Respected Nigerian Pastor TB Joshua was personally received by South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit during a visit to the East African nation in which he led the President and government officials in prayer for peace.
In the morning of Tuesday 12th November 2019, the President and First Lady welcomed Joshua upon his arrival at Juba International Airport, alongside government dignitaries and an ecstatic crowd of locals.
President Mayardit was joined by his Vice President, James Wani Igga, and a host of other senior government officials as the Nigerian cleric addressed the nation at the Presidential Palace.
“Time has come for us to put our differences behind us,” Joshua told the thousands of South Sudanese who gathered to hear his message.
“This is the voice of God. Our leaders should overcome their division and agree to work together for the good of the country,” he insisted in the address, which was televised live on South Sudan’s official broadcasting channel SSBC.
Joshua stated that “peace has no price”, adding that he resolved to visit the nation despite its reputation for ‘instability’ stemming from the civil war that has raged for almost six years.
He further described the South Sudanese as “intelligent, hardworking and ambitious people”, explaining how he came across them in every country he travelled to.
“Let us overcome our divisions and allow them to come back and develop their fatherland,” he passionately counselled.
“The issue of this nation is spiritual. We need to tackle it spiritually,” Joshua further admonished, stressing that his message was ‘from God’.
“If I am a prophet, this will not go without fulfilment,” he boldly declared.
Joshua then led the troubled nation in prayer for peace. “Have mercy on the nation. Let the leaders and citizens of South Sudan obtain Your mercy. Thank You for Your compassion and forgiveness,” he prayed, joined fervently by the President and his people.
In his short remarks, President Salva Kiir Mayardit stated that he believed the coming of the cleric would signal a new beginning in the nation.
“We have come a long distance searching for peace. Now that the man of God, Prophet TB Joshua, has come to South Sudan, I believe peace is at the corner,” he declared, adding that the cleric had ‘done his job’ and the onus was now on South Sudan’s leaders to do theirs.
After the address, Joshua – accompanied by his wife Evelyn and led by a large convoy of South Sudan’s military – visited the President’s personal home and prayed with his family.
TB Joshua, who wields huge levels of influence due to the popularity of his Christian television network Emmanuel TV, made a similar journey to Tanzania four years ago where he was received by President John Magufuli, who describes the cleric as his ‘mentor’.
Other African Presidents to have visited his popular church in Nigeria include the late Ghanaian leader John Atta Mills, former Malawian President Joyce Banda and Liberia’s President George Weah.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, has been in the throes of civil war since 2013 after a fall-out between President Mayardit and his Vice President Riek Machar.
Multiple reconciliatory efforts have been made to restore peace, including a visit to Pope Francis in Vatican City where he famously kissed the feet of both leaders.
Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist…