Saturday, 7 March 2015

Why actors flock to Synagogue

Religion has always been a big topic in Nollywood. There are segments of the industry that are dedicated to gospel movies. For example, Mount Zion Ministries makes only Christian movies. Also, some moviemakers are preachers and evangelists in various Christian ministries.

In recent times, moviemakers flock to a particular house of God, The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). In fact, the place has become the converging point for many actors every Sunday, as they are shown sitting in front row during the church’s services. Some if not all of them have also sought spiritual deliverance from the “Man of God” and head of the church, Pastor TB Joshua. Such deliverance sessions are usually shown live on television especially on the church’s own station, Emmanuel TV.

The recent of such deliverance sessions is that of Chief Chika Okpala popularly known as Zebrudaya. Okpala, known as Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4:30, was the star actor in the 80s popular sitcom, New Masquerade. According to Chief Zebrudaya, his brother’s wife had been kidnapped. He and his brother came down to the Synagogue and were given anointing water. After they administered it on his brother’s wife’s picture, the kidnappers released her without paying ransom; so, he came to the church to testify to the wonderful work of God.

In his testimony, he said: “This is the last born of my mother. When kidnappers abducted his wife on a Tuesday, they were demanding N150 million. They should have married her for N150 million; I haven’t seen where a woman is married for that amount. On Thursday, we ran to Synagogue Church and we were arranged in prayer line and he was given anointing water. He was told that when he got home, he should get the woman’s photograph, and spray water on her face, her body, and the whole photograph. After the prayers, we sprayed the anointing water on the family picture as we were instructed. By 12 midnight we received a call that our wife had been released.

“Right now, she is with the children. And we thought we should come and testify to Chineke God. I am advising anybody under the condition and trauma we went through for three days when we couldn’t eat or sleep, to run to God, especially to Synagogue Church.”

Perhaps the most popular case is that of top actor and self-proclaimed Nollywood bad boy, Jim Iyke. It came as a surprise to many because when he was going to the church, Jim was having a very good year. His reality show, Jim Say So, was doing very well on television. So, it was a shock to see Iyke on television confessing that he was possessed, while Pastor Joshua took on the battle to heal him.

Iyke accompanied a friend, whose mother was seriously ill to the church and was caught in the web of what was said to be a rescue exercise.

As the story goes, Jim’s friend’s mother was said to be on admission at a hospital, in Ajao Estate, from where she was taken to the church, but perhaps due to the popularity of the actor, the church ministers went for him, claiming there was more to his not being married than meets the eye.

A two-minute video on the church’s website showed the actor struggling with several officers of Pastor Joshua, the head of the church, as they fought to keep him still. The session, as shown in the video got the thespian sprawling on the floor, after falling several times, and shouting incoherent words.

After recovering from frenzy, the actor asked: “What do you guys want from me?”

“Take it easy, the man of God will like to see you after the service,” replied one of the church ministers, as they led him away from the congregation.

Reports say the sick woman’s son was also attended to during the church service, but the woman, who was the real reason Jim and his friend went to the church was told to come back at a later date. The woman, who was brought to Lagos from Abuja in search of solution to her health problem, had since been taken back to the Ajao Estate hospital where she is waiting for another appointment from the church.

Also at the Synagogue for spiritual help was veteran Nollywood actress, Camilla Mberekpe. She took her son, Samuel, there for “deliverance” from what she called “wicked demon” that entered him. Speaking at the church she said that her daughter had previously died in her arms as a result of the action of the said demon. She added that now, it possesses Samuel even more, through addictive computer games and browsing the Internet for information about Illuminati.

There was also the case of the Nigeria’s Got Talent dance finalist who came to the SCOAN after his mother received a prophecy from Joshua concerning him. Samuel was also a finalist in the popular TV show.

Another actress, Nneoma Ukpabi, was at the Synagogue Church, seeking help as she had an overdue pregnancy (10 months). Her first two children were born by Caesarian. She was again booked for an operation for the third time because her placenta could not support the baby.

According to her, “The doctor said that I could not undergo normal labour because it could become life threatening. A friend encouraged me to pray and believe in God. She brought out the anointing water, stating that it was from the SCOAN.”

She said the lady ministered it to her in the name of Jesus Christ and 15 minutes later, the first stage of labour took place as blood and water gushed out. She was taken to the hospital where she later delivered the baby safely without operation. The doctor was surprised that she delivered the baby safely without the operation she was booked for. She is now happy with her two months old baby girl. What a miracle! She then said that she was at the church to thank the pastor. All these were televised live.

The most recent deliverance case for at the Synagogue Church is that of actor, Hanks Anuku. For some years now, the actor had been off the set and many do not know what happened to him until recently. The actor some, weeks ago, released a statement, describing how the good pastor delivered him. He said Joshua rescued him from alcohol, drugs and the mental problems that plagued him for many years.

He said: “Yes; I got my healing through TB Joshua. It is our Lord’s doing. I never believed in miracles until this happened to me. I was having issues with mentality for over seven years; you noticed that for long I have not been frequent in movies. Even when I was special assistant to our governor, I was not in a good state of mind and this affected my work in the government before I was advised to seek solution in Ghana. I spent so much money visiting hospitals, orthodox and unorthodox doctors without positive result, until I was introduced to TB Joshua. I was only watching his TV programme in Ghana and was healed. I put my faith into it just like the woman with the issue of blood and believed that I would be healed and I got my healing. I am now a mentally stable man. I have dropped drinking and smoking habit, glory be to God.”

Many Nollywood practitioners many feel that there is nothing special in actors going to the pastor, saying that as long as people are going to the church, there will be some actors going as well.

“At least actors are people too,” one said. Movie director, John Sylvester, however, expressed a different view. He attributed the mass visitation to the church by actors as a reflection of their lifestyle. “You know these actors, they live very reckless lives. They sleep around with strange women; they party like there is no tomorrow. They also engage in diabolical rituals in order to get ahead in their profession. What they do not know is that all these things will catch up with them. When they start suffering the effects of their bad lifestyles, is when you see them looking for one pastor or another. I believe in Pastor TB Joshua, and I know he can save them; that is why they go to him. He is a powerful man,” Sylvester said.

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