The cover story of a recent edition of The Specator of Nigeria detailing some of the recent charitible works happening at The SCOAN… What a rare privilege it is to be in a position to give. We are blessed to bless others!
You have read of Evelyn Joshua, the delectable wife and pillar of support behind Prophet T.B Joshua, the Founder and General Overseer of Synagogue Church Of All Nations, lkotun, Lagos. We have also told you earlier this year, how the personable woman met the man in the synagogue, and how they have been living happily together thereafter. But take a look at the pint–sized woman on this post. Take a closer look at her photograph and Joshua’s published here. You ask: is this another woman in the life of the world acclaimed prophet? We answer “in a way, yes, she is.
Interestingly, her name is also Evelyn. Coincidence? Perhaps so! But this Evelyn is Evelyn Otekpen, a 400-level student of computer science at the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo- state. And the relationship between her and the prophet is not as you think. It is not anything. It is pure. It is a filial kind of relationship between a father and a child. But it runs deeper because ever since Evelyn encountered Joshua on TV, preaching, and felt the irresistible urge to meet him, her life has never been the same.
To Evelyn, the prophet’s pretty wife from Oshimili north, Delta state, and mother of his three beautiful daughters, Prophet T.B Joshua may be a husband and jewel of inestimable value. But to this sweet hearted, strong- willed dwarfish lady from Uromi , Edo state , Joshua is God sent, a benefactor, mentor and spiritual father.
Second to the last of her father’s seven children (three boys, four girls, all normal), Evelyn primary aim of tracing the man of God to Lagos was to see if she could come close enough to him to solicit his help for her school fees which were becoming quite a burden . Before her friend, Ehizua Christiana, brought her to Lagos to try her luck, she never gave herself much chance of seeing him.
But to her surprise, the prophet fished her out of the tumultuous crowd of worshippers that Sunday, last October. And she experienced immediate transformation. T.B Joshua, who runs a ministry for midgets, gave her N500,000 to meet her pressing needs, and a brand new Nissan sunny car to the bargain.
Now, the midget computer science undergraduate, who hopes to make Bill Gates gargantuan achievements in computer technology pale to significance, tells anybody who cares to listen, that Joshua has touched her life in a remarkable way.
“He surprised me with those wonderful gifts – the Nissan car and the N500, 000 and the six bags of rice,” Evelyn recounts, with smiles, in an exclusive interview with The Spectator. “He related it to me as a biological father, though he is my spiritual father, the way he took my case, l can’t really explain it, but it has really affected my life positively .l mean, he could sit down with me, take me into his hands and talk and play with me. They take care of me, play with me and make me feel loved.lt is wonderful. It is the handiwork of the man of God.”
She is not done yet. She reiterated how that unforgettable encounter with Prophet T.B Joshua has changed her life, adding: “Suddenly, people that did not recognize me before have started making friends with me. And people that did not want to relate with me in any way, that hitherto avoided me as a plague, people that have not called on me for many years, have started calling on me. Now, anywhere l go, people give me respect. l’m like a star. They say if such a man of God can humble himself and receive me the way he did, who are they not to receive me? Now, anytime people see me, they want to shake handd with me. As a result of that singular encounter with Prophet T.B Joshua, my dream, my life, and everything have changed.”
Very well. As a natural follow- up ,you ask: lf that is so, what is now her dream? Though she is dwarfish, the dream of the 31-year-old pint –size is as tall as Burj Dubai,the reigning 168-storey, tallest building in the world, which was open with pomp on Tuesday in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Believe it or not, Evelyn wants to be another Bill Gates, and if is possible, surpass him .She wants to beat Bill Gates on his own turf, to his own game. Did you say a tall and idle dream? Evelyn does not think so, “l’d like to be a technologist or to be somebody who will be create something that the whole world will see,” she says with some glint in her eyes, “but l am still working towards that. lt has been a challenge. What inspired me is this man, Bill Gates. Anytime l heard of that man, and what he has done with computer, l say to myself lf only l can work harder then l will be able to make even bigger achievement because both of us (Bill Gates and she) are created in the same image of God.
“I think of Bill Gates and the Microsoft software. At times I do sit down and think about how he was able to develop software that the whole world is using today to run their computers. Think about it. Without that the Microsoft software, the computer is useless. There is no place you will talk of computer that you will not mention that package, l always sit down to think: lf somebody can create this, how about me? Why not me? l still believe l have something to do in this life that will be beneficial to mankind, to the whole world.
“What l need now is to think and come up with a computer invention the whole world will see and appreciate .lf l work harder l could even beat imagination but l am still thinking about it. Immediately l graduate, l will sit down and think, what l will do to make the whole world know that with God all things are possible.”
Asked what she knows about Bill Gates, apart from the Microsoft stuff, she quips: “They told me the man is not well- educated. But inspite of all that, he still came up with an idea that is today ruling the whole world of computer science. Anytime l remember that, l feel that myself who went through the four walls of the university can do something better than that man, something that will even beat his record, that generation to come will have something to refer back to. That’s what inspires me .”
Talking about computer science, she says computer runs on many Programmers “you can use java, web design, java script, etc,” she informs. “In some branches of computer knowledge, everybody has a package where he or she specializes. Some people are good in hardware package, while others are good in software. It all depends on your level of intelligence and how far you can go about it, and your inspiration and God’s grace.
“Right now, l am very good in website design. But the moment l graduate, l will sit down to really make sure l work on other packages so that at the end, l will be really perfect in computer science.”
There is a general complaint among expert that are our universities are poorly equipped to achieve the lofty height she is aiming at. What does she have to say?
“My advice is, if you really want to be good, you should not rely only on what your school or university can afford,” she counsels. “You should look for private computer establishment that have what your university don’t have and get yourself attached to them. That way, you can learn more and be ahead of other students who depend only on what the school can provide. Whenever l am on holiday, there’s a place l usually go for private training.
“Somehow, l have learnt how to design website but l need to learn more. l have learnt how to create passwords and all that. Talking about computer, there is the programming aspect and there people who are very good in it. I am very good when it comes to programming and on the campus fellow students do come to me to teach them and to borrow my notebooks. After my graduation l will go for youth service. After that, l will go for my masters. I am still trying to work on things that will make me an employer of labour after my masters.”
With encouragement from people like Prophet T.B Joshua, and friends like Ehizua Christiana (who sat with us throughout the interview and chipped in one or two words when the occasion demanded it), Evelyn believes the sky is not even her limit.
“She is too shy,” Christiana says as tries to explain why she had to accompany her to the interview. “lf she is not used to you, she would not talk unless l am there. If l am there with her, she will not be shy. If l am not here now, she won’t talk. Even though her mother or any other person is here, she won’t talk to her. If she just looks at my face, she will talk. If she is used to you, she can play with you.”
Recalling how they met, Evelyn reveals that they met while in campus, at a Christian fellowship of Nigerian Evangelical Students (NIFES). “They invited me just the way people invited you for interactions to ask me some things about myself, “After everything, l decide to go. On getting there, they were asking me some questions. And there was a question they asked that was not really favorable to me that made me reflect back on something’s, and before you know it, I started shedding tears. I really remember but l knows there was a question that was not really favorable to me.
“After everything and after we immediately closed from the fellowship, my friend (Christiana), saw me crying and asked me what is the matter. At that initial stage, l don’t tell her anything but it was when we got to the hostel that l told her everything . Since then, we’ve been together . Even that day, she came to check on me, to check whether l had eaten. Ever since that day she has been a friend to me. That is how we started our relationship.”
“There are times l asks God question that l am not supposed to ask Him. There are times l think and weep secretly,” Evelyn confesses. “There are times l think about my life and l would cry and clean my face.”
The reporter gets confused at this juncture and he asks: “What is it that you think about yourself that makes you cry?” “When l see my mates the way they are, and the way l am, l do think about it sometimes and l cry,” she replies instantly.
‘is it in terms of your physical condition?’ “yes!” ‘And you feel, ‘why am l like this? “Yes l feel sad when people are insulting words on me, When people who are supposed to call me “Aunty,” who are not suppose to call me my name do because of my stature.”
“When l saw her crying that day l felt for her,” Christiana, ex-student of political science, Ambrose Alli University, recalls. “l was in final year . She was in 100 Level. I do see her in school walking around because we stay in the same hostel. When l saw her, she was shedding tears that day, and l was touched. I have to rush down and meet her, and l asked, ‘what is your problem?’ she said nothing. I have to pet her, take her to the hostel, go to her room, and talked to her before she explained things to me. When she explained things, l said, ‘don’t worry, l will help you, since then we have been together.
“Let me say she is my sister. Most of family members know her. People call her our last-born child. Whenever they see her, they would call my mother and say, ‘your last-born is around.’ I can say that my mother is even more use to her than she is to me.
“We are close to each other and know each other so well that if somebody comes to me today to say ‘look at what Evelyn did to me,’ l can say no because l know what she can do, and she knows what l can do too. If somebody goes to her to say look at what Christy did, she can deny it for me because we are too close.”
A little discussion with her and you discover that it is closeness based on mutual respect and love. “I love her because of her intelligence,” Christiana says. “She is very brilliant and intelligent. On campus, lf you go to her department or faculty, just ask about her they will confirm what l have just told you. Her lectures are impressed. I do go with her to her department. One day, when her lecture was talking about her, of how brilliant she is, I was even shocked. Even as l am talking to you, her GPA is greater than the on e that l graduated with. Evelyn can sit down and read for 24 hours. Throughout the day she can read but me l can’t read throughout the day. That is one thing for which l like and admires her. She is just good.”
Talking about her social life, Christiana notes, “she doesn’t quarrel with people. Everybody likes her. If she is not in her room, everybody will be looking for her. She is fond of me as much as l fond of her.”
“She makes me feel relaxed and respected,” Evelyn says, on why she is fond of Christiana. “She loves carrying the burden of other people. I am not saying this because she is here with me. And she very caring; she has been dear to me. And secondly, she makes me believe in myself, in what l can do. She is always challenging me and making me to know that l am not inferior to others because of my stature.”
By chika ABANOBI and victor OGBE
SOURCE: The Spectator Newspaper, Vol 2 No.88