organize the CAAS conference at York University in 1991, where he started his career in North America. He had also previously delivered a keynote address at the CAAS Conference 1991 and again at the just concluded 2023 CAAS conference. In over 40 years since he left Canada for the US, Falola has continued to make an impact on the Canadian and the North American academic landscape in general through his invaluable contribution to CAAS, serving as external examiner to major Canadian universities, including Queen’s University, York University, Trent University, Dalhousie University and the University of Toronto, helping to shape the academic depth of the African Studies programs in Canada and being a mentor to Canada-based Africanist scholars. Notably, Falola has supervised over 100 Master’s thesis and Doctoral dissertations in History and African Studies and examined countless theses and dissertations. CAAS also acknowledges and recognizes Falola’s invaluable contribution as a reviewer for the Canadian Journal of African Studies and his longstanding role as a member of the editorial board of the Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora at York University.
Given his excellent and distinguished scholarship and its impact across disciplines, it is not surprising that this is not the first such prestigious lifetime award that Prof Falola has received. Some of his previous awards include the Distinguished Africanist Award in 2011 by the African Studies Association (ASA), which is the largest global Association by scholars of Africa, Nigeria’s highest National Merit Award – Member of Order of the Niger (MON) awarded by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2022, Award of Excellence in recognition of support of tertiary education by Lagos State University in August 2022, Distinguished Award for Intellectual Contributions to Knowledge and Scholarship, University of Abuja, Nigeria (July 2021), Distinguished Award for Scholarship and Mentorship, Babcock University, (June 2021), Distinguished Africana Award, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (April 2011) among many others.
Several celebratory legacies and honours have also been named in recognition of Falola’s exemplary contribution and scholarship to African Studies. One such honour is the Toyin Falola Annual Conference on Africa and the African Diaspora (TOFAC), inaugurated in 2011 by the University of Ibadan Cultural Group (ICSG). TOFAC is a huge annual conference convened in an African university on different themes. Also, the Toyin Falola Book Award is administered by the Association of Global South Studies for the best book on Africa. Lunaris Review also awards the Toyin Falola Literary Prize, named after him for his contributions to advancing African cultures, people, and histories. Falola is also Series Editor for at least a dozen monographs and Encyclopaedias and has served on several Book Prize Committees.
Professor Falola has also led major academic associations, including as President of the African Studies Association (2014-2015) and the Nigerian Studies Association (2005-2007). He has also received several traditional titles, including the Bobagbimo of Ugboland in 2014, the Agbakin of Kusela-Ibadan in 2022 and Nii Kpani Ashaabla 1 of Adabraka Otukpai Palace, Accra, Ghana, among others.
Receiving the Award at the ceremony held to round off the CAAS conference, Falola expressed his gratitude to the Board and Members of the Association, seeing the recognition as a responsibility to continue to do more to extend the frontiers of African epistemic traditions. Falola lauds the Association for leading the intellectual path for the advancement of African Studies globally through the creation of opportunities for critical debates, research engagements, knowledge exchange and interactive space between academia, government and other non-state actors to drive policies and a commitment to ensuring that the systemic issues that Africa and Africans face are confronted through meaningful scholarship.
Professor Falola is today honoured because he’s been a solid and unforgettable part of CAAS’s contribution to African Studies. Prof Falola is humble to the core, and there’s a lot that old and new scholars in the field can learn from his humanity, simplicity and sincere concern for the academic well-being of everyone.
. Ogunnubi writes from the Department of Political Studies, Queen’s University, Canada.
Ama Ata Aidoo: A Gallant Intellectual
By Toyin Falola
Our encounters were not limited to knowledge sharing. Yes, this is important, as Ama Ata Aidoo and Ngugi wa Thiong’o were among those who read the draft of my first memoir, A Mouth Sweeter Than Salt. It was mutual, as she also gave me a few drafts to read. Then we met in Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and the United States. The most memorable was at Smith College, where we spent a semester together, seeing twice a week. A great cook, I took delight in consuming her egusi soup. I felt emotionally sad to be one of the earliest to know of her death and had to announce it on several platforms. It was a privilege to do a short tribute on May 31, 2023, at the recently concluded Canadian Association of African Studies held at York University, Toronto.
Ama and I were on first-person name salutations. She musically pronounced my name, Toyyin, adding “y” and refusing to let go. I reciprocated and called her “Amami, Mamami” to return the musical song. She knew when to provoke me. I was also a master at teasing her by making a patriarchal statement, to which she would immediately respond. I knew the Ghanaian presidents she could not stand, the ministers she detested, and I would say, “Amami, Mamami, you know I miss President Dash!”
Mamami reminds me that at several points in life, especially during childhood, most humans have lofty dreams and ambitions. For many, those dreams and ambitions will only come to represent “the good old days when life was simple,” never seeing the light of reality — especially if the dreamer is limited by one or several factors like poverty, country of birth, a lack of education, poor nutrition, and a limit in both exposure and cross-cultural experiences. For others, opportunity and preparation help them realize their dreams. This day, you’re stuck with your convictions, committed to your beliefs, and working to support the causes that align with your values. The next day, you have transcended into a realm larger than life — larger than a single lifetime that any human could have.
Since Aidoo shed her robe of the human hood and took on the next adventure in existence, the news headlines that made the rounds about her death seemed to have some common words: Ghana, Ghanaian, literary icon, author, and feminist. However, Aidoo can be qualified by more than those words that made up the news headlines of her death. For one, I chose to describe her as Africa’s gallant intellectual and literary general because although she is proudly Ghanaian, her life, works, and impacts transcend one country — they have been for Africa, from within Africa’s Golden State. It’s understandable that the reporters, especially those of foreign media houses, might have chosen to be specific about her country to avoid backlash on the Western world not doing enough research to report African news contextually. But in the case of this eminent scholar and what she has lived for, she is our collective heroine.
Professor Aidoo knew what it meant to have a purpose, define existence, and stay true to one’s causes, so much so that a legacy is built, intentionally or not. She lived for Africa; she lived for the rights of African women; she dedicated her life to documenting African realities and deconstructing erroneous notions of what Africa is, who Africans are, and what the realities of Africans and their continent are. She lived a wholesome and fulfilled life — an 81-year-old is old enough to join the sacred ancestors in many African cultures and societies. Nevertheless, no matter how old our loved ones are at the time of death, our insatiable human nature and the prospect of their absence, our loss, and our longing will always douse our mood at the reception of the news.
Nature and nurture come to play in forming the formidable intellectual and literary general that Aidoo was. Grounded in the history and exploits of her people from early on, Aidoo envisioned the life of an author for herself— seeing it as the best way to document histories and put the stories she had heard and was living into the hands of many others to make impacts. She was one of Africa’s generals, not on the battlefield during the world wars but on the intellectual battlegrounds of academic and literary imperialism. While staying vocal through her writings and words, Aidoo fought for Africa and did so proudly. She was instrumental in spotlighting some of the biggest issues African women have faced in decades. In so doing, she drew the admiration of Africans, especially African women, who came to see her as a mother, mentor, and idol.
Aidoo made great impacts, and they reverberate so much so that death is not finality for her. From her poems to her novels and plays, the literary world will continue to make reference to, discuss, critique, and base other works on the foundation of what Aidoo did during her lifetime. That is her legacy, which has inherently conferred on her the goddess status. She might have left her mortal body, but she lives on and among us through her works.
Although she was better known for her writings, activism, advocacies, and feminism, Aidoo’s life was an excellent demonstration of walking the talk and living one’s words. She will be remembered back home in Ghana as a literary heroine and a patriotic countrywoman with a deep desire to help catalyze her country’s development. Convinced that the Minister of Education role would afford her that opportunity, she accepted her appointment by the government in 1982. However, like several of the recently independent African states then, she soon discovered that the people in power mostly wanted the best hands without wanting those hands to go to work in a way that would benefit the country. Seeing as her lofty visions for the Ghanaian education system would never materialize because of the Council, Aidoo resigned from the position and dedicated herself to excellence in teaching in the Ghanaian tertiary education system, which she served assiduously for decades.
Aidoo never minced words about her criticism of the Western world and its role in the colonization of Africa, which has metamorphosed into colonialism and is being continuously modified to withstand and survive the agitations of intellectual and well-meaning, patriotic Africans. She is famously known for commenting on how Europe has been tirelessly milking Africa of its human, mineral, natural, artificial, and artistic resources for over 500 years. Aidoo’s vocal nature in decrying the covert and subtle neocolonialist efforts from the West earned her transgenerational reverence among her peers and even the younger generation.
One of the distinguishing traits of her feminism is adapting the African communal and tight-knit nature of pre-colonial communities into the formation and interactions of the women communities on the continent. This manifests in how renowned feminists like Aidoo and Professor Bolanle Awe take several other women under their wings and groom them. As the mother hen readily spreads her feathers to protect her children, Aidoo supported the feminist communities and female writers and authors. This is evident in her many engagements with these communities, as recently as 2021, at the Kwame Nkrumah Festival in Ghana. Aidoo’s life has inspired many of these young women in academia and the literary world. It has helped them understand that they can also dream and aim for their dreams.
Many of those she assisted, whether they had only met her through her work or had the opportunity to meet her physically, shared a special bond with her, so much so that until her death, she was popularly known as (m)Ama Ata Aidoo — the bracketed “m” signaling a prefix to form “Mama,” the African name for mother. Aidoo lives on through the many people she’s inspired with her work. Many found meaning through her work; they found reasons to be conscious as Africans, appreciate their African identity, deconstruct erroneous notions of colonialism, and recognize the ills of the colonial system and its impacts on Africa. She was a fierce and vocal general in her advocacy against the misrepresentations of African women and African stories, but she was a soft and accommodating mother to many.
Mamami, you earned your position among Africa’s most revered and respected literary icons, and now, you have donned the cloak of immortality through the body of your work. Beyond your existence, you live on. In that instance, death as the finality we have come to know ceases to be the end. A literary icon would then have attained the status of a god. You will be sorely missed. Africa’s academia will feel the void of the inputs you could still have made if you were here. However, our solace lies in the fact that no one can ever do enough and that, taking your exploits and achievements in the context of the impacts they have had and continue to have, you did your best. For that, we are grateful.
Farewell, Amami Mamami! May your journey in the next phase of life be easier!
TB Joshua: Remembering Exit Of A World Changer
By Dare Adejumo
The month of June is a significant month in the annals of Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN). It is the month of the birth and passing of its founder, Prophet TB Joshua, that great world changer.
Its fifth day makes the second year of his glorious exit from earth and on the twelfth, the great man of God who cherished marking his birthdays would have been 60 years old.
Nations across the world would have been agog for an extraordinary prophet of God whose footprints of wonderful deeds touching the lives of millions across the globe remain in the sand of time. TB Joshua came to revitalize the face of Christianity and made the physiognomy of practical Christian living as given by Jesus Christ already in abeyance real to mankind once again.
There’s no hide and seek in his life. He was love personified. The humbliest human being I have ever come across. Firm and stern, even in his moment of severity, you would still find love encapsulated. You could not offend him. He’s extra sensitive with propulsively radiating wisdom, unfathomable knowledge of life, charming and a paragon of magnetically illuminating character. He was completely acidic to vanity, envy, jealousy, human comparison, imitation, vulgarity and wonton desires. He described them as some of those “foolish things” not to be entertained for a moment in one’s life.
Pastor TB Joshua
TB Joshua was a divinely self-made man. Here was a man with little elementary education. Yet with your degrees, erudition and western exposure, you would be humbled by the self-discovery of your personal hollowness or quasi- emptiness when you sat to discuss or share a view with TB Joshua, a shy village man. TB Joshua was an attestation to God’s omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence and greatness that lay in simplicity.
I personally witnessed several cases of some other so-called men of God who out of ignorance and envy were once persecuting him but after receiving the touch of God in different dimensions including mere touching of EMMANUEL TV while praying came to weep before God for forgiveness. Joshua would only say to them: ” I didn’t fire one single arrow back from all your arrows against me; otherwise you won’t be here today to talk. One thing we should always know is this: I did not choose myself to do God’s work. He in His wisdom just chose me and I know He is with me. God would never give anybody this kind of power He gave me if the person would use it for selfish purposes or against his perceived enemies. No!”
TB Joshua was a puzzle, an enigma. He was the light shining in darkness that many couldn’t comprehend. He looked too simple and ordinary having not been commissioned by the earthly papacy or religious authorities of the day and for him to be performing miracles of diverse kinds like breathing. This was clearly indescribable, incomprehensible, a mystery and shocker to the spiritual ignoramuses and empty flamboyant oratorical, motivational preachers with big congregations.
That great English thinker and philosopher John Locke once said: “New opinions are always suspected and usually opposed without any other reason but because they are not already common”. In God’s adamantine and inscrutable will, TB Joshua came to the scene when the acts of Christianity seen in Jesus Christ and His early desciples and apostles as captured in the Bible were gradually becoming moonlight tales to this generation. Religious leaders had already metamorphosed to careerism and polarised with pervasive unhealthy cacophonous standards. It was obvious that these religious leaders no longer knew what they were doing then even till today in several quarters without any tangible impacts in the lives of atrophied worshippers!
That was the turning point.There was no way TB Joshua could have had it easier. He faced satanic conspiracies and persecution galore, but the man remained focused with unmitigated perseverance, vision and mission of his divine assignments which he tenaciously upheld victoriously till the last.
He took his persecution joyfully and that conspiracy against him at home launched him to the outside world in God’s agenda and design for his mission on earth.
Hear him: “I began discovering the good life when I was only 15 years. My objectives and motives were determined at once. I wanted what God wanted and I wanted it for the reason God wanted it”. That’s prophet TB Joshua for you. Till the end he carried his childhood with him, with malice to no one but love, charity and firmness to all in God’s righteousness. To him love is pure. Take good care of your heart because that is your communicating point with God and must ever remain pure to know and flow with Him. You can never love God if you don’t love your neighbours and your neighbours include your percieved enemies, those not in the same faith with you, the poor and those in need who you must give love unconditionally.
This Godly character often made TB Joshua to be misrepresented by low spiritual human beings whenever they saw him attend to other people who were not Christians just as his Master, Jesus was accused of dining with republicans and sinners which made the religious authorities persecute Him.
The truth of humanity as once put by that foremost existentialist Italian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is that history would always repeat itself because man would never learn from history. Many never discovered Joshua not until he had departed! What a painful loss.
You could never find TB Joshua criticizing or talking about other men of God. He moved on quietly on his own even though he lamented the pervasive discrimination and disunity in Christendom.
Several people from other churches who received healings and miracles in his church, Synagogue Church Of All Nations SCOAN wanted to come and do thanksgiving in his church but Joshua would not allow them. “Go back to you church and do your thanksgiving and give your offering there. We are the same. God had already answered your prayers there before you came here” for you to see how selfless he was in all his dealings.
TB Joshua was more interested in the quality of your Christian life and character. He would ask you: “Do you hear from God? Do you listen to Him? Does He speak with you? Do you know how much you need Him? Do you have a relationship with Him?” The God’s general believed that your highest achievement on earth was to hear from God.
To TB Joshua, Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God. If you don’t have that relationship with Him you have missed it and you are worshipping in vain. “How can you be worshipping God you don’t know?” He would jerk up his congregants to move away from spiritual docility, complacency and indolence.
TB Joshua was never an academic preacher. He spoke words of life that transformed lives of ardent and fervent seekers of God and salvation.
I remember a female nurse I once encountered when she came to treat a patient as she stood looking at EMMANUEL TV. On enquiries whether she knew of the television station, she said that she used to attend SCOAN. “I was a nurse and member of the church’s medical team. Then the church was not rich, just managing to survive. It was what happened during the man of God’s birthday that made me stop going and besides I had relocated to a farther distance. We all on our own contributed money to give TB Joshua as a present. When we got there to present it, the man just asked us to put all the money in one sack. He asked us to choose some people among us to take the whole money to the disabled people’s home at Oko Baba. He instructed that one of us should just dip his or her hand in the sack and be distributing the money to them one by one with whatever the hand could gather at once like that to the less privileged living there and nothing should be left in the sack. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked that the man could take everything there like that not minding that the church itself was very poor”. This woman completely missed the beauty of life and essence of humanity the prophet symbolized. TB Joshua believed your giving is only meaningful when you give what you cherish most. He would never give in half measures. He was extraordinarily generous and at home in humility with all categories of people as a friend however commonised other people may look at them. Every human being is unique and important to TB Joshua and must be treated with dignity.
TB Joshua was never a burden to anyone but carried all human burdens that crossed his paths. He was the only man of God holding crusade abroad without asking for any donations or collecting offering from worshippers. He would rather go there with loads of charity works for people and the country. There was a time in Cameroon when the airwave was jammed with announcements that TB Joshua would be coming to hold a crusade in Yaounde, asking for people to donate money. This was a scam because the scammers were capitalizing on Joshua’s popularity and the perceived pressure of the country’s request for his crusade program in Cameroon. TB Joshua in holy anger countered the announcements saying: ” That cannot be my TB Joshua of Synagogue Church Of All Nations SCOAN. I have no plan to go to Cameroon. God has not directed me to go there. Have you ever seen my pictures or envelopes asking for donation of money from anyone or anywhere? Please disregard this announcement. When God gives you an assignment He would also send to you what you would need through His chosen vessels”. This is a symbolic message for you to differentiate the chalk from the cheese in the religiously distorted world. He never allowed himself for a moment to be carried away by anything.
The lofty principles and legacies of TB Joshua remain enduring and a high watershed in Christendom. The joy today is that SCOAN is in the capable hand of a down-to-earth and visionary successor, Pastor Evelyn Joshua, a woman who had gone through the spiritual mills and rigorous discipline of TB Joshua the spiritual mentor extraordinaire who strongly believed that life’s biggest decision is what you do with Jesus.
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