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Opinion: For the Dakolos, a rough road to travel, By Dare Babarinsa

Opinion: For the Dakolos, a rough road to travel, By Dare Babarinsa

If the truth must be told, it is not easy for a woman to discuss her past life with her husband.

More often than not, the past is regarded as a closed chapter and it is thrown back like the trail of a masquerade’s gown. So it must have been especially difficult, if not traumatic, for Busola Dakolo, the high society photographer, to raise the issue of her alleged past involvement with Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, the flamboyant General Overseer of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Abuja.

Her husband is the well-known musician, Timi Dakolo, who initially brought the issue to the public realm before his wife all-revealing interview with an online media house. Then all hell was let loose. Pastor Fatoyinbo had denied any wrong doing.

Fatoyinbo was a dashing young pastor when he first met the impressionable teenager in Ilorin where Fatoyinbo started his Christian ministry. She was a member of the choir and he was the big man on the pulpit, handsome, brilliant and breathtakingly attractive.

Busola’s entire family were attracted to this new church and they were all members of the congregation. The pastor was once a man of the world before he became born-again, and he confessed he had been involved as a youth in rough-living.

Now, old things have passed away and Busola wished to build her life like his. Her father was a polygamist and her mother was struggling to raise her children on the liberating theology of Christ. It was a difficult but exhilarating time.

One morning, according to Busola, the pastor happened to be on their doorstep. It was not yet 7:00 a.m. She was in her night gown. She was alone in the house with her elder sister who was still sleeping upstairs in the large house. Her mother had travelled. She opened the door for the pastor. His eyes lit up, seeing the young girl in full bloom. He stepped into the quiet sitting room and pushed the girl on to the settee.

Reality dawned on Busola quickly as the pastor removed his belt and ordered her to keep quiet. She did not struggle with him. She was a virgin and it was bit difficult and messy.

“At that point, he finished what he wanted to do and zipped up,” she recalled. “He left me there. I just sat on the floor and he went out.”

He soon returned with a bottle of Krest bitter lemon, already opened, and order her to drink it. “Be happy a man of God did this to you,” he told her.

Few days later, Busola was again persuaded to stay the night with the Fatoyinbos whose wife was nursing their first baby. The following morning the pastor allegedly insisted that he wanted to take her home, though she declined but the pastor and his wife persisted. On the way, he detoured to a bush path and allegedly again had his way on the bonnet of his car.

The emotional burden was heavy on the girl who was not yet 17 and just finished from secondary school. In the end, unable to bear the burden alone, she confessed to her senior sister who decided to share the story with their other siblings. Tunde, Busola’s brother who was then a student of the University of Ilorin, on hearing the story threatened to kill the pastor, who apologised in the presence of two other pastors, and blamed the incident on the devil.

Let me say quickly that this is a one-sided story and some people may choose not to believe it. One, it has taken Busola more than 15 years to open up to the public, though she claimed that the top hierarchy of the church was aware of the big pastor’s philandering ways. Now he is rich, famous and has built a great Christian ministry of consequence.

Busola said she had confessed everything to her husband who encouraged her to unburden her mind. Unable to bear it anymore, Timi Dakolo, “the great husband” of Busola, put it on the social media that some pastors are rapists.

When it became apparent to some people that he was aiming at the COZA big man, they went after him, sending him messages that his wife was actually the one running after pastors and that she had led a loose life before settling down into matrimony. It is known that many top clergymen are daily tempted by lascivious ladies who are intent on the Devil’s ministry. Some pastors also have the special anointing of sleeping with other men wives

Timi replied his traducers in equal measures. “Dear aggrieved and aggressive church members, please use the same energy you are using to call me and threaten me to search for his victims and ask them what really happen,” he wrote. “That is what Jesus will do!”

Timi then painted an alarming picture of what may have been happening in the church. Said he: “From Ilorin to Dubai to Port Harcourt to London and any city he visits, your pastor is leaving a trail of broken women, sexually abused and mentally strangled. From Avalanche to Gratitude, From Pastoral Care Unit to Host and Hostesses, from Witty Inventions to Hospitality Unity. They are found in every department in that “church.” He hand-picks his victims and ruin them!”

Fatoyinbo knew this was not an issue he could ignore. In 2013, one Ese Walter, who claimed she was a lover to the energetic pastor, narrated a salacious story of their alleged adventures. Fatoyinbo dismissed her as a blackmailer. Now this.

“I have never in my life raped anybody even as an unbeliever and I am absolutely innocent of this,” he declared in a statement last week. “Prior to now, we had adhered to our policy of ignoring rumours from social media accounts as we knew that several statements had been made to extort the church of money and myself through blackmail, harassment and intimidation. We have refused time and again to accede to their request which infuriated them overtime because of this they have gotten more aggressive.”

The pastor did not reveal who are the “them” who have been trying to blackmail and extort money from him. He tried to drag in his church into the matter when he declared, “We will as a church pursue every measure within the ambits of the law to bring the culprits to justice.”

The pastor has touched the core of the matter, which is justice. If indeed he had an affair with Busola when she was below 18, the age of consent, this may be a difficult issue. Indeed under our laws, that is statutory rape. It is however necessary to establish this in a court of law for whatever happens to Fatoyinbo would have a vicarious effect on his thriving Christian ministry.

He also has a duty to defend himself in the court of law for the allegations against him are weighty and unbecoming of a leader of the church.

Some of his supporters, bent on generating heat instead of light have argued that Busola’s allegations are part of an agenda to discredit the Church of Christ and the leadership of Christianity in Nigeria.

The church has survived the occasional human failings of its leaders for 2000 years. Pope Alexander VI violated his oath of celibacy as a Catholic priest among other crimes and fathered several children including three sons, through his mistresses.

One of his sons was Cesare Borgia, the ruler of Florence in Italy in the 16th Century who was the inspiration for Niccolo Machiavelli unforgettable classics, The Prince. The church survived the Borgias. The Fatoyinbo’s story, as salacious as it is, is not more than a storm in a tea cup.

For the Dakolos, they have chosen a rough road to travel. They have come out to speak in a society, thriving with hypocrisy and double-standards, which regards silence in such cases as golden. It is a courageous step. However they must know that unless they complain to the police and other appropriate authorities, no charges can be made.

The Dakolos have taken on a formidable target. Whatever may be his personal failings, Fatoyinbo has built an empathic Christian ministry which the youth of our country find attractive. Daily, he grapples with the issue of hope and mounting challenges in a society almost overwhelmed by many fearsome daemons. His apparent gluttony and extravagance may be a way to announce his arrival to his young followers and admirers.

Few years ago, he took hundreds of people to Dubai to celebrate his 40th birthday where he lavished perhaps more than one million dollars. Many young people of today would like to be like him. Now he has to pass through this furnace and either get purified by it or perish. It is indeed a challenging time. I don’t envy him.

The Dakolos, since they are the ones who threw down the gauntlet, should be ready to go the distance. They should take the extra step of reporting to the appropriate authorities so that they could prove to the public that they are not just jealous blackmailers and gold-diggers looking for easy money and easy fame. Besides, the public deserves to know the truth.

According to John 8: 32 in the Holy Bible, The Lord Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

About Mikail Mumuni