The Hullabaloo Between Chris Okotie And TB Joshua - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Hullabaloo Between Chris Okotie And TB Joshua

             •Okotie           •Joshua

  By Iyke Nwambie 

The two gentlemen in this discourse, Rev. Chris Okotie and Prophet T.B. Joshua are no strangers within the Nigerian and global public domain. 

The current hullabaloo between them is the outburst of Okotie after the demise of T.B. Joshua on the 5th of June, 2021. It is a hullabaloo that did not start today.

Chris Okotie came into limelight as a singer while studying law at the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. 

His fame received a temporary hiccup when he abandoned his promising singing career and quest to become a lawyer for the dogged symphony of preaching. After his Bible school trainings in the USA, his fervor for the gospel reverberated his name again in the consciousness of the nation.

Okotie’s brand of charismatic Christianity revolutionized the christian space in Nigeria. The young and upwardly mobile guys and gals in Nigeria suddenly became bold to publicly identify themselves as Christians. Why so? A famous singer like Okotie was now a Christian preacher. 

Okotie’s Household of God church played a pacesetting role in those days. But just as many of the Nigerian people and some of the pastors who had hitherto called Okotie several ugly names began to imbibe some of his practices, he jumped into the murky waters of the Nigerian presidential politics.

That pioneering act also heralded the emergence of the unbridled interest of many young Christians into politics without the attendant guilty feeling of dabbling into the ‘affairs of this world’ as many pastors and Christians were made to believe in those days.

It is relevant to mention that before Rev. Chris Okotie ventured into politics, he had delved into a raging doctrinal battle that saw him locking horns with both Prophet T.B. Joshua of the Synagogue church and Rev. Chris Oyakhilomeh of the Christ Embassy church.

T.B. Joshua was generally treated with caution and scorn by the rest of the Pentecostals in Nigeria while Oyakhilomeh was loved and treated with more honor. 

Nigerian Christians were suddenly aroused to the rude shock of a Nigerian tabloid that featured a picture of Oyakhilomeh and T.B. Joshua praying for a White gentleman on a wheelchair in T.B. Joshua’s church. 

The unique thing about that picture was that T.B. Joshua had his hand on Oyakhilomeh while Oyakhilomeh did the praying. Some interpreted it to be a passing prayer of agreement while some others like Okotie saw it as a public endorsement of a spiritual apprentice.

Okotie’s anger exploded. 

He saw it as an evolving spiritual romance between T.B. Joshua and Chris Oyakhilomeh. 

Okotie felt the need to warn the body of Christ in Nigeria about the possible subtle encroachment of T.B. Joshua into the Pentecostal community under the influence of the recognized Chris Oyakhilomeh. 

That battle kept the Nigerian media tabloids agog for several months. Rev. Chris Okotie brought his oratorical skills to the table in that battle. 

He described T.B. Joshua as an agent of satan and Chris Oyakhilomeh as a possible new initiate of T.B. Joshua. 

Interestingly, the umbrella organization of the pentecostal community in Nigeria (PFN) was on the side of Chris Okotie.  The argument of the PFN was that the background of T.B. Joshua was shrouded in mystery. He couldn’t conceptualize his salvation experience in simple words, neither could he narrate a simple backstory of his spiritual journey. 

So tensely-perplexing was that battle that the Nigerian police had to invite the three men for a meeting. While T.B. Joshua and Chris Okotie honored the invitation, Chris Oyakhilomeh did not. 

Instead Oyakhilomeh bought several hours of airtime on Channels Television to broadcast a recorded response that helped to steady his many admirers.

I went into this length to emphasize the fact that Okotie has had a long history of spiritual hullabaloo with T.B. Joshua. Consequently, coming out to restate his stand on a Facebook post where he  described T.B. Joshua as the Witch of Endor after the death of T.B. Joshua could not have been a surprise to any keen observer.

In a recent post, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a Nigerian politician, described Okotie as a coward for waiting till the death of T.B. Joshua to vent on him.

The truth is that Okotie had said worse things about T.B. Joshua both on television and during interviews with media men while. T.B. Joshua was alive.

Expecting Chris Okotie to suddenly begin to heap praises on T.B. Joshua, as many are currently doing, after his demise will be nothing short of bloated-hypocrisy. 

Interestingly T.B. Joshua has received several amazing commendations in his death. Several of those commendations and condolences had come from politicians, public relation agents, presidents, viewers of his very popular Emmanuel TV, etc. 

A further dutiful search also reveals the contrary frank views of those who had worked very closely with him. 

Almost all of those individuals both within and outside Nigeria described him in similar renditions as Chris Okotie in their confessional statements on video. Many of those videos are awash on YouTube for anyone who cares to verify them.

While the lovers of T.B. Joshua have maintained a dogged attempt to shout down the voices of dissenting and critical opinions, and in some cases heaped curses on them for daring to judge him, I must also remind them that judging the critics of T.B. Joshua also makes them judges in like manner.

If their contention is that judgment belongs to God, the counter question will be, ‘why have they also chosen to sit on the seat of God to judge?’

The truth is this: those who have worked closely with a man as personal aides stand a better chance to pontificate on that man’s character than those who either watch him on Emmanuel TV or visit him from their Ivory towers for political consultations. 

If almost all of those individuals are of the same view, there might just be an element of truism in their narratives.

As the lovers of T.B. Joshua continue to talk of how humble T.B Joshua was, the helps they received from him, and the miracles they saw on Emmanuel TV; shouldn’t the critics of T.B. Joshua also feel free to talk of their friends and family members that lost their lives at the Synagogue church, the national prophecies that T.B. Joshua gave that never came to pass, and what their biggest grouses might have been in the matter?

Finally, with all the aforementioned pointers, I humbly note that the current position of Chris Okotie on T.B. Joshua cannot be seen as a cowardly act, but the voice of consistency silencing the echo of hypocrisy. The courage to take a stand that pushes against a popular narrative is not for little boys. Is it?

What do you think?

Dr. Iyke Nwambie is a leadership expert based in Miami, Florida.

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