Editor's note: A Nigerian pastor, Sunday Adelaja has reacted to the recent allegation of rape against the founder and senior pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Patsor Biodun Fatoyinbo by Busola Dakolo.
Adelaja said on no account should rape or any form of sexual assault be tolerated in any society.
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This is my response to Legit.ng request on my take on the recent rape saga against the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo.
With regard to the rape allegations made by Mr. and Mrs. Busola and Timi Dakolo following the four-part video interview with Y Naija, I hope this article will explain my stance in regards to the rape and sexual abuse in Nigeria as a whole.
Firstly, I must say that rape is an atrocious act condemned by the law in every nation of the world. On no account should rape or any form of sexual assault be tolerated in any society. Culprits must face the full weight of the law, and justice must be served in a court of law.
In the West, the awareness of the intolerance and condemnation against rape and sexual assault is so high to a level that every citizen knows how bad it is and the penalty for rapists. It is, however quite unfortunate that this awareness is lacking in the consciousness of our society in Nigeria. Nigerians are yet to grasp how horrible and damaging rape truly is.
To address this important issue, we must start by accepting the sad reality that our society in Nigeria is chauvinistic. A society based on the power and superiority of the man over the woman. In a chauvinistic society like ours, it is not uncommon for men to have their way in whatever they do, especially in relation to women.
Therefore, even as the whole nation condemns the grievous acts of rape in relation to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, we must also admit that this crime is not limited to one man. This is a crime that cuts across our society at large. As a society, we must take responsibility for many of the issues happening daily as regards the abuse of the women in Nigeria.
Now, I am personally familiar with false accusations, and based on my personal experience, I will not be in a hurry to condemn or judge Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
I subscribe to the legal principle of the presumption of innocence that one is considered innocent unless proven guilty. I think we should all presume Pastor Fatoyinbo is innocent until he is proven guilty by the court of law. Therefore, when I talk about Pastor Fatoyinbo in this article, I do not imply that he is guilty of the crime.
Pastor Biodun is like a scapegoat of the prevalent evil of our society and culture. Hence, I see two categories of people responsible for rape crime either by Pastor Biodun or by any other person. There are two parties to be blamed:
First, the chauvinistic Nigerian Society at large is responsible for this detestable crime. The Nigerian societyexalts men above women, and views women only as a means of satisfying any of man’s desires, either it is sexual, domestic, or social.
The second blame goes to the church in Nigeria. The Nigerian church is set up in such a way that the senior pastor or general overseer is regarded as infallible. The hierarchal system of the church gives absolute power to the senior pastors, and we know that ancient wisdom that says power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
This system leaves the church with no form of accountability, especially with the senior leadership, which means these pastors amass a huge amount of power in their hands.
Any man that sees himself as supreme, possessing absolute impunity falls under the temptation of doing unacceptable things, which could be rape, corruption, suppression of others among many others. Any society or culture that encourages impunity in leadership will end up reaping the fruits of perversion, oppression, corruption and insanity.
Consequently, this rape allegation against one of the most popular pastors in Nigeria is simply a small wound that exposes the massive decay that has been going on in the society at large and the church in particular.
In my opinion, I will like to advise anyone reading this article and those trying to blame and condemn Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo to reflect on the fact that we are all to blame.
The truth is, the Nigerian society is raping women daily. The Nigerian culture promotes the supremacy of strong and wealthy men. The Nigerian society encourages the infallibility of big men and the absolutism of people in power.
Whenever a society is guilty of these things, the powerful men and those in authority take advantage of their positions because they believe nobody can query or question them.
Pastor Biodun’s case is only a case of a single person that is being held responsible for what he did. But a time is coming, when the whole society will be held responsible for constantly abusing women, either through domestic violence, or rape, or in churches, or even in families.
Many of our men in Nigeria are actually raping their wives in the name of having sex with them. Many times, wives say no to their husband’s sexual advances, but the husbands would still force their way to have intercourse with them. That is rape right there.
As I mentioned earlier, our society is yet to understand the full meaning of rape. In the real sense, a rape occurs anytime a man or woman says no, thereby refusing to give consent for sexual intercourse, yet the other party forces his or her way to have intimacy. This certainly happens in families all the time. I know this would be a strange or rather unacceptable definition of rape to many Nigerians. Nevertheless, this is the definition of rape. So before you start to judge, condemn and throw stones at Pastor Fatoyinbo, please take time to reflect.
Another way our society and church is guilty of rape is in our silence on issues of sexual abuse. If we do not talk about it, it means we do not recognize it. If rape is perceived as a taboo topic and doesn’t exist in our discussions, it means the crime doesn’t exist. Even though rape is a crime, according to the law, it is not yet established as a crime in the mind and sub-consciousness of our people. We now have to address it. We have to make rape a common topic in the sub-consciousness of every Nigerian.
We must change our worldview in regards to women in Nigeria. We need to honor women. We need to change the way we view women in our society. Women are not second-class citizens; women are not objects to satisfy our desires; neither are women supposed to be humiliated, suppressed or oppressed in any way.
I think this issue with Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo is an opportunity for the Nigerian society and church to do some self-reflection. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on our behaviors and how we are all guilty. Rather than throwing a stone at one person, we should all reflect on how to make our society better, repent and change our attitude to our daughters, sisters, wives and women generally.
Now, coming to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo; I have seen at least two videos of different women describing how the assault happened, I find their accounts of events difficult to dispute, even though the court of law is yet to find him guilty.
The stories of these women are so credible that it is difficult to think that they would make up such stories. However, I have some thoughts to share if he is guilty.
The first thing I would say is that, if these things are true, then Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo has a pathological and psychological mind distortion.
However, I must say that this distortion is one that is common to many people vilifying him right now. It is a distortion common to psychopaths and narcissists. I will say this distortion is as a result of excessive power. From what I have read about Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, he used to be a cult leader in the university, which means he is familiar with power and probably obsessed with power.
This, however, is not something particular to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, as 90% of Nigerian pastors are not servant leaders. Many of them have the same issue. They are power drunk and power-addicted. Most of the so-called political leaders and even elites in Nigeria are narcissistic-psychopaths.
This is not necessarily because they are bad or evil by themselves. But our society makes leaders become narcissists and psychopaths. Our society worships success and successful people. Our culture encourages the worship of people in a higher position, thereby grooming them to become narcissist and psychopaths.
What we see right now in Pastor Fatoyinbo’s case is a manifestation of what happens every day on our pulpits, in our churches and our society.
Another popular bishop in Nigeria is known to have slapped a young girl, accusing her of being a witch. Any truthful Nigerian will tell you that that is a regular practice in our society. Powerful men slap weaker people, especially if they are women.
That is also abuse, just as rape is an abuse. So, if we know this kind of abuse happens daily in our society, can you now imagine the huge amount of rapes that are going on daily yet are not reported?
Rape is a crime of our elites. It is also the crime of our culture that pushes influential people and elites of our society to become abusive to the people under them.
The solution to this menace is for us to embrace a society that would understand that leadership is all about service. We need to change our value system in Nigeria to embrace stewardship and service as the highest demonstration of humanity.
We must begin to let our elites and leaders know that to be a leader means to serve the weak. Leadership means to help the people in a worse position other than yourself. Rape and other abuses are natural consequences of the kind of society that we have in Nigeria.
Before I conclude, I want to address another question of the possibility that Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo doesn’t quite acknowledge what he has done, going by the fact that he has denied the rape accusation and his wife has also denied the allegations.
For me, I will say that it is hard to believe that Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo doesn’t understand what rape means. He is an educated person, well-travelled, and well read. At that level of exposure and understanding, I think he should know better. He should know what rape is.
Although, to be sincere, most rapists in Nigeria don’t know, talk less of agreeing that they are engaging in rape. Most rapists in our society don’t even recognize that when a woman says “NO” and you force her to be intimate with you, that is already rape.
Going by this, I could say, I understand where Pastor Biodun is coming from. In his mind, it could be that he thinks that since he was able to get these women to succumb eventually, it means he got their consent.
Because from the stories of the women, even though they were telling him “NO”, they eventually succumbed to his pressure and because they succumbed, in the mind of a narcissist and psychopath, he takes that submission to mean consent.
That is why we need to understand why most rapists will not agree to be rapists. This is why those people who abuse women, especially sexually will think that they have not done anything wrong because the women eventually agreed.
This is not common to only rapists, but this is a man issue. Most men have this challenge. They don’t know the line between forcing a woman, committing rape and convincing a woman.
In the mind of most men, when they make a woman do what she initially resisted, they think they are only involved in the act of convincing her to do what they want. Men by nature are hunters and don’t just approach a woman but try to make her accept their proposals.
Therefore, there is a thin line of separation where men need to be educated in our society. We need to explain to our men that “NO” means “NO”. You should never convince yourself to make her forcefully succumb to your ways and think it is okay.
If we don’t educate our boys and men, we should not assume that men would know what is wrong, in this case especially powerful men and men that have the means as they are used to having their ways with no hassle.
My conclusion to this issue is, this is a wake-up call to the whole Nigerian society and the Nigerian Church to learn temperance. With power, we must learn to be temperate. With power, we must learn to be humble. With power, we must learn to become servants as well.
“ Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.” - Matthew 20:26-27 (NKJV)
For the love of God, Church and Nation.
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