Nigerian celebrity pastor, Abiodun Fatoyinbo, may have become public enemy number one over the last two weeks, losing thousands of admirers and subscribers on his social media platforms after being accused of rape in a brief video interview by a former female member of his church, Busola Dakolo.
Fatoyinbo, the founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, popularly known as COZA, and nicknamed ‘Gucci Pastor’, for his taste for expensive jewelries, clothes and ostentatious lifestyle, was accused by Busola, wife of a musician, Timi Dakolo, of raping her twice while she was 17 years old living with her mother in Abuja.
Relatively an anonymous Church leader until about six years when news broke about his alleged amorous affairs with two of his church’s female members, Ms. Ese Walter and one Franca. While Ese confessed she had ‘consensual sex’ with him for about one week in a London hotel, Franca claimed she escaped the attempt to lure her to sleep with Fatoyinbo allegedly at Wheatbaker Hotel in Lagos.
While Fatoyinbo became well known for his social media grandeur posturing, attracting huge following, related scandals and seeming weirdness are reversing his popularity among social media fans.
A study of COZA church and Pastor Fatoyinbo’s Facebook, Istagram and Twitter pages revealed how within two weeks that the story of the alleged rape broke, the hitherto massive traffic had scaled back drastically. In the hours following Busola’s interview, this reporter observed that enormous comments previously celebrating Pastor Fatoyinbo had begun to plummet.
Although, the embattled pastor announced his temporary resignation from the church leadership following the protests that trailed the scandalous news, Nigerians, mostly protesters from within his ministry, called that COZA be shut down temporarily. The protesters’ demand was buoyed by the shocking revelation by yet another former female member that the COZA pastor raped her.
In a social media interview, the unnamed victim, called X, said she joined the church in 2009 and steadily grew close to Fatoyinbo’s wife, Modele, and the family’s children. She alleged that Modele groomed her for her husband by giving her access to the family by making her feel special.
She accepted Modele’s offer to take care of their children as a legal guardian in a city abroad, a job that also required her to work closely with Fatoyinbo who visited regularly to minister to his congregation there.
When the alleged rape happened, she was in a meeting with Fatoyinbo at his residence discussing church business.
She said he left his seat and joined her on the couch she was sitting and then attempted to hug and kiss her despite her protests, actions she found shocking.
X said Fatoyinbo ignored her protest and went on to take off her navy blue jean trouser.
“He started to take that off. I remember trying to fight off. I kept on asking him to stop but he just kept on going.
“He had taken off my button and my zipper was down. And then he had one hand holding me back to the couch and another hand right up in my pant.
“I think at that point, I pretty much just knew what was about to happen,” she said.
She said Fatoyinbo simply kept saying “Just relax” to all of her protests as he went on to rape her.
“He took off his pants and did what he wanted to,” she said.
She noted that she wasn’t shouting during the incident, but that she was crying and blamed herself for putting herself in that situation.
X further said Fatoyinbo apologised profusely after the alleged rape, and then sent her home.
“I didn’t go there to have sex with him. I didn’t ask to have sex with him. I told him to stop on countless occasions. There was no consent. I didn’t give my consent. I didn’t come on to him. I never saw him as anything other than a pastor and a mentor,” said the lady who claimed she worked in the church until 2018.