Traditional rulers in Akoko, Ondo State have unanimously applauded Nigerian Pastor T.B. Joshua for his humanitarian efforts in their region.

In an interview with National Forefront Newspaper based in Ibadan, Oba Akadiri Saliu Momoh, the Olukare of Ikare, described the cleric as ‘God’s gift’ to the community.

“The generosity of the prophet is incomparable. No matter whom you are, he is always willing to assist,” said Momoh, who claimed he had known Joshua since 1985 and his Muslim faith was no barrier to their cordial relationship.

“To our community in Akoko, we could not have prayed for a Divine gift more than Prophet T.B. Joshua. He is God sent to us. He is our pride; he is our son,” the Olukare stated.

“That we have constant electricity in Akoko Division now is due to his generosity. When we were looking for money to offset the bills, he was the one that paid the N32m required… His footprints are in all areas of human endeavours here.”

His sentiment was similarly shared by Oba Yisa Olanipekun Abu, the Zaki of Arigidi which happens to be Joshua’s hometown.

“He is making waves in religious and tourism development all over the world and this town, Arigidi, his native town, is not an exception,” the Oba declared.

The Zaki recounted a time he was returning from Kenya to Nigeria to discover the flight filled to capacity with pilgrims travelling to Joshua’s church, all adorned in attire emblazoned with the logo of ‘Emmanuel TV’.

“Basking in the euphoria of this international display, I made them realise I was the traditional king of his native town. You could see the excitement on their faces. I was very proud to be associated with him,” he recollected.

The traditional ruler recounted further displays of generosity by Joshua over the years. “Prophet T.B. Joshua has touched this community in all areas. About three months ago, during our traditional Yam Festivals, he gave out over 500 bags of rice to each of the quarters in addition to N2m cash… You would equally have heard about his donation of nine Hilux patrol vehicles to the security agents, to secure the security system in Akoko Division in Ondo State… Lest I forget, about two years ago, the Prophet sent a lot of money to renovate the Okota School and also Ajiroke Grammar Schools. These institutions now wear a new look!”

A respected octogenarian and local hotelier, Alhaji Semu Semu, also spoke to the newspaper of Joshua’s philanthropy.

“He is a philanthropist to the core,” Semu stated. “He has impacted positively on the lives of both old and young in this community… It is on record that his gestures are spread towards all the nooks and crannies of Ondo State.”

The Alhaji similarly acknowledged Joshua’s charity as one being untainted by religious or ethnic sentiments.

“One interesting thing about the Prophet is that his generosity knows no religious boundaries. For example, I am a Muslim and I have cause to visit him in his Church at Lagos. His gestures surpass religious affiliations. He has at various times donated generously to the Mosques and he participated financially in all Muslim festivals and other Islamic activities. He has built homes and provided shelter for many people in this community.”

Nosa Osazuwa is a writer based in Lagos, Nigeria