Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of the Commonwealth Zion Assembly (COZA), has announced a suspension of a seven-day programme of the church, saying the “Holy Spirit” directed him to do so.
Tagged “Seven Days of Glory”, influential preachers from the US, including TD Jakes, have graced the annual programme.
But speaking when he mounted the pulpit on Sunday, the pastor said he was unhappy about the scandal rocking the church.
Fatoyinbo has been under pressure since Friday when Busola Dakolo, celebrity photographer, accused him of raping her as a teenager.
Although he denied the allegation, the pastor has been widely criticised, with some Nigerians on Twitter asking him to step down.
Protesters marched to his church in Lagos and Abuja on Sunday, mocking him and his members.
But the pastor asked his congregation not to be provoked as they make their way out of the church.
The service ended one hour earlier than usual, with many vacant seats at the church’s branch in Ikeja, Lagos.
“I have been relating with all my mentors, you know I am a man under authority. I really love to listen to them,” he said.
“So, I am going to be giving a few instructions as time goes on but the first instruction I want to give is, with what is going on, we are going to be having prayers every day for those who are interested to come. But we are not going to have the seven days of glory.
“I don’t want all these kinds of stuff. I think last month we prayed for a whole month and we do all of that. Please, let’s be people of peace. So, if you want to pray with us, you can come here to pray. But the regular seven days won’t hold this year… you don’t want to put your guest speakers through all of that.
“You know we love to host people properly. And you know some of them, apart from the fact that the Holy Spirit spoke to me about that, my mentors said to me, this is what we need to do while we step in and make sure we see what is going on. And you know what we stand for in COZA.
“So, please let’s obey God in our mentors and be a people of peace. Also, when you are going out, they are going to direct you how to go out, please don’t fight anybody, don’t reply anybody, you came to worship. They may say things to you, it doesn’t matter. Please, behave yourselves and make sure everything is in place.”
The fourth season of big brother naija has officially kicked off today Sunday, June 30, 2019.
The 2019 edition of bbnaija kicks off in the studio situated in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria.
According to Multichoice Nigeria, this year’s edition of the reality TV show well last 92days of intense drama, romance, and spice.
With the organisers promising 12 different spices- with a spice dished out each week- the housemates were ushered into the well decorated BBNaija house they reek so much of the Nigerian cultures.
The show, which has Ebuka as the host as unveiled by the organisers in February 2019 will run till September 30.
The opening show will kick off at exactly 7pm today when all the housemates will be revealed as well as the one housemate that was chosen by the viewers through social media polls.
The reality show will kick off with a two- hour launch show that will air live on Africa Magic showcase.
With the new season, the organisers, MultiChoice Nigeria has upped the ante with the announcement of N60million worth of prizes for the winner.
Breakdown of the prizes for the winner includes; N30million cash prize; an SUV from Innoson Motors; a trip to Dubai for two, packaged by TravelBeta; a home make-over courtesy Scanfrost; a year’s supply of Pepsi and One Africa Fest VVIP experience; a year’s supply of Indomie Noodles and Munch It; and a brand new Oppo mobile smartphone. There’s also a bonus prize of two VIP Tickets to watch a European Football final game live, courtesy BET9ja.
This season’s grand prize is an increase from the previous edition, which saw Miracle Ikechukwu Igbokwe walking away with N45m worth of prizes.
Speaking on the increased prize money, the Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe said: “Each edition of Big Brother Naija significantly improves on all aspects of the previous season and this year is no different. The winner of season four will walk away from the house with a N30m cash prize and a top of the range SUV among many other exciting prizes. The Big Brother Naija winner will also emerge as the most popular and marketable personality on the continent, as the show is known to launch prominent careers in arts, entertainment and other supporting industries.”
The intense battle for the N60 million grand prize will continue on the dedicated24-hour live channel s of BBNaija- DStv channel 198 and GOtv channel29.
The technology is mind boggling and this might be the new home of Big Brother Africa.
The BBNaija House is one of the most unique in Africa with the fibre connection that ensures seemlesss connection and no issues.
Where to watch
The opening ceremony will air live on Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Urban and Africa Magic Family. The intense battle for the N60 million grand prize for 92 days will continue on the dedicated 24-hour live channels of BBNaija which will be available on all DStv packages, GOtv Max and GOtv Plus.
Fans outside the African continent won’t be able to watch the reality TV show live. However, from Monday, July 1, 2019, Africa Magic’s YouTube channel will showcase the opening show and will be available for one month. Furthermore, the BBNaija YouTube channel will show two exclusive daily highlight moments while the Africa Magic website will also treat viewers to eight exclusive daily highlight moments. These internet channels will also feature additional BBNaija content including exclusive live interviews with the music artists and the evictees after the Sunday eviction shows.
Some protesters on the platform of #ChurchToo Movement are currently in front of the Commonwealth Zion Assembly (COZA) in Abuja and Lagos.
They marched to the church to protest alleged rape of Busayo Dakolo, celebrity photographer, by Biodun Fatoyimbo, founder of COZA.
Although Fatoyinbo has denied the allegation, the protesters have asked him to step down until investigation is concluded.
Below are pictures:
Residents of Ipodo community in Ikeja area of Lagos State woke up to receive unusual visitors in the neighborhood on Saturday.
A battalion of military personnel from the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army swarmed the neighbourhood in early hours for environmental sanitation, cleaning streets of filth.
Led by the Commander of 9 Brigade in Ikeja, Brigadier-General Nasir Mohammed Jega, the troops moved to the area with sanitation materials, including shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows, to carry the exercise organised in commemoration of the Nigerian Army Day.
The startled residents watched in awe as the soldiers dropped their riffles and swept the streets, clearing the drainages of PET bottles and used sachets.
The sanitation started from Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way to Olowu Street and ended Oriyomi Street.
The exercise was also held simultaneously in Ikoyi and Ojo areas of the state, where the troops engaged in cleaning exercise.
On the choice of sanitation as part of activities marking the Day, Brig-Gen. Jega said the military leadership in Lagos was excited by the environmental approach of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration, pointing out that the exercise became a necessity to encourage Lagos residents on the need to promote cleanliness.
He said: “Nigerian Army believes in the cleanliness and we promote green activities as community service, because healthy environment brings about higher productivity. We are also doing this in support of the environmental initiative of the Lagos State Governor.
“We chose Ipodo community in Ikeja for this exercise since it is close to our 9 Brigade Cantonment.
“The sanitation is also to promote cordial relationship between the Nigerian Army and civilians living in communities around our formations. This is a directive from the Chief of Army Staff,” he said.
Brig-Gen. Jega said the Army also organised a free medical outreach to mark the Day adding that the celebration will also feature thanksgiving services at the church and mosque, before it would be wrapped up by a parade on the final day.
Residents hailed the soldiers for the exercise, describing it as “uncommon service from men in uniform”.
A resident of Olowu Street, Mr. Ogbonna Onwuzurike, said the gesture of the soldiers would prod residents into action to keep the area clean.
“We are excited that military officers are taking steps to improve their relationship with civilians. This is one of the ways to show that soldiers are friendly. I couldn’t have imagined soldiers would engage in this kind of activity, much less coming to clean up our drainages.
“This gesture would encourage residents and owners of businesses on this street to dedicate time for sanitation. “Before the soldiers came, used plastic bottles and nylon had blocked the drainages. Now that the gutters have been cleared, we can sleep with our eyes closed.”
Chief Olusegun Osoba, former Governor of Ogun State, will be 80 in July. He is celebrating this milestone on Monday, 8 July, 2019 with a book titled ”Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics” at Eko Hotel, Lagos. The autobiography is published by Diamond Publications Limited. The book gives a detailed account of Chief Osoba’s life. As the title indicates, there are stories about his school days, his pranks, his life as a great reporter, his genius as a manager, his politics, and his pro-democracy struggles, etc. PM NEWS finds a chapter titled: “The Customs Woman who arrested my Heart,” very interesting. It is a story about how he met his wife and the romance and deep understanding that have sustained their relationship.
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Former Governor of Ogun State and veteran journalist, Chief Olusegun Osoba has narrated how he met the love of his life, Aderinsola and their getting married in 1973.
In his book that will be launched on July 8, 2019 heralding his birthday on July 15, Osoba devoted a full chapter to celebrate the love of his life and how he met her as a Customs officer. He simply captioned the chapter as “The Customs Woman who arrested my Heart.”
According to Osoba, it was in the heat of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970), that he met a pretty woman who would end up as his wife and the mother of his children.
He narrated: “I was returning from England by ship. In the course of going through customs clearance, I noticed an efficient female customs officer, who seemed interested only in her work and not any idle chatter. She checked the papers, without being overbearing or overtly friendly. When it was my turn, I just stared at how this lady was conducting her business, searching my luggage and clearing me with ease, decorum and professional efficiency.
“Deep down, she struck me as a good-looking lady. She arrested my attention so much that the reporter in me couldn’t ask her anything all through. I was too mesmerized to even ask of her name and her personal details. But, in tune with a hit song of that era, what will be, will be, ‘Que sera, sera.’”
He said a week after, as destiny would have it; he met her again at a party in Apapa and that he was wondering: “Was she not that girl, that customs officer?” He said she came in the company of a close friend of hers, the then Miss. Moji Kukoyi, his wife was then Miss. Adeyemi.
“I happened to know Moji very well because she was dating one of my friends. “Is she not the same customs lady?” I kept asking myself. In her, I saw an image of a reserved, unobtrusive person, a wife material. At that time, I was a man-about-town. I had all kinds of women around me. But then, I saw this “game-changer” of a lady and I said to myself: “This looks like a girl that I could be involved in something serious.
“Moji created the link. When I then started courting her, I found that she came from a highly disciplined home. The first heat I got was from the father. In those days, the best you could do is to take your girlfriend to the cinema or maybe take her on a walk along the Marina. Marina in those days was not sand-filled. It was so close to the Lagoon with small boats floating and dangling on the waters, with trading taking place on the waters. It was the place of buy cheap bric-a-brac from seamen who wanted quick money for their imported wares.
“I can never forget this experience as boyfriend and girlfriend. I took ‘Derin one day to go and watch a football match at Onikan Stadium. Those were the days when going to the stadium to watch live football match was a big national passion, not just in Lagos. We went to the stadium and to my shock, by the time we came back, the father had written a query for her to explain why he should come home and not find her at home. And that struck me positively. A father who gives a written query to the daughter is a disciplinarian who wants only the best for her daughter.
“That disciplined background further endeared me to her. My father-in-law, Pa S.O. Adeyemi, remains dear in my heart. Throughout our marriage till he died, if there were issues between me and his daughter, I was never wrong. His stance angered my wife at a point that she wrote him off as incapable of seeing things from her own viewpoint. His attitude was: You are married. As a married woman, you just have to respect and honour your husband at all times and in all circumstances.
“He would chastise her openly, but behind, he would call me and whisper to me that women are difficult to manage and that I too should learn to be patient and tolerant. My father-in-law’s attitude, I must say, contributed a lot to saving our marriage. His influence was one that weighed on me to make the marriage to succeed in spite of all the challenges, in spite of all the odds,” he explained.
Osoba said his mother never bothered who he married or where he married from, saying she was just too happy to see him married at long last because at a point, she was getting worried that he had stayed too long as a bachelor and that like all mothers, she was too eager to see her grandchildren before passing on, adding that the only thing she objected to was marrying a white woman, as he was at that time had a white girlfriend long before he met his wife.
The former governor said people often said he was impatient and that he hed a volcanic temperament, which he said he got from the newsroom, as one could not be in the newsroom and not be temperamental.
“The pressure of the newsroom acts on your system. Newspaper production of my time entailed working late into the night to get the first edition out and following up with developments to ensure the second edition was even fresher. That way you stayed ahead of the competition. The result is that my sleeping pattern is distorted. Up till today, I cannot sleep before 1 or 2 in the morning. And it has affected my children, too. Nobody in Osoba house goes to bed before midnight. The pressure cooker of running a newsroom has so affected my life that I am very impatient, I can’t suffer fools gladly.
“It even got to a point where my wife granted an interview to a magazine saying there is no other woman who can live with me as she is the only one who can cope with Segun Osoba. She said that for many reasons. At that time, monitoring radio, particularly foreign radio stations was a daily habit that had almost become an addiction. Foreign radio was a major source of news for newspapers. By 6.30 in the morning, I will be on BBC, VOA monitoring news while she was still sleeping. Of course, I disturbed her sleep daily with the buzz and crackling sounds of the radio. And late in the night, I am still on radio, on BBC, VOA and other foreign news source, because in those days, there was no CNN, on BBC TV, no Sky news, no Aljazeera in our time. So she was always feeling that I was a thorough nuisance-or “newsance” if the pun can be permitted.
“But eventually, she too imbibed that culture and gradually became an uninitiated journalist. As Yorubas say, if you wrap black soap for a long time in leaf, the leaf will eventually turn to soap. It will decay into the soap and become part of the soap. She herself had developed a good nose for news and information gathering. The day Chief Awolowo died, we were in Argentina but she was the one who broke the news to us. The first day I introduced her to my friend Sam Amuka and his friend Torch Taire, they both hailed her as the queen and said: “Long may you reign.”
“Because they had seen so many women reign, so many women come and go, but this one looked like she had come to stay and would reign for a long time. They were clairvoyant. They had spotted the woman they believed would be my wife. Today, Sam Amuka remains a close friend of the family. He knows everything about marital life and he is one of the few that my wife has tremendous love and respect for. If she has any problem today, Sam would be one of the first she will call,” he narrated.
Osoba said he wedded his wife in 1973 and their first child came nine months after the wedding, saying that his wife obviously iwas one woman who had continued to fill him with admiration, as he admired her beauty and simplicity and ever natural.
“She wears what suits her. She is just a simple African lady. All the successes I have been able to make in life, she had made tremendous contribution to them. First, she has stabilized the home, stabilized my life, showing understanding in the face of my harassments of her and the emotional destabilization of her mind. But she weathered them all. I have a background of a disciplined home too. My father and mother had just me and my brother. There is no issue outside the family. I have no reason or cause to go into a polygamous relationship. I thank God that He gave me the discipline and restraint to know when to stop, to know how to go with women. She is my adviser. Even in public office, when I am speaking in public, she is the one pinching me and letting me to know that “it is enough.” In my temper, she is the one restraining me and telling me: “You are going too far.” She is one lady who tells me bluntly what she feels,” he praised her virtues. (PM News)
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria says it has reached out to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria over the allegations of rape levelled against the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo.
The Special Assistant, Media and Communications to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, said this in a statement on Saturday.
Some other alleged victims have also come forward, accusing the pastor of rape, an allegation Fatoyinbo has denied.
However, CAN said it would get to the root of the matter.
The statement read in part, “The Christian Association of Nigeria as a body, condemns any case of rape in strong terms, it doesn’t matter who is involved.
“It is ungodly, wicked, and reprehensible. However, on the allegations against Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo, we have no details about the matter other than what we are reading on the social media, this is not reliable and credible evidence enough to jump into a conclusion.
“The CAN Leadership, therefore, has reached out to the leadership of the block which the Pastor in question belongs with a view to getting to the root of the matter. This will help us to make the right decision on the issue.”
The former national legal adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Muiz Banire has warned the party to brace up for real test in 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office ends, adding that the cracks in the leadership circle of the party will make it difficult for it to survive.
The three-time commissioner in Lagos State stated this on Thursday at the 2019 opening ceremony of United Action for Change, which was held in Oshodi, Lagos State. Speaking on the theme “The Nigerian Youth,” Banire advised both the general public and the leadership of the party on how to safeguard its future, adding that its future lies on how the elders treat the youth.
“It is the president that is holding the party together. When he leaves office, the party will scatter and that is when we will face a real test,” he said. “We have people who run the party as if it is a union. Others think the party is their family meeting and want to dictate what will go. If the party fails, the young generation will have to start afresh.”
He advised Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to put plans in place to start building a decent generation of youths, adding that the practice where governors install their cronies in local government elections should be abolished.
“Since the local government wants to be autonomous, it will be better for the federal government to also see the elections of these local governments. Local government elections are supposed to be breeding ground for future politicians who should be mostly youths, but governors have turned it to selective posts,” he stated.
He also advised youths on how to overcome intimidating old political moneybags: “If you people can gather and have a representative; if you can look for how to be relevant to your immediate environment; and if you can say no to the pressure of corruption, maybe then, you will have a chance to become leaders. These elders can’t make a policy that will benefit you, even I can’t in totality make a policy that will benefit you, it is you who should be making policy for yourself.”
Otunba Olufemi Okenla, Chief Executive Officer, Ibis Hotel, who was also the chairman of the planning committee, enjoined youths to make the most of the three-day camping seminar. “This is the fourth edition which shows that there is progress. We are trying to build leaders who will be selfless and diligent in their services. The main aim of this gathering is not for you to meet people, but how you can use the person you are meeting here for good for yourself and another,” he stated.
Dignitaries scheduled to appear at the three-day seminar included Mr Gabriel Ogbechie, Group General Manager, Rainoil, Dr Garba Abari, Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Mrs Ibidun Ighodalo, wife of respected Lagos Pastor, Ituah Ighodalo among others.
Biodun Fatoyinbo is making the headlines but not for a good reason. The founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has been accused by Busola, wife of Timi Dakolo, a Nigerian singer, of sexual assault.
In a video interview she had with Chude Jideonwo of Ynaija, Busola narrated how Fatoyinbo allegedly raped her twice while she was a teenager. According to Busola, a celebrity photographer, she was a member of the church when the incident happened. Fatoyinbo has denied the allegation but this is not the first time that he would be accused of sexually abusing a member of his church.
In 2013, one Ese Walter set the internet space abuzz when she alleged that she had an illicit love affair with Fatoyinbo while she was studying for her master’s degree in London. According to her narrative, Fatoyinbo had gained her trust, favour, and confidence over the one year period she was attending his church before she travelled abroad.
While hers was not particularly a rape incident, she alleged that Fatoyinbo initiated the sexual move that would turn into an illicit sexual affair that lasted for days. Walter said Fatoyinbo had come to London and invited her to his hotel room where he manipulated her into having sex with him.
“While there, he sat on a reclining chair and asked me to come sit on his laps. This was a bit awkward for me and I froze for a moment as I asked why. He said he had told me to feel free with him and loosen up,” Walter had said.
“I found myself strolling to sit on his laps. At that moment, I felt like a little girl who was experiencing something her mind couldn’t fathom. He asked me to kiss him and all I could think about was seeing him preach on the pulpit back in COZA Abuja, Nigeria, which was my home church. He again said ‘feel free Ese.’ And asked again, that I kiss him.
“A few hours later, let’s just say, we were rolling under the sheets. It felt as though my mind had paused. I am not saying I was jazzed, (although it’s possible I was in some trance like state and didn’t know it but I just was so afraid that I couldn’t say or think otherwise.)
“That was the beginning of this affair. A sexual affair that went on for a little over a week, DAILY!”
While some believed Walter’s story, others doubted it, accusing her of wanting to drag Fatoyibo’s name in the mud.
Walters full allegation in 2013 is reproduced below:
I want to talk about something I have kept bottled up inside for longer than necessary. I have also decided to use real names, as my defense for any accusation of slander is justification. I tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. However, feel free to throw your doubt around but know that I am past the shaming game (where victims of abuse are shot down by blame) I am no longer a victim but a survivor who is sharing her experience to help others caught in same web of abuse, guilt and shame. We only get to live once right? So here, it goes…
I recently came to know this event too was abuse (recently here means about 6 months ago). It has literally been eating me up having to drive by another billboard advertising preachers, or hearing his name, or even trying to ask about the validity of the entire salvation story and whether or not there is a God that truly watches over his people. That being said, I’m just going to say it as it is. This is a recap of my affair with Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of COZA (Common Wealth Of Zion Assembly) Abuja chapter. This affair I have come to know as a form of abuse as you would see the different elements of abuse very present.
I met Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo many years ago. I was getting bored of the church I was attending and someone suggested COZA. At the time, I had never heard about it. My friend said, go there, I’m sure you would enjoy the word. But he also gave me a strong warning. He said he would advice that I remain a member only and not join the workforce. I agreed. The first time I attended COZA, I felt it was my church and decided I was going to plant my ass there. About eleven months had gone by and I was still attending the services quietly and faithfully. I really did like the church. One day a worker in the church approached me that the senior pastor wanted to see me.
Me? I thought. Why would the senior pastor want to see me? Not the second man but the head nigga in charge? Ok na! I started to think my sin was oozing so bad the pastor could tell I needed Jesus. (Poor old me.) I saw him at the end of the second service (they had two services at the time) and he said to me that he would like me to work with him. I knew I had no intentions of becoming a pastor so I had to ask in what capacity. He said he’d like for me to join a department, preferably the Pastoral Care Unit (PCU).
A few weeks later, against my friend’s advice not to join the workforce, I was a PCU member. All of a sudden, I had some status in church. I was ‘somebody.’ Dress had to be on point, hair, shoes and what not… As workers, we were literally trying to outshine each other or so it seemed. Anyways, I felt like I was a privileged member of an elite circle. Hehehe. (It did feel good though, for the most part.)
About a year after joining the workforce, I was on my way to London for a Masters degree program that would last two years. As was the rule for workers travelling, I wrote to say I would be away for 2 years and Pastor Biodun Fotoyinbo asked that I keep in touch by sending him my number and email when I had settled in London so he “makes sure I continue in the faith” because according to him, people loose their faith when they leave home and he wanted to make sure I didn’t. So, on that note, as soon as I got a phone line in London, I was sure to call ‘my pastor’ to say I arrived safe, had settled in and also gave my phone number.
We had spoken a few times especially when COZA started to stream online. I always watched and would give feedback on quality of production and share a little bit on the challenges I faced settling in a new land. One evening, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo called me that he was coming to London and needed me to help him make some hotel bookings as the person who was meant to do it couldn’t get it done (this was rather strange as I had never been involved in his travel itinerary) Later that day, he said it had been sorted and my help would not be required but that he would like me to arrange a cab to pick him up from Heathrow. I was happy to help my pastor from Nigeria and even saw it as a privilege. (I would later come to learn that all of this was a calculated attempt to hatch a plan that I suspect was set in motion when I was asked to join the workforce.)
The cab guy was there to get him the next day and when he arrived, he called to ask why I didn’t accompany the cab to pick him up (again, this was strange but I stopped my mind from overanalyzing the situation as I knew I had no business with his visit to London) About two hours later, he called me and said he would like to see me. When I arrived his hotel, I called from the reception but he asked that I come upstairs. I got to the room and tried to stop my mind from thinking why I was going to his room. As he opened the door and invited me in, I had to speak to my heart to stop its palpitations. My better judgment asked me not to go into the room but the kind of reverence I had for Pasotr Biodun Fatoyinbo bordered on fear and I steeped into that room.
“Care for a drink?” Asked Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
“No sir,” I said.
“You don’t have to be shy Ese, even if it’s alcohol, feel free and order what you want.” I wasn’t sure I heard my pastor asking me to order alcohol. I imagined it was a test and ignored the voice inside that was saying, “I’d have henny and coke please.” He proceeded to ask how I had been coping in London and if I was a committed member of any church. He also said he thought there was something special about me and wanted to know that I had not strayed from my faith. I really thought he had heard I was doing something I shouldn’t while in London but tried my best to focus on the conversation instead of my straying thoughts. He kept telling me to relax and feel comfortable with talking to him. After a few minutes, he asked that we go to the roof of the hotel as his room was a pent suite and had a connecting door to the roof.
While there, he sat on a reclining chair and asked me to come sit on his laps. This was a bit awkward for me and I froze for a moment as I asked why. He said he had told me to feel free with him and loosen up. I found myself strolling to sit on his laps. At that moment, I felt like a little girl who was experiencing something her mind couldn’t fathom. He asked me to kiss him and all I could think about was seeing him preach on the pulpit back in COZA Abuja, Nigeria, which was my home church. He again said ‘feel free Ese.’ And asked again, that I kiss him.
A few hours later, let’s just say, we were rolling under the sheets. It felt as though my mind had paused. I am not saying I was jazzed, (although it’s possible I was in some trancelike state and didn’t know it but I just was so afraid that I couldn’t say or think otherwise.) That was the beginning of this affair. A sexual affair that went on for a little over a week, DAILY!
I can hear somebody’s mind thinking, ‘well, you weren’t raped.” And I remember a pastor I opened up to when I couldn’t take all the mind games asking if I seduced him. No, I didn’t seduce him and no, I wasn’t raped but I felt trapped in this affair. Come to think of it, how could I have seduced him when I wanted nothing from him? I mean, I was too busy minding my business in London trying to get through with my masters program and I was overly comfortable. And even if I wanted to seduce anyone, it wouldn’t be a married man, not to mention a married pastor.
What I couldn’t reconcile the whole time, was how the same person who preached against the very things we were doing (i.e drinking in pubs, fornicating, committing adultery) was the same person endorsing and encouraging it.
At some point, I got really confused about what Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and I were doing that I had to ask how he handles it. I will never forget what he said to me. He said and I quote, “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” My mind couldn’t fathom that somehow grace was enough covering for not just fornication on my path, adultery on his path and the many lies that was bound to follow what we were doing that was clearly abominable. I somehow dealt with the thoughts and fears that followed on my path. He had said to me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend and he would take me around the world and spoil me with money and things. Somehow, money had never been one of the things that motivated me (I am from a home where all my needs have been adequately met) In all my ‘badness’ through finding myself, I never did things I did for money but more of rebellion against rules and authority.
Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo also said to me that he had a dream where I exposed what was happening to the media. Said it was all over the place and that people were calling me the girl that caused chaos in COZA. He also said I should remember the bible said to “touch not God’s anointed.” I immediately started to rebuke the devil and said I could never do anything like that. I was almost swearing with my entire family as I thought really I had touched God’s anointed by submitting my body to be used. Little did I know at the time that all of these were ways to mess with my mind and even manipulate my thoughts.
Fast-forward a few months later, I was back in Nigeria and my church had become uncomfortable. Anytime I sat in church and listened to Pastor Biodun preach, I felt shame. I finally sent him a message saying I wasn’t comfortable anymore. I was confused and needed to talk about what had happened. He said I should meet him to talk and I did. It was a really weird meeting for me especially when he tried to kiss me at our meeting. I finally realized at this point that he couldn’t help me. I thought God was angry with me and I couldn’t pray so I decided to withdraw completely from COZA. This was the beginning of my mental torture. I couldn’t talk to my family because already, I was the only one attending a different church and somehow my mom never liked the idea. As the days went by I tried to use drinking and smoking to cover up the deep shame and guilt I was battling with. But as soon as the high was over, the thoughts came back and I felt stuck like I couldn’t move forward.
I felt I had to talk to someone and I decided to speak to my then good friend, Ernest Akale but unfortunately for me, Mr. Ernest did not have the capacity to hold what I said to him. He broke down completely the days that followed and I found myself having to pause how I was feeling and what I was struggling with to help my friend be strong. After a while, he withdrew from not just me but his then fiancé and friends. I had to then tell the fiancé what had caused it (she suspected we were having an affair so I had to clear the air) To my surprise she was a lot stronger than her man and told me to suck it up (I’m paraphrasing). She said if she were me, she wouldn’t leave the church but stay to torment Pastor Biodun and collect money from him. Ok! That sounded extreme for me, as my intention was not to blackmail but to heal my broken self. Anyways, I finally found the courage to speak to my then unit head who said he was going to talk to Pastor Biodun but didn’t have the liver to do so. Before long, the story was spreading and naturally getting twisted.
I went to a new church and it seemed like the COZA bug had chased me there. The pastor would always refer to COZA as some example and each time that was done, it seemed like a spear was thrust through my chest. One day, I broke down in the service and started crying uncontrollably, as I couldn’t take another mention of COZA and the pictures it painted in my head.
Very long, boring story cut short, for the last 5 months I gave the whole church thing a big space and break. I wasn’t sure I believed in God. I wasn’t sure I understood what it meant when people said ‘Jesus saves” and I definitely wasn’t sure how to deal with the mental torture that was affecting not just me but my relationships with family and friends. I was very unstable, fearful and worst of all guilty.
I got a chance to talk to Pastor Folarin of COZA Lagos Chapter, popularly called Pastor flo about everything. I made an effort to reach out to him because I realized the right thing to do was talk to an elder in the church and seek some sort of remedy to a wrong I believed had been done me. Instead, Pastor Flo said, Pastor Biodun had confessed to him and they had ‘talked’ about it and somehow that was supposed to be Ok. He asked what it was I wanted coming to talk to him about it when I did, I told him I realized what happened between Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and I was wrong and not just that I felt abused and manipulated. I also said I thought it was wrong for Pastor Biodun to go on preaching without taking time to deal with his personal character flaws. I said I thought he was danger to all the young women that attended the church.
Come to think of it, maybe he meant if I wanted something monetary or material (as someone had suggested when I opened up to her) but the truth is, I never wanted his money (or is it the church member’s money.) All I wanted was to meet with him and have him accept that he misled me, betrayed his wife and the church he pastors. I wasn’t the only lady in COZA who had been a victim of his s*xcapades and manipulative patterns but I was the one who could come back after months of struggle with not just my faith but also my affair with him. And I wanted to set things right. I wanted to talk to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo maybe for closure and I felt like I needed an apology because he played the “touch not my anointed” card to keep me locked in guilt, shame and fear when all along it was a calculated plan and I dare say, it started when he asked me to join the workforce.
Not to mention the audacity to talk about teaching me a level of grace I didn’t understand. I had no intention of understanding a grace that would permit me to go on doing things that were wrong and what’s worse having to carry the burden for almost a year.
Different surprising advises came up in the weeks that followed the rumour making rounds. I was told to hush because Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo had been a cultist in the past and could send people to shut me up. All my so-called friends in COZA withdrew from me and treated me like I had the plague. What was worse was Pastor Flo finally saw my then pastor to ‘talk’ about what had happened with Pastor Biodun and lied that it happened once and was a mistake.
My question then became, ‘do these people even care how broken I had become?’ ’do they care about the emotional and spiritual welfare of the people they were pastoring?’ The sad answer was NO. Most of us old members of COZA kept leaving but they couldn’t care less. What was important was to keep growing the church and having more and more cars with stickers that read “More than enough.” Back then, I always felt horrible when I saw another car drive past me with the sticker.
I was breaking, I was struggling but no one could help. All they could do was ask me to hide so Pastor Biodun’s goons don’t hurt me. And then the interesting one was if I had evidence to prove my claim. Let me just say here that, it isn’t a claim, it’s a confession to free me from all of the guilt and shame I have had to live with for no reason at all. (That being said, I have evidence to prove all I have said here, the latest being a 58 minutes recording of my meeting with Pastor Flo a few months back)
This is my confession and I cannot begin to describe how much weight has been lifted off of my shoulders just pouring the truth out about what went down. So, to all my ex COZA friends gossiping about me, get your facts right. To those who said they’d help me deal with the pain but didn’t, I forgive you, I have learnt how to deal with it and I am doing just fine. To those who fear for my safety saying Pastor Biodun would send people to shut me up, I really have gone past fearing for my life. To live is gain and to die is Christ (or how does Paul say it again?) And to the only person who ever supported me through it all, thank you, I am learning to be brave. Please don’t think I am perfect in all of this but in line with living my authentic life and putting all forms of abuse behind me, this is where I press the stop button and stop the bleeding. This is where I break the silence and call the church to stand up for what it has been commissioned to do. If you will not enter the Kingdom, please don’t stop others who are trying to enter.
I still remember when I used to nurse the idea of digging up emails, text messages, hotel billings (as once I used my card to pay for his room when his master card failed to work) to prove there was an affair. It was pathetic. Why for the love of heaven was I trying to dig up evidence? I am satisfied setting the record straight. I am ready for any shaming or bashing that would follow because the truth is, because of what I have suffered and come through, I am really not moved by what people say or think about me anymore. I am a stronger woman and a damn abuse survivor seeking to connect with other victims of abuse to show them how to deal with the shame, hurt and guilt and how to come out stronger. Turning their mess into their message.
I am Ese Walter and I have gone through all forms of abuse from family, boyfriends, my ex pastor and some strangers not to break me, but so I stand and so I qualify to help victims. My scars have qualified me and when all is said and done, I will still be standing. I AM WOMAN, I BEND, I DON’T BREAK!
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has named Abdullahi Adamu as Senate leader. It has also named former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu as chief whip.
Ajayi Boroffice was named as deputy leader, while Yahaya Abdullahi got the position of deputy chief whip of the upper legislative chamber. The emergence of the four lawmakers, followed weeks of meetings and negotiations among leaders of APC in Abuja.
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, was initially tipped to emerge as Senate leader. He was favoured by the camp of the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan. Last minute negotiations, saw the emergence of Adamu. The announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday when the Senate resumes. The party is expected to name leaders of the House of Representatives before next Tuesday. It is still unclear who will emerge in the House.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a forthright ago, named its own leaders, with Enyinnaya Abaribe emerging as minority leader. (The Sun)