Enough about TB Joshua, What about Other Daddy G.Os?

By Olayemi Olaniyi Jan14,2024 #TB Joshua
TB Joshua and some Daddy GOs
TB Joshua and other Daddy GOs

A few days ago, I shared my thoughts on the recent BBC documentary on the late TB Joshua. Though I often pride myself on intellectual honesty, based on some of the reactions I got, it seemed I wasn’t quite objective. According to someone, it appeared I had a lot of preconceived notions about TB Joshua and despite my admission that the documentary provided very little evidence to substantiate the claims made by TB Joshua’s former disciples, my bias got the better of my commentary. 

One of the hazards of social commentary is people will not always agree with you. And that’s fine. But it’s a different thing when you fall short of your professed beliefs. Looking back, I went harder on TB Joshua than I should have. I gave him very little grace and the benefit of the doubt. But if it means anything, I went hard because I’ve had a chip on my shoulder against the Nigerian church for a while, not because I’m a fanatic atheist, but actually because I’m a fan of Christianity and I just cannot stand the glaring corruption and abuse perpetuated by pastors under the imprimatur of their calling. I believe the Nigerian church has an enviable position of influence to act not only as the custodian of morals (a role it has failed woefully at in recent decades) but also to help stir the country to the path of growth and development. The reactions I got gave me a practical idea of Roland Barthes’ Death of the Author. 

What I want to do here is explore further my original intention of calling out the corruption going on in the church. Certainly, TB Joshua is not the first and only pastor with a rap sheet of allegations. But for some reason, his controversies are often sensationalised in ways those of other pastors aren’t. And that shows the cognitive bias that informed the reactions to the documentary. Similar allegations have been made against respected pastors affectionately called Daddy GOs*. Yet, they’ve garnered less sensationalism and people have afforded them more grace than they gave to TB Joshua.

To be fair, one of the things I admire about the Christian faith is how it allows for free speech. Christians tend not to shy away from calling out pastors when they err. You hardly find that in other religions. Perhaps, this is one of the legacies of the Protestant Reformation. Denominational Christianity provides a natural system of checks and balances. In this sense, Christians have always been the ones coming out with pitchforks when allegations are made against pastors. But even so, there is a line most Christians tend not to cross especially when it concerns respectable Daddy GOs. They tend to give them the presumption of innocence and in fact, wave allegations against them as being masterminded by the devil to bring them down. But TB Joshua never enjoyed that level of grace. Why?

In my previous article, I argued that TB Joshua was treated as a pariah by the Christian community. Other pastors did not fraternise with him even though by every metric, he was the most successful among them. His church was not part of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) or the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). He was ostracised mainly because he was never seen by many as being called by God. They alleged he drew from dark powers. And despite all his successes, he could not beat the allegations. Hence, people are naturally biased in believing whatever allegations are made against him than say a respected Enoch Adeboye or W.F Kumuyi. 

My brother sent me a link yesterday to remind me of a tragedy that happened in a Deeper Life Bible Church campground in 2012 which led to the death of five people including two children. They died when a pillar collapsed on them during a rainstorm. I’d completely forgotten about this incident. I do not recall so much outcry against Kumuyi or Deeper Life over the deaths of the victims. I was raised in Deeper Life and I can attest to how the church pays very little attention to the structural integrity of its buildings, especially its campgrounds. That happened and to the best of my knowledge, no one in Deeper Life was held accountable for that tragedy. No justice was given to the victims. 

Church collapse is not that uncommon in the country. In 2016, a Reigners Bible church building collapsed in Uyo killing anywhere between 23 and 160 people. Again, to my knowledge, no one was arrested. If anything, the Akwa Ibom state government rejected the pastor’s indictment by the commission of inquiry which investigated the incident. I must admit that time befogs my memory so I can’t recall the extent to which Nigerians demanded justice for the victims. But I do know that we did not demand justice for the victims of last year’s Dunamis church collapse in Benue state. Yet Nigerians rightly demanded justice for the victims of the 2014 SCOAN building collapse. Are some lives more equal than others?

TB Joshua gave failed prophecies. And so has Adeboye, Primate Ayodele and others. A certain prophet Ijinla was once alleged to have consulted a witch in a leaked audio recording. Why have they been subjected to far less criticism than TB Joshua? This is not me attempting to defend TB Joshua. This is me saying that the rules must be applied equally. 

If you give your favourite Daddy GOs the presumption of innocence when they are embroiled in controversies, then you should not be mad at TB Joshua’s followers for dismissing the allegations. We sadly pick and choose what is convenient for us, especially when it comes to religion. I wish that weren’t the case. I wish people could attempt to be objective and rise beyond their cognitive bias. Being intellectually honest is not always a pleasurable experience. There will be times when you have to choose between logical consistency and your ideological leaning. But even if you choose the latter, at least, acknowledge your bias.

I already faulted the documentary for lacking substantial evidence, but perhaps, the only good thing that came out of it is a lesson on intellectual honesty. 

Daddy G.O* – G.O is short for General Overseer. Daddy is an honorific often given to general overseers by their congregants.

By Olayemi Olaniyi

Olayemi is the publisher of The Disaffected Magazine. He also hosts the Disaffected Nigerian Podcast. He enjoys everything from Evolutionary Psychology to the syncopations of Apala music to Fela's discography. He fancies himself as an Amala enthusiast. His dream is to be a travel writer someday. He can be reached on X @LukeOlaniyi.  

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3 thoughts on “Enough about TB Joshua, What about Other Daddy G.Os?”
  1. A well balanced critique I must say. Indeed, we should not say “touch not my anointed” for our favourite daddy G.Os while believing hook line and sinker allegations against another pastor without evidence. Kudos

  2. I feel what makes a wise person is not in the accuracy of his speech nor in the vastness of his knowledge only, but the admittance of error/bias embedded in knowledge itself, the rise above ego and the willingness to learn more.

    I had a good read with this!!! Kudos👍
    However, your first writeup isn’t totally wrong. Maybe T.B Joshua is just the unfortunate/lucky one to be used as a scape goat in all this or maybe “death strip people their honour and respect-literally”. We never can say! Till more are call to glory of their glorious worship when the TIME comes.

    I look forward to more of your amazing writeup👌🏽. This might be my new addiction😌

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