THE TB JOSHUA PHENOMENON IN CAMEROON
As a keen observer of what I will term 'The T.B. Joshua Phenomenon' in Cameroon, I must confess the recent reportage relating to the famed prophet by our media-friends is shocking to say the least. I struggle to comprehend why someone who should be honoured and celebrated as a symbol of hope for our continent is being painted in such a derogatory and contentious light. I don't know the puppeteer behind these prejudiced stories, but they are nothing but vicious and malicious attempts to sensationalise and scandalise a humble man of God. Yes, I called him a 'man of God', a term so abused, misused and commercialised today that people don't understand its gravity. I personally see the reports as nothing but devilish tools attempting to deceive and discourage sick Cameroonians from receiving from God through The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).
What irritates me is the fact that hearsay and stereotype seems to have played more of a role than truth and legitimacy in these reports. I am a personal witness to Prophet T.B. Joshua's positive effect on countless thousands of Cameroonians who trooped to The SCOAN in despair and sickness, leaving with hope and healing. At a time the Cameroonian press are meant to highlight testimonies of those who have been healed and restored through his ministry, they are using his fatherland and the dubious pedigree of his countrymen as a yardstick for determining his own effectiveness and genuineness. It appears some ulterior political motives are at work.
Coming to Mr Henri Eyebe Ayissi's 'warning', I have not witnessed such monumental neglect of responsibility, craftily hidden underneath the name of T.B. Joshua. Does what happens to you on a journey bear any semblance whatsoever to the integrity of the destination? Does T.B. Joshua ask people to leave their country unprepared or take an illegal route to reach his church? Is T.B. Joshua responsible for what happens to the millions travelling en route from Calabar to Lagos? Why then is his name dragged in the mud because of antics of the desperate and ill-fated few? It is clear that the government is using T.B. Joshua as a scapegoat in order to shirk responsibility for their travelling citizens, a sad sight to behold.
Well, amidst the duplicity of our officials, there is some good news. Any viewer of Emmanuel TV last Sunday would have been joyous to see one of T.B. Joshua's Wise Men by name John Chi testify to his Cameroonian roots and rise from house boy to apostleship in The Synagogue, immediately followed by the healing of a Cameroonian man restricted to a wheelchair for four years. Our prayer now is that the prophet would release John Chi to return home so that people can avoid the travelling troubles and receive their freedom on Cameroonian soil, as well as putting to rest the rumour-mongering.
As for the cynics and sceptics who have already insinuated that I am perhaps on the pastor's pay-roll, I am a simple Cameroonian Catholic born in Douala who has visited The SCOAN just once. When I visited, I was treated with exceptional cordiality, received healing to a series of severe chest pains that doctors couldn't diagnose or treat and met over 300 Cameroonians on Sunday who were all unanimous in their appraisal and approval of the prophet. And no government communiqué or doctored media report will change my strong convictions. I advise all whose judgements about T.B. Joshua have been crystallised through speculation and gossip to take time out and watch Emmanuel TV yourself.
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Eric Abena – currently in London, United Kingdom