By Jojo Kwebena
I was shocked to read the statements attributed to Prof. Wole Soyinka this morning in the Punch Newspaper in which he blindly attacked Prophet TB Joshua over the building incident at The SCOAN almost seven years ago.
“Look at TB Joshua for instance whose chapel of whatever it is in Lagos, collapsed on the congregation,” the Nobel laureate is quoted as saying.
“This is somebody who should have been charged for carelessness, for flouting the laws required for setting up public establishments. The next thing he said is that ‘Oh! It was an air force plane that was hovering around that cracked the walls and buried humanity’. Has he been brought to trial till today?”
While Soyinka’s statement reek of ignorance about the sad and shocking events that transpired that day, its noteworthy to consider the timing of his verbal attack.
The previous day, Joshua released the video of a prophecy he gave in July 2014 in which he declared “Nigeria would remain one” and emerge a “giant nation” despite the crisis of insecurity engulfing it.
Joshua equally warned the “political class” of impending consequences for their contributions to Nigeria’s dilemma.
Clearly this prophecy irked Soyinka, perhaps because of the unfortunate role he has played in our current quagmire as one of those who misled Nigeria into thinking Buhari would be a ‘savior’.
Soyinka chose to vent his frustrations by targeting Joshua over a completely unrelated topic, exposing his bias and bigotry in the process.
The video clip showing the plane encircling the ill-fated building at The SCOAN and the sudden manner of its implosion has been widely circulated and is available online for all curious observers.
To suggest Joshua should face prosecution for an attack levelled against his church – West Africa’s foremost religious tourist destination and one of Nigeria’s most well-known landmarks – is not only abhorrent but indicative of a much wider issue of unwarranted persecution against The SCOAN Founder.
More surprising is the fact that both Wole Soyinka and TB Joshua are prominent and celebrated Yoruba citizens.
Just a few years ago, TB Joshua was named ‘Yoruba Man of The Decade’ and Soyinka crowed ‘Yoruba Man of The Year’ by Pan African media outlet ‘IrohinOodua’.
It is pertinent to note that Prof Soyinka made no reference to the Reigners Bible Church that unfortunately collapsed during a service attended by the Akwa-Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel.
Indeed, that case has gone completely under the radar owing to the fact that the Governor recognized the circumstances surrounding the incident as reflective of something more sinister than mere structural failures.
Soyinka’s surprising attack on his Yoruba brother has, however, elicited a plethora of angry reactions from citizens who turned the tables on him.
“He should be arrested for that statement. He may be responsible for the collapse of the building,” fumed Cephas Thaddeaus on Facebook.
“I think it’s time to revoke the title of ‘Professor’ from this man,” added Iduh Emmanuel. “Why can’t you talk about the issues on ground and the government you helped bring to power?”
“You must be an evil man to maintain that the structure collapsed even after seeing the video,” wrote Jossymoore Ukaku.
Others stated Soyinka had “lost his integrity” for such brazen statements and reminded him of the raging cultism issues facing Nigerian universities, which he was instrumental in introducing.
If Soyinka’s conscience is disturbing him in the light of TB Joshua’s prophecy, this misguided attack only served to expose him as one of the people Joshua referred to who heavily contributed to Nigeria’s current crisis. Judgment is nigh!