#COZAGate and what it’s all about
Since the mid hours of yesterday, the social media, and indeed other news outlets, have been agog with news related to the the Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, and the wife of ace Nigerian musician, Busola Dakolo who has alleged that the pastor raped her when she was just 17 and was a choir mistress back in the church then.
Many Nigerians have reacted to the issue, with most taking either sides, and if has indeed, turned into a full debate. Besides this, there are many issues within it that are being taken into cognizance. One of which is that this isn’t the first time the pastor has been dragged for alleged sexual misconduct, with the earliest of the accusations dating back to 2013. But that didn’t gather half the dust which this current accusation has managed to raise.
Flashback to 2013
The very first accusation came from one Miss Ese Walters, who alleged that the pastor, back then in Abuja, took advantage of her sexually, both within and outside the country, when he went on travels and took her. She accused the pastor of using his position to have non consensual sex with her. At that time, when Walters came out, she had very little support with most people accusing her of wanting to tarnish the image of the pastor, with many quoting the popular “touch not my anointed”, and calling her all sorts of names.
To these sort of people, she made up the story, maybe because she had personal beef with the pastor, and sort to bring him down. They felt that it was unthinkable for a pastor to do such, and to that end, an investigation was never done. Biodun Fatoyinbo promised to give a “robust reply” to the claims but till today we haven’t seen any.
2018 – Timi Dakolo’s Outburst In 2018. Timi Dakolo, Nigerian king of love songs, and husband of the woman currently laying dirt on Fatoyinbo’s doorsteps, made a series of posts on Instagram and Twitter, accusing “one popular Abuja pastor” of having sex with his members against their wish. According to him, it was the girls, and family of the girls that reached out to him, and he thought it very sad, that a pastor, who people have placed hope on, would take advantage of those who held him in high esteem.
Although Timi never mentioned any names, everyone guessed he was making allusions to Fatoyinbo. Many people blasted Timi for making unfounded claims with many saying that if he had substantial proof, he should have taken the matter to court instead of bringing it to social media and tarnishing the image of the man for a matter that may not even be true. Timi was however relentless and made the posts for a couple of days then stopped.
May 2019 – In May of 2019, Timi Dakolo came all out with tweets and Instagram posts, this time, mentioning names and being exact with his accusations. He accused Fatoyinbo of sexual assault on women and even minors, and blamed his members for covering up his sins. He found it wrong that pastors should have to hide under a shroud of immunity that made them rise above investigations, and being questioned. But this time, the reaction was counter balanced, with most people supporting Timi Dakolo, and advocating for pastors to be treated like every other individual who has been accused of sexual inappropriation. That the era of “tough not my anointed” was over. The general consensus on Twitter was that people should stop giving pastors the benefit of doubt and blindly defending them in sensitive matters like this without proof, and simply holding on to the fact that simply because he’s a pastor, he cannot do it. The matter gained some traction, and died down. And we thought we had seen the last of it til…
28th of June, 2019 – Busola Dakolo Interview Busola Dakolo granted an interview where she, without mincing words, accused the Pastor of COZA of taking advantage of her at a young age of 17, went into great details. It was a rape matter, and immediately the interview was released, it set Twitter NG ablaze like fire in harmattan.
The matter spread quickly, and gained so much momentum in very little time. Indeed, there has never been a topic, nonpolitical, that has gained people’s attention in a long time. What is more surprising is the manner of people that have since reacted to it. One of the earliest people to comment on the matter was Abike Dabiri, Nigerian foremost spokesperson on diaspora matters, who thanked Busola for speaking up, and demanded that justice be given to her, while pledging her support. Rapper M.I Abaga responded to it by saying that any pastor who took advantage of his members doesn’t deserve to be called a man of God but “a man of Satan”.
So many celebrities and important individuals have reacted to the issue, supporting Busola and demanding that Justice be given. Certain members of the church also have also demanded that Biodun Fatoyinbo need not keep silent on this matter but come out to talk, while also standing with the victim.
COZA’s (Common Wealth of Zion Assembly) Response
For the first time since the allegations, COZA finally released a bulletin where they restated their values as a church while denying reports that the pastor would ever rape someone or engage in any act contrary to what is right in the sight of God. Although most people found the reply as a cliche, and not tactful enough
Legal Implications #istandwithBukolaDakolo
Popular Twitter Advocate, and the man behind the EndSARS movement, Segun Awosanya aka Segalink has stated that the matter would be taken to court as in his words ” we won’t settle for a media trial”. He stated that over 30 people have joined issue with Busola, and the matter would be charged to court and would set a precedent for people who use being in the Lord’s vineyard to commit atrocities.