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Alleged rape: Why COZA’s Pastor Fatoyinbo stepped aside

Biodun Fatoyinbo
Indications emerged on Monday that embattled Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) founder, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, may have been forced by his spiritual father to step down over the rape allegation against him.
Fatoyinbo announced his stepping aside from pastoral duties in the church, a move that followed Sunday’s cancellation of the church’s Seven Days of Glory (7DGs) program, which was billed to feature international pastors of repute.
While Nigerians on social media applauded the move by Fatoyinbo and attributed same to the protests against him in Lagos and Abuja branches of the church, a statement by Senior Pastor of Covenant Christian Centre (CCC) Poju Oyemade insinuated the embattled cleric acted in reverence to his spiritual leader.
Oyemade, who said he was heartbroken and could not complete the video in which Fatoyinbo’s accuser Mrs. Busola Dakolo narrated her ordeal, explained how he contacted the unnamed Christian leader Fatoyinbo respects.
“I could only watch the tape by Busola Dakolo for a few minutes, it was difficult to sit through it. From what I heard it is impossible not to be heartbroken and sympathize with her. She must have gone through a lot and then to sit to tape her experience must have been very painful. She is today a wife and mother of three to have to relive a 20-year-old experience.
“I immediately contacted the spiritual leader in the Body of Christ I believe Pastor Biodun defers in authority to, to wade into the issue and bring about a decision. He informed me of his position.
“It was that Pastor Biodun should first step down from the pulpit indefinitely, suspend seven days of glory and make a public statement. These he made known to him directly in an hour. This should serve as the first step.
“He informed me that was the position and asked my opinion. We had three objectives in mind.
“1. Justice, 2. Healing, 3. Redemption. I have been informed that the decisions to step down and cancel the seven days of Glory have been made.
“It is apparent that the manner in which our Pentecostal Churches were/are born with an individual receiving a call directly from God and we all operating largely as independent bodies, our governing structures are not as strong as in the orthodox church settings with the exemption of Pentecostal denominations where you are appointed a pastor and can be easily sanctioned.
“This, however, makes it imperative that we go an extra mile to show a high level of compassion and sense of responsibility for people placed under our care or else what has brought our great growth may be what will destroy us.
“For those who have been abused and exposed in our independent Pentecostal structures, I deeply apologize and we will seek to build stronger structures through peer reviews and in our relationships,” Oyemade wrote.
Announcing his leave of absence, Fatoyinbo said the past few days have been sobering for him adding that he took time to pray, sought spiritual counsel from Christain leaders across the world.
He said: “I have solicited their guidance on actions I should take that is honoring to our Lord Jesus Christ and the work He has called me to do.
“Drawing from their counsel and that of the leadership of COZA and owing to my love for God’s work and the sacred honor of my calling, I have decided to take a leave of absence from the pulpit of the church.
“Although it would break my heart to tatters to stay a day without doing ministry I believe it is the right thing to do at this time. It is in the interest of the flock of Christ that issues concerning me do not become a distraction to their worship of their Lord.
“This step enables me to submit to the concerns of my spiritual mentors as they consider all the issues that have been raised against me.
“My confidence in the Lord remains unwavering. Though I do not understand all that is happening, I trust the Lord to lead and guide me one step at a time. Kindly pray for me and the congregation of COZA as we seek the face of the Lord during these turbulent times.”
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