Evelyn Joshua has become the head of one of Africa’s most influential evangelical churches, but the 52-year-old is faced with the challenge of maintaining her late husband’s legacy.
TB Joshua’s unexpected death in June at the age of 57 unleashed a succession battle that took months to resolve.
But the giant gates at his Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Nigeria’s commercial capital have swung open again to welcome worshippers for the first time in five months.
He was famous for his prophecies and self-proclaimed miracles, attracting tens of thousands from across the world to Lagos, including top politicians from Africa and Latin America.
In 2009 she described herself as someone with special talents in the ministry of reconciliation – “parents-children relationships, marriage and things like that”.
Nigeria’s mega pastors often say they have had a biblical calling – like the prophets Samuel and Paul – to serve God.
According to TB Joshua, his came during a three-day trance when he heard a voice saying: “I am your God. I am giving you a divine commission to go and carry out the work of the heavenly father.”
Mrs Joshua has not said if she has received such a calling, but for some her association with her husband is enough.
“TB Joshua was a prophet by birth, but his wife has become a prophet by inclination. Husband and wife have become one, so by that union he has extended the anointing to her,” said Mr Iwelunmo.
Though some widows of Nigerian church leaders, such as Janet Onaolapo of Abundant Life Gospel Mission and Margaret Idahosa of the Church of God Mission International, have made a success of their ministries, these are outliers.
Most Nigerian Pentecostal churches are built around the charisma of their founders and tend to decline when they die.
Mr Osinaike suggests this may be the fate for SCOAN.
“When it comes to church matters people are looking for solution, they are looking for prophecies, they are looking for who has seen a vision for them,” he says.
“The tempo [at SCOAN] will definitely go down.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/sbAeDH2HSys?enablejsapi=1&autoplay=0&cc_load_policy=0&cc_lang_pref=&iv_load_policy=1&loop=0&modestbranding=0&rel=1&fs=1&playsinline=0&autohide=2&theme=dark&color=red&controls=1& 0