We have received news that Pastors Biodun and Modele Fatoyinbo are preparing to wrest control of the narrative around the COZA scandal and are currently shopping for journalists to interview them for an exclusive. One of the names currently being shopped is Ifedayo ‘DaddyFreeze’ Olarinde; a Nigerian OAP who rose to infamy in Nigerian christian circles for his 2017 crusade against the religious practice of tithing. Olarinde is familiar to the church, having sparred with many of its leaders and usually in condemnation of their denomination based rituals.
“PB and his wife are saying that they have to fight back,” a source who works in the Pastor’s office and who wishes to remain anonymous said to us yesterday. “They feel abandoned by their mentors, and that there is no other way out, and they have decided to attack all the girls.
“He is also reconsidering his stepping down because there were no protests in the church yesterday, because they feel the issue is dying down. I don’t know what they plan to say when Freeze does the interview. They have not told anybody.”
This statement refers to the responses that have poured in over the last week, with Funke Felix-Adejumo, Laurie Idahosa, Poju Oyemade and Enoch Adeboye all weighing in on the current situation and Oyemade suggesting Fatoyinbo’s decision to take a leave of absence was influenced by his spiritual mentors.
There is evidence to suggest that at least subtly, Fatoyinbo isn’t waiting for an interview to try out some spin. Journalist Eromo Egbejule was the first to break the news that the first family at Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Biodun and Modele Fatoyinbo are allegedly taking measures to discredit victims who come forward to speak about their interactions with the pastor and talk about the alleged criminal actions that were perpetrated against them.
COZA has given all its workers a directive to start posting short videos on social media, of them extolling the virtues of Biodun Fatoyinbo.
Prepare for a deluge from tomorrow.
— Eromo Egbejule (@EromoEgbejule) July 4, 2019
On Sunday, unconfirmed photographs surfaced of church members posing before cardboard posters of the pastor and his wife as well as videos of young COZA members releasing videos on social media in support of the troubled pastor.
Egbejule’s prediction was preceded by the unexpected move by beloved digital media platform Ndani TV to cancel its most recent web series Oga Pastor! and remove all released episodes from Youtube. The show had high profile actress Ini Dima Okojie as the lead was driven by a plot that began to eerily mirror the proceedings of the story lines in the accusations against Fatoyinbo. Ndani TV is yet to release a statement explaining this move and petitions demanding an answer and spawning conspiracies theories have run the spectrum from fansites like BattlegroundFanPage to powerful media houses like BellaNaija. What the internet seems to agree on, that the action is directly related to the COZA investigation.
We can also confirm that apart from the Busola Dakolo petition signed against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, there are currently 10 other cases that the Nigerian Police is currently investigating that either allege the pastor misused his position of influence or sexually assaulted women. Our source suggests that the legal team at COZA is doing its best to suppress news of these investigations reaching the media and swaying public perceptions.
Our source, who works in entertainment suggests that DaddyFreeze’s long history of conflict with Timi Dakolo factored heavily in why he was being shopped to interview Pastor Fatoyinbo. Freeze and Dakolo have had a series of ideological conflicts starting in 2017 ; though when the latter went public in 2019 with his first accusation of Fatoyinbo, Freeze was quick to support his cause publicly.
Whenever a victim comes forward, a smear campaign follows to discredit the victim alleging physical assault or rape. It happened with Timi Dakolo in 2018, and in 2019 before Busola Dakolo’s interview. There was also the unconfirmed ‘unveiling’ of YNaija’s second interviewee by self professed journalist, Kemi Olunloyo who had requested to remain anonymous, who has started what she calls an #IJCOZA investigation into the allegations against the pastor. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) are currently investigating the allegations on their own end.
A source close to DaddyFreeze however notes that DaddyFreeze hasn’t yet left for the interview:
“They contacted him, but he hasn’t travelled yet. They haven’t gotten back to him again, since the first two calls.”
We do not know if the Fatoyinbo’s will go through with the interview, or settle on DaddyFreeze; but what is certain is that Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo is long overdue an opportunity to tell his own side of the story.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.