Daily Archives: June 18, 2016

Synagogue Church Agog for Joshua’s 53rd Birthday

Sunday June 12, 2016 was my second time at the Synagogue Church of All Nations [SCOAN] for service in 16 years, I had made several other visits that I cannot remember; for meetings, tourism information, articles as well as news materials.

I had arrive the church premises at about 9 am with lots of energy having had double cup of coffee before leaving, because I promised myself never to miss a single moment of the event and service.

After the necessary welcome protocol for me by two ladies that work with the church’s media unit, I was taken into the church and showed a seat where I would seat for the entire service and programme.

Shortly after I settled down, I quickly fixed my eyes on the testimonies been showed on Emmanuel TV, the church television network. The testimonies were from Saturday June 11, a day and special events for healing because prior to the date, the Founder/General Overseer had announced that his 53rd birthday would be with the sick and afflicted which the pre-birthday service on Sunday June 12, 2016 was meant for.

The testimonies featured among others Trevor Phillip, a young Australia man visiting with his young wife and child.

In his testimonies, he said he received his healing and motivation by mere watching Emmanuel TV back, and the preaching on the channel changed him and motivated him from a low self-esteemed person that he was, to someone who found his way back to school that he abandoned to someone emerging the best graduating student in the whole of Australia.

His amazing testimony sees the congregation breaking into intermittent applause and copies of his certificates as well as letters of commendations were also displayed.

Next was Stanley K. Amadi, a popular Nigerian [Nollywood] actor and movie director, who gave testimony of how his wife who had been suffering chronic pains was healed the previous day, and was giving praises in church to the admiration of many.

Several others who said they were introduced to Emmanuel TV by friends and families, also gave testimonies of how they received healing and they were only in Nigeria to give thanks to Prophet TB Joshua and God Almighty.

The service was conducted in English and interpreted in French and Spanish, while those who could not speak any of the three major international languages, spoke in the local or their country languages that are interpreted to the three international languages aforementioned.

Another Nigerian, Chief Mrs. Regina Illoh, who resides in Abuja, gave testimony of how she was miraculously healed by the Man of God, Prophet TB Joshua during the special healing service on Saturday of her chronic pains that she has been suffering from for years.

The testimonies were not just mere words, but were supported by video evidences of how the people giving testimonies looked like before, and to those that were brought to the church for healing of how they looked prior to the healing.

She narrated how she had gone abroad to find solutions which she could not get. After yet more testimonies, the congregation started rising from there seat, an indication that perhaps something was about to happen, which was true when the celebrant, Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua walked into the church that was filled to capacity with everyone at about 3.05 pm.

After few minutes of sermon, a loud ‘happy birthday to you’ but a sax man brought everyone in unison to their feet singing, clapping and dancing with the celebrant.

Without mincing words, he reminded the congregation that the celebration is all about the sick and as such, the special healing will continue with breakthrough.

Sometimes, it looks comical when healing started and lasted till about 5.25 when he called for a 10 minutes break.

By 5.53 pm, the Prophet appeared again and sermon resumes till 6.53 pm when prayers started and by 7 pm, there was joyous chaos-when the Man of God asked for prayer to defeat and send out ‘demons’, with men and women starting to scream from every corner of the church shouting for them to be delivered.

Many heavily well-dressed men and women of both whites and blacks crying for help and from different parts of world confessing of the evils they had committed in the past. Whilst the ‘madness’ lasted, others screamed for them to be too.

However, during his sermon, Prophet TB Joshua lamented that his only limitation is that he cannot physically and personal attend to everyone that needs his attention for spiritual healing and ministration.

He called on viewers wherever they were around the world to believe through the telecast on Emmanuel TV, that whatever their problems are, that they should receive healing.

Like my minders told me, there were over 100 countries represented at the June 12, 2016 birthday celebration of the Founder/General Overseer. Before the final rounds of prayers at 7.32 pm, the groups from Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Paraguay, Greece and Russia requested for the prophet to come over to their countries for crusade.

For the several accommodation providers and vendors around Ikotun town, the headquarters of the SCOAN, it was always like this for several years until the unfortunate incident of building-collapse that killed many pilgrims and several injured, leading to the scaled back of spiritual and healing activities that is gradually returning.

By all accounts, close to 50,000 foreigners visited Nigeria in the last one week, with many of them travelling for 48 hours just to get into country for the celebration of the prophet’s birthday.

Without doubt, 90 per cent of all the visitors of Synagogue are guests with purchasing capacity of staying in 3 star to 5 star hotels, which suggests that such facilities are needed around the church that would ultimately generates revenue for the government and jobs for Nigerians.

Africa Hospitality Industry Is On Right Track – Trevor

With many years of experience in Africa, Trevor Ward, Managing Director of W-Hospitality, a top Africa consultancy service company based in Lagos, Nigeria with office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In this interview with LUCKY ONORIODE GEORGE, Publisher/Editor, African Travel Times magazine, he bares his mind on the state of the hospitality industry.

The Hospitality industry in Africa has grown in the last decades based on several reports by your organisation and others, how much really is this growth?

We show considerable growth in the chains’ pipelines, as in the attached report, a pipeline 30 per cent up on last year. But there is also real growth, not just paper deals – slides 3 and 4 of the attached power point file show the brands’ openings since 2010. And in Lagos, the number of rooms in branded and quality unbranded hotels has increased from 1,073 in 2003 to 4,400 today.

In most cases, your reports dwell on international brands or chains alone to measure the growth of the sector, why so?

Very difficult to track unbranded/independent hotel development, the information we publish is sourced directly from the chains, and is complete – we could never claim to have all the independent hotels in our survey.

How many international brands or chains are operating in Africa?

We analysed this in 2014 and came up with 74 chains with 136 brands – there are likely to be more domestic or purely regional chains. Groups with hotels outside of Africa as well as on the continent (i.e. truly international) number around 40.

Can you also place a figure on the numbers of continental brands or chains?

Around 35 that we have identified, but there are bound to be some purely domestic chains (defined as more than one hotel) that we haven’t identified.

Which region of the continent is most attractive to the international players?

See the pipeline survey – Nigeria is far the largest country, and West Africa the largest region.

How many bed rooms available in Africa?

Not a clue!

I know here in Nigeria that there is no hotel that is owned by any of the international brands or chains; can you give reasons why the likes of Hilton and others only do management business here?

Not true, the Southern Sun is owned by Tsogo Sun, and Sun International has a c45 per cent share in the federal palace. As a rule, the international chains do not own hotels anymore, they are “asset-light”, and this is the case globally. They can expand quicker through signing management agreements and franchises than buying or developing their own hotels. An exception is Accor, which has reversed its previous asset-light strategy, and has been acquiring hotels and groups of hotels.

Is there a country in Africa where the chains or brands build their own hotels?

Yes, City Lodge has built in Botswana, and is building in Tanzania, like Tsogo Sun they are owner operators. The majority of their activity has been in east and southern Africa.

Franchising is now an alternative to full management deals, why is this trend or system growing?

The international chains are still reluctant to franchise, because of the difficulties in maintaining brand standards when they are not in management control. See the pipeline study to see a breakdown of the deals between management agreement, franchise and other [the latter typically owner-operated]. Chains such as Hilton, Starwood, Wyndham will franchise, but selectively, as they have to be confident that the management will deliver.

Can you explain or give some reasons for the likes of Best Western and Swiss International Hotels and Resorts?

Best Western is a solution for [the many] owners who do not want to give up day to day control of the hotel to a management company.

What are the challenges of franchising in the hospitality sector?

Brand standards – Best Western has had many problems with owners who are incapable of achieving and maintaining brand standards. This is a global problem, but Nigerian hotel owners are quite bad at it.

How can we ensure that standard and quality are guaranteed?

The brand owners can only guarantee standards if they are in control of the management, and the funds are available from the owner to renew/renovate and as when required. The two Sheraton hotels in Nigeria are classic examples of where the owner has not provided funds.

Africa Hotel Investment Forum [AHIF] is holding in Lome, Togo later in the month, what do you think should the focus of such gathering be?

The aim is to bring together investors and other parties in the industry, to provide a forum for exchanging information and ideas, and initiating deals, in West Africa. Previous AHIF events have been held in Anglophone countries, with little participation from the West African Francophone and Lusophone countries. AHIF Lome is an initiative to correct this.

That said, what is the quality of the industry generally in Africa?

Vastly improved on what it were 10 or 20 years ago! Whilst the chains can take a lot of credit for that, there are also many examples of high quality independent hotels, such as Sankara and tribe in Nairobi, the George in Lagos.

Manpower is an issue especially here in Nigeria, has the situation improved, if not, what should be done?

There will always be a need for more resources put into manpower development, training at all levels, but with very few exceptions, government has not done what it should do in this regard. The chains have to some extent filled the gap, by training staff, who then move on to other hotels, spreading the word. In Nigeria, there is a growing cadre of trained personnel, coming out of the chains, however training is an ongoing activity, and they then tend to lack any further learning or progression.

Which region of the continental is most advanced in the sector?

In general terms, North, East and South Africa [the country], and far more advanced in terms of development.

Nigeria and West Africa remain mainly business destination, what do you think should be done to attract leisure travellers to this region?

Everything needs to be done! Nigeria has to address many serious challenges if it is to be seen as an international leisure destination – image, visas, the airports, the transport etc. There is far more potential in the domestic market.

What is the state of the hospitality industry now in Nigeria?

Currently, the demand levels are down considerably from 5 years ago, because of all the negative external impacts – Ebola, security, election uncertainty, the delay in appointing the cabinet, oil price reduction, uncertainty about the exchange rate, lack of confidence generally. The supply side however, is considerably better than it was 10 or so years ago, and project promoters are still looking [mainly] at Lagos and Abuja, with many signed deals.

What do we expect from Lomé Conference?

Great programme, good exchange of ideas, great networking, and hopefully some deals initiated, if not signed!