Back in June, and in a tell-all interview with Chude Jideonwo on Y! TV, celebrity photographer Busola Dakolo became another high-profile victim of a string of rape cases against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth Zion Assembly (COZA), which submerged social media in a sea of protests and headlined the barbed activism behind #ChurchMeToo – interrogating the institution of the Church on the grounds of the many wrongdoings its cloaked, spiritual leaders have been allowed to perpetuate under the umbrella of rape.
In this case, COZA has since become the epicentre of this deep-rooted problem, a church whose reputation has been repeatedly smeared by the alleged offenses of one man – Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. In Y! TV’s latest Exclusive, luminary broadcaster Adesuwa Onyenokwe picks up the mantle from Jideonwo and takes her journalistic curiosity to Ilorin, where Pastor Fatoyinbo’s ministry first took hold, investigating and seeking nuanced perspectives in Busola Dakolo’s alleged rape that has captured national interest for months.
Beyond that, Onyenokwe sought to know the stance of the Church in this current, dizzying age of accountability.
She would meet two former and close associates of Pastor Fayotinbo – Pastor Busola Olotu of the Daughters of Deborah International Ministry and Reverend Emmanuel Oset of the Canon Ministry. Both churches in Ilorin, both associates previously in Pastor Fatoyinbo’s tight, friendly circle. Olotu first became aware about Busola’s rape in 2011 and through Busola’s elder sister.
“In 2011, Funmi Ayeni, my spiritual daughter told me that her younger sister, Busola, was raped by Fatoyinbo. I was shocked because I could not reconcile the allegations to the person I knew. But when I spoke to Busola on phone, I could feel her pain and trauma and I knew she was speaking the truth.
“Sometime after that, I had a dream and I saw Fatoyinbo in that dream in bed with a woman who was not his wife and I confronted him in the dream and he told me that God’s grace was protecting him.”
It’s important to note that Mrs. Olutu was a spiritual mentor to Fatoyinbo during his early days as a pastor in Ilorin. In her experience being a pastor, Mrs. Olutu has handled rape cases where the women revealed that they had been raped by men of God. It was then that she drew a common thread. ”I didn’t reach out to him when I heard about Busola’s case because I didn’t know where he was,” Olotu says, ”And I wasn’t going to pursue it except in a place for prayer for him.”
At the end of the interview, Olutu says if there’s justice for Busola, it will be victory for the church and liberation many young women who have been victims of rape too. Right after, Onyenokwe sits with Pastor Oset, who confirmed that Mrs. Olotu told him about the dream she had concerning Fatoyinbo and said he has had to also wade in, in the past when similar allegations were brought against Fatoyinbo.
Oset confirmed that after Fatoyinbo started his church, he reached out to him to pray for him and he became his spiritual father but said he had to end their relationship after allegations of adultery were levelled against him (Fatoyinbo) in 2013 by Ese Walters, a former member of his church.
“I had been Fatoyinbo’s spiritual mentor for years and have had to wade in when similar allegations were made against him. I investigated and the evidence against him was overwhelming but at the end, he promised that he would change.
“I had to cut off from him after a member of his church accused him in 2013 of having an extra-marital affair. When that incident happened, I called him and told him that I wanted us to talk, but he kept avoiding me for many months.
“From August 2013 to April 2014, I kept putting pressure on him to come so we could discuss the issue but he avoided me. So I had to write him a letter telling him that I was no longer interested in being his mentor,” Oset said.
Onyenokwe concludes the interview by stating how the Church exists to be in service of its congregation, to nurture them and protect them from external influence. To do this successfully, the Church must gain the trust of its followers and creating a visible. uniform framework that guides the action of the clergy that offers consequence to those seeks to abuse it.