By Ihechuwku Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist |
A Nigerian Pastor TB Joshua has just returned from a peace-brokering mission in South Sudan where he led President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his cabinet in prayer for peace at the nation’s Presidential Palace.
However, records reveal this is not the cleric’s first intervention when it comes to brokering peace on a national scale.
In November 2000, Joshua oversaw a heartfelt reconciliation that touched the nation of Liberia between Samuel Doe Jr and the man responsible for gruesomely slaughtering his father, Prince Yormie Johnson.
In the height of Liberia’s brutal civil war, Johnson – then a rebel leader – captured President Samuel Doe in Monrovia and tortured him publicly before executing him in footage seen on news reports around the world.
“Every night I went to sleep, I prayed that one day God would give me to the opportunity to meet this man and kill him to revenge the death of my father,” Samuel Doe Jr publicly admitted during his visit to The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN).
Doe Jr said he harbored this “grudge” for ten long years. Unbeknownst to him and his mother Nancy who came to seek prayers at The SCOAN, the former warlord had ‘repented’, become a Christian and was in attendance at Joshua’s church.
Spotting Johnson amidst the large church crowd, Doe Jr said he felt his blood “run cold” and looked for a weapon to enact revenge.
“I felt like running inside the kitchen to pick up a knife,” he recounted. However, Doe Jr was ‘supernaturally restrained’ from carrying out his vengeful intentions as he was “under the control of the Holy Spirit”.
After publicly confessing what was ‘hindering his salvation’, Joshua counselled the Doe family about the need for forgiveness, after which he prayed for them.
“If Jesus can forgive us of our sins, then who am I to hold a grudge against a child of God,” Samuel announced to rapturous applause from the congregation.
Prince Yormie Johnson then came forward from the crowd and the duo warmly embraced, subsequently joined by Liberia’s former First Lady Nancy Doe and TB Joshua.
In a meeting the next week, Johnson revealed the reconciliation went beyond just the two families but extended to the warring tribes in Liberia.
“This reconciliation will go a long way to unite our two ethnic groups. The war in Liberia started between us and the reconciliation will have to begin with us,” he revealed.
Liberia has enjoyed peace nationwide for over fifteen years and is steadily cementing its status as a growing democracy in West Africa.
Prince Yormie Johnson has since returned to Liberia as a Senator and plays an active role in his country’s politics.
In the run-up to Liberia’s last elections, Johnson visited The SCOAN with George Weah, eventually choosing to endorse the football legend, which proved pivotal to his eventual ascension to Liberia’s Presidency.
TB Joshua also played an important reconciliatory role in Tanzania in the wake of the divisive 2015 elections which saw John Magufuli emerge victorious.
Joshua visited the East African nation, holding extensive meetings with both President Magufuli and opposition leader Edward Lowassa, both of whom had previously visited his church in Lagos.
Citizens acknowledged Joshua’s visit significantly reduced the palpable tensions that existed in the aftermath of the disputed elections and restored peace to the nation.