The #TBJoshua Bribe Saga: Another Perspective, By Ihechukwu Njoku
The writer sent this in, calling it an open letter to Nicholas Ibekwe, the reporter who exposed the payments of bribe to Nigerian journalists by Temitope Joshua, the founder of the The Synagogue Church of all Nations.
First, thanks for standing up for your moral principles this week! I appreciate your zeal and bold resolve to let integrity lead in your journalistic pursuits.
My name is Ihechukwu Njoku, a freelancer currently in Lagos. Let me be honest – a brief online check will show that I am a fan of TBJ, evidenced in my numerous write-ups about The SCOAN. I am not however a ‘church spokesman’ as a few people have insinuated due to the positive focus of my reports.
Before placing me in any stereotypical mould, I am not here to declare some ‘Deuteronomy-style’ curse on your head or quote the whole ‘touch not my anointed’ jargon as I know some other religious fanatics
(nutheads) have done.
I simply wish to express my own personal observations of this current ‘bribe-saga’ in the hope that it may also help clarify a couple of things.
I agree 100% that journalism in Nigeria is darkened by a cloud of corruption where truth is doctored to suit the political will of the paymasters with ‘brown envelopes’ running the show behind the scenes.
This deserves denunciation and renunciation at every available opportunity by all who believe ‘the pen is mightier than the sword’.
I would sincerely, however, paint a different picture in the case of T.B. Joshua – based on my own personal experiences and the principles Joshua has espoused and stood for over the years.
I am not sure how well you know TBJ or SCOAN but I would say first of all that it would be impromptu to use this particular tragic incident and the church’s rather unusual reaction to it as a yardstick to determine his integrity.
I have watched Emmanuel TV for nearly five years and visited The SCOAN several times during this period. I was initially very skeptical but what caught my attention was the sheer simplicity of Joshua’s message and lifestyle. He is a fresh exception to the ‘money-mongering’ ‘private-jet-boasting’ lifestyles of most Naija men of God today.
Joshua lives simply, drives simply, dresses simply, talks simply… he is hands-down the most humble, generous and unusual man I’ve met.
The first time I met T.B. Joshua (without him knowing I was into a journalism and without my asking), he gave me N10,000 for ‘transport’.
Where I lived only needed about N500 to get there! There was no condition attached or surreptitious motive at play. That’s just the type of man T.B. Joshua is – a good giver. Ask anyone who knows about
SCOAN and they will tell you the same. That’s why I termed him unusual. Such attitude is so rare to find in Nigeria that the insinuations and connotations you arrived at in the light of what he offered you last Sunday are completely understandable.
Don’t think I am naïve! Of course, the money offered by Joshua to you and other journalists last week was certainly influenced by the situation on ground. However, it does not change the truth that this has been Joshua’s habitual practice – not only to journalists but to anyone he meets. Don’t judge by my perception alone – ask anyone who has met him and has not left with some form of blessing.
Besides, what facts are really there to be ‘covered up’ by this ‘bribe’ in an international incident of this magnitude? The money,either received or rejected, didn’t change the facts that the
I could say a lot more but I’m not here to preach. I am just positing that there is more to T.B. Joshua than could be appreciated on a first encounter in a challenging scenario.
My candid advice is to take some time to watch Emmanuel TV, even if you consider yourself ‘unreligious’. Watch the man, listen to what he has to say over a significant period of time and in the light of such,
arrive at your conclusion. After all, for over 360 South Africans to take the long journey to Lagos, ignoring the fears of Ebola and Boko Haram, show he certainly has something worth looking at.
That’s just my two cents.