As part of our investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), we asked our second interviewee (who prefers to remain anonymous) to give an account in her own words of her relationship with the pastor and her retelling of the alleged rape.
It was important for us that we had accounts of the victims that were entirely theirs and free of any external guidance or nudging. A retelling of the events that was entirely from their perspective.
We hope this provides clarity for questions that the interview might have brought up.
TO READ BUSOLA’S STORY GO HERE
Where do I start?
The number of times I’ve tried to do this and failed. Well, I guess it was just easier to not have to read it back to myself and then be disappointed all over again. So I joined the Church in 2009, I liked that it was a church I felt I could relate to as a young person, the attention to detail and “excellence” was really one of the major reasons I stayed. I now know that paying attention and being calculative about every move is how Biodun has been able to keep people grounded in that place doing his bidding no matter what happens without even realizing it.
For a long time I was just the girl who served in one of the music groups and that really was it. I was okay with not having any personal relationship with both the Pastor and his wife but sometime in early 2015 I somehow started getting call to do certain things for Modele and that was how I think everything started. When I think about it now I realize that there was nothing coincidental about them bringing me close after all they never do anything without a reason.
I went from helping them take their youngest son out to Blue Cabana on Sunday evenings to have a good time to spending time with the rest of the kids whenever they were home from school and then to tutoring their eldest daughter for the GSE exams and all of this must have contributed to how I let my guard down. Afterall you must really trust someone and value them to have them watch your kids and spend that much time with them right? That was my undoing, that’s how they get you, by dangling something you love, something they know brings you a lot of fulfillment in your face and in my case it was my love for kids- their kids.
I however did not have any personal relationship with Biodun until his wife made me a job offer and asked me to move abroad because they had decided to transfer their kids to school abroad and they knew how good I was with them, she could not be there all the time she wanted me to be there with them as a guardian that since I had plan to go back to school I could do both there. Taking that offer changed everything.
That place isolates you without you even knowing, they build a sense of false superiority around you while also reminding you that your Pastor is the most important person in your life because he is the one who builds your faith. I said that to say that there is a lot of deliberation that goes into image building for Biodun so you are never going to meet a coza member who is not in love with their pastor, to them he can do no wrong and unfortunately I was one of those once. It started with him asking more questions about my work in abroad church, asking me about my plans for the future and reassuring me that my decision to move to abroad to serve is one that would pay off eventually and I had nothing to worry about.
So yes I got a lot more comfortable, let’s not forget this is the man who had been my pastor for over 7 years I had a lot of respect for him and admired his guts. I was comfortable and if there were any red flags at all I just could not bring myself to even consider them.
From running personal errands to running errands for church I had access to their personal house
“1804” that was the apartment number and I was there on that Thursday morning because he had asked me to meet him there, it was supposed to be one of those errands but it turned out to be a shocking revelation as he came on to me, I honestly can still hear him saying “just relax” as he pinned me down with one hand and had the other hand up in my pants. I had failed myself, I wasn’t supposed to be there, I should have known better. All my life I had dodged sexual abuse from different men from Family friends to neighbors to even people I considered friends and I should have seen all the signs but here I was in an empty apartment with a man who was my pastor what was I expecting? I laid down there tears quietly streaming down my eyes until he was done, got up and started apologizing. The switch is something that amazes me till date. It was both confusing and worrying how someone could go from the pastor you think you know into someone you completely do not recognize.
I left that day vowing never to talk about it because I blamed myself, I blamed myself for what happened in that room. All I could think of was if I didn’t go in there that would not have happened but I didn’t tell him I wanted to have sex with him, I didn’t go there that day to have sex and I sure was not asked before he started to force himself down on me. I should not have to carry the weight of that day around with me just because a man I trusted as a father decided to take advantage of my vulnerability and the power he had.
It took me months of being in church without being present mentally because I could no longer relate to anything that was being said there, after all I had met the real person, the one who forced himself on me without even flinching and that person was different from what he portrayed on stage. So for months I smiled and pretended that I was fine when really all I was doing was fading out and losing myself. He apologized and chucked it up to “I didn’t mean to hurt you” and my greatest regret was that I walked out of that room thinking he meant that apology or that he had never done that to anyone else before.
In early 2017, Timi Dakolo had posted something on his IG page about some Abuja pastor who was molesting young girls and for the first time I saw something there and tied it back to Ese’s story and knew for a fact that it was time to go as far away as possible from that place and everything that it represents. That same day Timi made the post, I got a call from Biodun he was calling from some state in America where he had gone for a conference, Colorado I think it was and all he called to say was sorry and whatever he had done I should forgive him and try to see that his heart was good in his exact words. I knew he only called to apologise again because he was trying to make sure I was not going to be a problem for him and talk about what had happened.
This is actually exhausting, but the lies, just today I saw a statement that was released about how he (Biodun) has never raped anyone before and how he only knew Busola Dakolo as a Pastor and nothing else when in fact in July 2017 right before I resigned and left(he was my boss afterall and I had to exit properly) he called me to a meeting at the basement asked that I sit, as he would like to have a word and went on to cry and tell me that he didn’t rape Busola, that she liked him and liked being around him and that he was not aware that she was a teenager at the time. No, I didn’t ask, that was information he offered because he wanted me to feel sorry for him, he knew I was leaving and he could not have me connecting the dots and speaking to someone, he said he was going to get help but that people who didn’t like him were trying to use Timi and Busola to pull him down.
There is a lot of manipulation that goes on in that place, a lot of brainwashing and it’s why he has so many victims because he preys on your weakness. I really just don’t want him to keep getting away with appearing to be a saint, he has so much power and he’s going to keep using it to do vile and despicable things except he is stopped. For every woman who has a story about Biodun Fatoyinbo in Coza, there is a young girl being groomed, called “choice daughter” and being brought close and made to feel special so he can prey on their innocence and have them blame themselves while counting on their silence to continue doing what he does. He needs to be stopped, we owe the next generation of young girls in that church that.