Oliver Ejike Ujah
It is sad to see the media replete with stories of violent crimes and the seeming helplessness of the people in tackling this malaise. Armed robbery banditry, rape and kidnapping are now widespread. There are chilling stories of paedophiles that prey on minors and in some cases even their own children.
Rape is such a despicable crime which all right thinking people must condemn in its totality. It is, therefore, not surprising the level of reactions and coverage Bukola Dakolo’s allegation against Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has generated.
Various people commenting on this alleged rape are doing so from various background and orientations. While some may be speaking from their gender solidarity and sensitivity mind-set, others may be doing so from a fanatical disposition or even the legal perspective. In all, this has thrown the ‘Man of God’ into media limelight and frenzy where the media have been awash with various stories relating to this sad development. If Pastor Fatoyinbo were an obscure ‘man of God’ who has not been ‘abundantly blessed’ by the God he serves would this matter have attracted the volume of coverage we are already seeing in the media? I said abundantly blessed because most pastors today measure God’s blessings solely in terms of monetary and material acquisitions.
I wrote a critical piece on pastors and churches titled “The Miracle is the Pastor” which was widely published online and in print, highlighting some of the obnoxious and unwholesome practices of some of the prosperity preaching and mega churches owning pastors.
However, I would not want to fall into the error of mob mentality where one acts first before thinking. For a typical lynch – mob in our cities, a shout of thief (ole) and one is arrested, tried and summarily executed on the spot. Many in such mob may not even know actually what the victim was alleged to have done. I have just read a story of an innocent man who was killed and dumped into a lagoon in Badore, Aja in Lagos for allegedly stealing a phone. I am not trying to pull a garb of innocence on Pastor Fatoyinbo but I would want all to have a clear logical and open mindset looking at the scandal before rushing to conclusions. Doing so will give one the opportunity to comprehensively know the level of involvement or otherwise of each actor, motive and the appropriate steps or sanctions if required. Doing so will help one better understand and appreciate the problem. After all, it is not the first time he had been accused of sexually exploiting a member of his congregation.
Busola’s interview with Chude Jideonwo started with her narrating how when she was below the age of 18 and a virgin her elder sisters introduced her to Divine Delight Club which she herself admitted was not a church to meet people. She also stated that she was not comfortable with what was going on there.
Well, I will not question her age but the tendency for people to lower their age especially in a society were public record is poor or non-existent just to exploit the legal axiom that for a minor there is no consent in rape cases. Her elder sisters who led a minor to a club meant for adult to meet people are no less culpable because it was not as if the sisters never envisaged the scenarios that were to play out. Having introduced the minor to the club, it never bothered them that a man who was engaged to be married quickly became very close to her that on the day the alleged rape took place he drove confidently into their family house, walked majestically into the house, did whatever he wanted while the sisters were holed up in other rooms. He drove away unnoticed. How massive that building must be? This also gives an inkling of nature of her family. In other climes they may be charged for endangering a minor too.
Similarly, by repeatedly making reference of her not having a father figure and of being close to her mother only was a mere appeal to pity (arguementum ad misericordiam) for there are many single mothers who not just protected their children but also raised them with the greatest level of discipline.
Moreover, the circumstances leading to her going public are shadowy. There were insinuations that her husband, Timi Dakolo, made a comment on social media in relation to some pastors’ sexual impropriety and was thrown a gibe in one of the comments. Could it be that the undercurrent and ripples in their family forced them to adopt the strategy of going public as a form of damage control?
Both main actors in this celestial dance of shame are slaves and victims to their own carnality. The family of Busola is as guilty as Pastor Fatoyinbo in creating this mess. Pastor Mrs Modele Fatoyinbo deserved the chastisement she has gotten so far from the press with some even alleging that she was complacent and may have been involved in arranging some of these girls for ‘Man of God’. It is common knowledge that many girls and young women travel several kilometres to worship with celebrity pastors in their mega churches in their quest to hook – up with the rich and mighty in the society. And who says that they may not go for the Pastor himself as the main trophy. Devil is a liar! However, He should have known that to those who have been entrusted with great positions, higher responsibility was expected. The wife of Caesar is expected to be above reproach. Is the biblical story of Samson and Delilah or David and Uriah not enough to teach him enough lessons?
Uja writes from Abuja via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org