Prophet T.B Joshua of the Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN) has recalled with fond memories the moment he received an unexpected phone call from former Nigerian president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, whom he described as a “great” Muslim man.

Joshua said despite being a Muslim, the late Yar’Adua recognized his evangelical calling and honoured him with the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) merit award in 2008.

“Let me tell you about the phone call I had with late President Yar’Adua. He is a great man. I received a phone call – ‘I will give you an honour, OFR’. This is a man who did not share the same faith with me – he is a Muslim man,” the cleric wrote in a Facebook post.

Joshua described Yar’Adua’s award to him as a gesture of love, which he said exemplifies the kindness embedded in the former president’s heart.

He said the late Yar’Adua did not consider his religion or ethnic background before honouring him with the national merit award.

“Sometimes when you are saying, ‘Northerner, Southerner, Easterner’ – the issue is not that. LOVE. Nigeria is one. This is a man from the Northern Part of Nigeria; he is a real Muslim man. We have never met; he never invited me for prayer. But he got to know and monitor all that is happening at The SCOAN. I could remember he said to me – after looking at the analysis of pilgrimage to this country from each port of entry in Nigeria – he realised I am the biggest source that attracts foreigners. This is the first time you are hearing this from me. Your oil could not attract such visitors – but anointing attracts visitors.”

Joshua also recalled how a former president banned Nigerian television stations from airing miracles, alleging that the ban which took place in 2004 was specifically targeted at him.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which regulates broadcasting in Nigeria, had issued the ban during the tenure of a Christian former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Joshua said, “I was on the Nigerian national television and local television. When the miracles were showing, because of me, your former President said they should remove the miracles. They stopped miracle programmes on your national and local television. The body that guides the television stations in Nigeria enacted a law that no miracle pastor should be shown. It was because of me, not because of anybody else. That brought about Emmanuel TV!”

The cleric said regardless of what religion or ethnic background people come from, love should guide their actions as it was impossible to successfully practice whatever religion without love in people’s hearts.

“You talk of North, you talk of South, you talk of Christians, you talk of religious people, you talk of Muslims – LOVE is the greatest. Where is love? The Bible says love your neighbour as yourself. Your neighbour could be your enemy, could be a pagan, a religious man or a Muslim – the Bible says love them all! Love is the greatest. It means love is greater than everything you practice. The name of Jesus is LOVE,” he said.

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