Over the past couple of days, a lot of young people have sought my opinion on the sad issue about the alleged rape case involving the senior pastor of COZA.
I have tried very hard to contain my conflicting emotions between my stand against any form of abuse, especially against the female gender, -which informed my joining the He-For-She Movement-, and my understanding of the church as a spiritual entity. This is more so as the social media opens up the space for all manner and shades of opinions to the end that innocent young people are easily misled.
If this rape accusation had to do with just an ordinary individual, it would have been easier. Unfortunately, the man in question is not just a “mister”, but a “pastor”.
I specifically view all of the issues surrounding this accusation from a two-pronged perspective:
1. Addressing rape and all forms of abuse against the female gender:
It is in the place of every real man who is a brother to a sister, a husband to a wife, a father to a daughter (or even potentially so) to stand up for the female gender- to protect and to defend them in all cases, situations, and circumstances. To this end, I salute the courage of any and every rape victim who decides to speak out. The more this is done, the more it would become apparent that the days of idiots abusing and intimidating their victims who would be cowered into silence, are gone and gone for good.
I believe that rape is barbaric, cowardly, and a direct show of low self-esteem coupled with the highest level of inferiority complex which depicts an animal masquerading as a man, to take advantage of a fellow human being, the weaker vessel. Consequently, no stone should be left unturned to deal decisively and comprehensively with such an insecure animal hiding under the false pretense of being a man.
While I do not pass direct judgment on this pastor, if there is ANY truth to this allegation, he owes the lady much more than an apology.
2. The Church:
The church is one of the most misunderstood institutions, organisations or bodies. This misunderstanding has led many to take decisions that are probably not within their jurisdiction. Unfortunately however, several of the custodians of this body, at national or local levels, have conducted themselves in ways that have led to several worshippers deciding to sever ties with the church. This may be for reasons either having to do with mismanagement of funds or personal conduct. Without a doubt, some pastors (not a few) have proven to be outrightly incompetent, irresponsible, and have betrayed their sacred callings. This has led to the call of many people for their resignations.
On the other hand, pastors are the hope of many. They are seen as the representatives of God and those whom the followers look up to for spiritual guidance. While it is very wrong for followers to deify their pastors, it must be understood that attending any church is the personal decision of the followers. It should also be understood that, notwithstanding the bad eggs, pastors are servants of a bigger boss who ultimately is God. The church is therefore God’s property. An example – which could be a poor one – is that of the President and his cabinet Ministers where the President has the ‘hire and fire’ exclusive rights. In the event where a minister performs poorly or below expectation, our duty is to approach the President with demands for the removal of such an inefficient or incompetent minister.
It is therefore within this context that I believe that as much exposure as possible should be made of the activities of any pastor where such activities are immoral, fraudulent or criminal. It should then be left to his boss (or a system of checks and balances such as Board of Trustees or Elders) to decide his fate in the ministry. It should also be the place of the worshippers to decide if such a man is worthy of being their ‘spiritual covering or authority’.
Should the action(s) of a pastor be on the wrong side of the law, the offended party must be at liberty to demand the subjection of such a pastor to the full wrath of the law.
That opined, let me state categorically that:
1. I stand 100% with Mrs Busola Dakolo should she be willing to commence any legal action against Mr. Biodun Fatoyinbo, the COZA Senior Pastor.
2. I am willing to make a personal contribution in a sum of N50,000 to N100,000 to her legal expenses, and to additionally raise a team of financial supporters to ensure that she gets justice and proper redress in court.
3. I am also 100% against the act of occupying the church in protest to the end of forcing the pastor to step down.
In conclusion, I’d state this:
Pastors are men- humans- who by default, should live above board but often times don’t. Many gifted pastors have personal challenges to deal with. I therefore pray that this public embarrassment would be a wake-up call for all pastors never to allow this sort of accusations be factual.
I also pray that this public show of intolerance to what is wrong would also be directed at our public office holders whose irresponsibility in offices have made not a few to find their succour in churches.
Public officers, church leaders, family heads and all men and women in positions of leadership and responsibility should read the handwriting on the wall that Nigerians are starting to express their rejection and disgust of abuse of public trust.
Arc Nya-Etok Ezekiel
Visioner: Social Governance Ideology.