THE above statement was made by Prophet TB Joshua of The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) during the provision of a scholarship worth over £10,000 (N5m) to Hngshin Daramy-Williams a Sierra Leonean-Singaporean student to pursue his Master’s Degree in Leeds University, United Kingdom.
He is one example from the multitudes. From the onset of Joshua’s ministry, the provision of scholarships – ranging from primary to tertiary levels of education – has been an ongoing exercise. However, out of the thousands of recipients who have been partakers of this benevolence, irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliations, two cases shine above the rest – Oduwole Olayinka from Nigeria and Mary Jean Nleya from Botswana.
Oduwole Olayinka gained admission into the University of Lagos to study Electrical/ Electronics Engineering at the tender age of 15. She was academically brilliant but came from a humble home which lacked sufficient financial means to supplement her dreams. A devoted member and worker in the ‘Youth Department’ of The SCOAN, Yinka’s intelligence and diligence soon drew the attention of TB Joshua.
“I remember how Prophet TB Joshua would come into our midst and tell us his life history and the challenges he faced. He encouraged and motivated me do better than my best,” she recounted. When Yinka graduated with a First-Class Degree, the cleric stated during a Sunday service: “The church will take care of her education and she will attend the best university in the world. This will be done until the Lord says it is enough.”
True to his promise, Prophet TB Joshua sponsored Yinka to University College London (UCL), renowned as one of the top 10 academic institutions in the world. The fees of £18,425 (N9m) for her Masters Degree in Technologies for Broadband Communications were paid by Joshua and the “Emmanuel TV Partners” alongside all other living costs. Yinka passed with flying colours, obtaining six distinctions and two good passes to obtain the best result in her entire class which comprised international students gathered from around the world.
“Afterwards, I got an unconditional offer from Oxford University to pursue a PhD in Engineering Science.” This extensive program lasting four years cost well over £100,000 (N51m). “This was paid by Prophet TB Joshua and Emmanuel TV Partners. To the glory of God, I got a PhD in Engineering Science, Oxford University on September 16, 2017,” she said.
“When I was growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, I never imagined that I would one day be an alumnus of the most prestigious university in the world,” now Dr Yinka Oduwole said after her graduation. “Positive examples are motivators for success. My success I owe today to Prophet TB Joshua who took me, nurtured me, motivated me, inspired me, sponsored me and taught me to believe that I could achieve far beyond what I could ever dream.”
“I never forgot where I was coming from,” she continued. “I am achieving this not for myself alone but for the thousands all over the world who are right now being helped, equipped and trained because of TB Joshua and Emmanuel TV Partners. We are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Professor Geoffrey Thomas, Founder and First President of Kellogg College, Oxford, as well as Professor Tom Buchanan, Acting President of Kellogg College, both testified to Yinka’s academic brilliance during her time there. She was even highlighted as the sole African representative in Oxford’s Woman in Engineering – a list containing just 25 female scholars who are excelling in their chosen fields.
Yinka, whose PhD studies helped take definitive strides forward in the search for a cure for cancer, is now lecturing at the University of Surrey, as well as partaking in ground-breaking research into 5G technology. She plans to take the broad knowledge she gained from her academic endeavors to introduce such technology into her homeland. And her final advice to young students? “Work as if everything depends on you and pray as if everything depends on God.”
Mary-Jean Nleya came to The SCOAN from the Southern African nation of Botswana as “an ordinary visitor.” When she met Prophet TB Joshua, “I told him that I had no father – not that I had no biological father but I had no father that was responsible for my education. He informed me that I needed only Jesus Christ to be my father. From then on, I became a SCOAN Scholarship Recipient,” she explained.
“A number of years ago, I tried to secure funding from the Department of Tertiary Education Financing but my application for a bursary was rejected twice,” the young student recalled. “That rejection left me dismayed but I didn’t know that the Lord was using that rejection to preserve me and set me up for a greater level in life.”
Mary-Jean first received sponsorship to complete her studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa where she graduated with a LLB Magna Cum Laude. With the help of Prophet TB Joshua and Emmanuel TV partners, she then had an internship at the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands.
“During my time in The Hague, Prophet TB Joshua encouraged me to apply for a Masters at Harvard University. I was daunted by the prospect, given the low acceptance rates. However, I applied and later gained admission to Harvard Law School.” Her course at Harvard cost nearly $85,000 (N30.5m), which was paid for in entirety by Joshua and the Emmanuel TV Partners.
“Who knew that I would attend a renowned university that has trained world leaders and presidents of superpower nations,” she reflected. “But I, Mary-Jean, born in Botswana, have had this opportunity.”
Showing her appreciation for Prophet TB Joshua, Nleya stated: “As Thurgood Marshall once said, none of us get here simply by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. Somebody had to bend down and help us pick up our piece. This is very true for me. I did not get here by pulling myself up alone. Somebody in the form of Prophet TB Joshua bent down and helped pick up my boots.”
In appreciation, Nleya dedicated her thesis to the Nigerian cleric. “I literally phoned you crying because I thought I would not be able to finish this research paper successfully; but you calmed me down, uplifted me and told me it was possible. Thank you for leading me by example and setting high standards for me to reach. Thank you for your prayers and the endless lessons you teach,” she wrote in her dedication.
Nleya is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Global Communiqué, a digital current affairs magazine which “provides compelling content in the form of interviews with those at the grassroots level and prominent figures”. She is additionally a correspondent for One Young World and Your Commonwealth, global initiatives that have enabled her to travel to events such as G20 summits and interview world figures. Nleya has additionally written articles published in international media such as Al Jazeera and CNBC Africa, which have earned her numerous accolades.
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