Coza Rapegate And The Pastors From Hell
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4)
I have been following with keen attention the online outrage that has followed the revelation made by Busola Dakolo against one of the many Nigerian Pastors who have been consistently living large at the expense of their Church members as against the biblical injunction in James 1 Vs 27 where it was explicitly stated that "pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." It cannot be gain said that the allegation levied against this 'man of God', Biodun Fatoyinbo is weighty and should not be discredit while hiding under the religious umbrella.
In truth, a reasonable number of Nigerian Pastors have been involved in two or more scandal without the government taking any action against these persons that are gradually being turned to demigods not just by their members alone but by those who have been saddled with the responsibility of enforcing the laws of the land. It is instructive to note that Biodun Fatoyinbo has come out to deny the allegations levied against him by Busola Dakolo though it has been established that there was once a contact between the two of them in the statement he wrote.
What I find alarming in the whole scenario is that the Pastor pledged to bring to book by all legal means all those that have in one way or the other 'tarnished' his image in time past including the recent one, the Pastor refused to debunk other cases of sexual abuse he has been linked to in the past including that of Ese Walters who accused the Pastor sometime around 2013. What I can deduce from the statement of the Pastor is someone trying to get himself in some image rebranding by discrediting the story of the lady without telling the public what caused the separation of Busola Dakolo from the 'body of Christ.'
This recent rape story in entirety made me remember a particular Moshood Olajide who was a member of Great Ife Students' Union Students' Representative Council from my Faculty. During the ugly days of the Union with tensed interests, there were two whatsapp account that always broadcast articles against the then Vice-President of the Union, Tosin Grace and the Speaker of the SRC while praise-singing the Presidents despite his many atrocities. I was forced to put a call forward to this numbers someday through a friend of mine who also happens to be a member of the SRC as at then as I'm a stammerer to help verify the contacts. Alas! To our greatest surprise, the contacts were that of the parents of Moshood Olajide. He was exposed! I wrote an article against him then informing the students' populace of his devilish act and to my utter dismay, he wrote a rejoinder discarding what I wrote while blackmailing me and also threatening to institute a legal action against me for defamation of character. He was not able to institute any legal action against me as I was forced to release the damning evidences I had against him and that signalled his political end. Behold, he committed political hara-kiri (apologies to Alh. Gbadamosi Adelabu Penkelemesi).
The importance of this story is to make us realise that the fact that the Pastor released a rejoinder against the statement of Busola Dakolo does not mean that he did or did not commit the crime. However, the sad part of it is that I doubt if the lady can win him in court for a rape that allegedly happened 10years ago.
Nonetheless, I feel that this is not a rape case considering the revelations made by the lady herself in the said video but that of sexual harassment, and, it cannot be gain said that sexual harassment is one of the evil the world is battling with today. It need be known that in ensuring a fair atmosphere for addressing this case which I prefer to tag 'the sexual harassment story', what is needed is beyond the narrow focus that is being displayed on the 'perpetrator'. Rather, we need a robust analysis at the overall occurrence devoid of biases against any of the party in uncovering facts and truth as there is none for now. It seems our anger against the Church or religion as a whole and the government which has failed to regulate the activities of these religious leaders has blind us to the fact that every individual is entitled to be treated fairly under the law as well as participate in a legal process that is neither arbitrary nor biased in favour of one party over another; this, is where the principle of audi alterem partem meaning let the other side be heard comes to play.
However, now that the other side has been heard with the threat of legal action, I hope this case does not just die like all other cases. We must together end sexual harassment in our society, in doing this, someone need be used as deterrence to others.
In all, the action of Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo who kept silent in the face of several allegations leaving the dirty job of defense to his church members and apologists represents everything wrong about Nigeria's brand of Pentecostal Christianity. A new brand of individuals who presents themselves as demigods to their naive followers while preying on their naivety; a new brand of sacred cows who can do no wrong chanting the biblical passage which says "touch not my anointed." It is believe that anyone who criticises them is at the mercy of the wrath of God and in danger of hell. This has effectively commercialised access to heaven and hell for their own benefits; however, we must begin if really going to heaven is worth it with these brand of individuals in heaven.
Kazeem Olalekan Israel is a final year Political Science Student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He writes via [email protected]