Wow! what a week that was. From denouncements to rape allegations, to protests, to protests against the protests, to a Felix-Liberty look alike apparently a senator, dishing mummy reset slaps to a mummy in a of case assault.
Our Vice-President went rogue and distanced himself from RUGA and the RUGA rage. Then the Presidency, after a lot of clarifications and counter clarifications, suspended the RUGA plan. Suspending the RUGA implementation is just that, unless the Presidency has a credible plan B. The suspension is just a delay to the inevitable.
The accusation of rape against the lead pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyibo was one accusation too many. I am not even referring to the stories of numerous females that have come out to recount similar incidences or the rumours of adultery or the close calls of other females. I’m just referring to the case of Ese Walters and the man of God in 2013. The fact that he has had that scandal lingering is bad enough that he shouldn’t have been involved in a similar scenario albeit more serious.
The interview of Busola Dakola alleging that she was raped at 17 some 20 years ago by Biodun revealed the deep fissures we have in society’s mind as to how damaging rape is or what elements, circumstances and behaviour constitute rape. The seeming grey areas that rapists hide behind to perpetuate their evil can never trump a no, but we have to educate on those grey areas. The predators are the worst kind of rapists.
It also threw up the divide between law and morality. It showed that people would rather the victim be victimised than for the victim to talk about it. On one hand, they expect the rape to be reported as soon as it happens; logical. However, that demand is snatched by the other hand driven by stigmatisation and the victim either rationalises or moves on or in the case of younger kids, keep quiet about it. The number one question and its hybrid unfortunately asked after Busola broke her silence was “why now?” “Why did she wait till after all these years to talk?”
Breaking the culture of shame and silence is the hard work we need to do. Getting women to be part of the solution rather than the problem is going to be one of the uphill tasks. We have women being enablers of rapists. We’ve heard the stories of fathers, uncles, cousins etc., violating, raping and assaulting females and most times the narrative is that usually, a female figure had been told or complained to but was shut up or suppressed by the females involved. There are so many layers to the issue of rape and it is tempting to ask simpleton questions.
A national conversation must be had on rape. During this weekend, it was astounding to hear rape stories, the ages some of them were violated and the circumstances that led to the rape.
There was a whole section that kept screaming that why didn’t Busola go to court. This 20-year-old story of rape has chapters upon chapters with storylines that sometimes got foggy or hazy for you to piece together. It felt like reading a thriller with sub-plots and sub-sub-plots. The other layer was the supposed attack against the church and the annoyance that Biodun was a soft target because he’s popular. One reporter asked me, if the outrage would have been the same if it had been an ordinary person-we do remember Ochanya? Despite people’s good intentions and desire for her abusers to be brought to book, the Police somewhat bungled the arrest of the son and he escaped. Nothing much has been heard as it made its way to court. There’s also the story of a 4-year old daughter was raped by a 28year old cook and the unimaginable stress the mother went through to get justice for her daughter. She’s back in the news because he is about to be released from jail on July 5, after being behind bars for three years. She’s fighting to stop the release. Sometimes it takes the ‘celebrity status’ to get the message out there to a wider forum. There was a lot of emotional blackmail about talking or accusing the ‘man of God.’ If he didn’t want a backlash, then he should have kept his sins simple because sin he will. The way he handled the whole situation reeked of guilt. If I had been him since he’s sticking to his story that no such thing happened, he should have extended a ‘Christian’ arm of fellowship and invited them for a talk since the couple and Biodun have a history. It would have been a calculated risk but my hunch is that they would have been swayed by public outcry not to honour the invitation. He would have immediately changed the narrative.
I wouldn’t have released that press statement either. I’m not sure how much of the Bible he reads but there’s almost a whole chapter on believers not going to court (1 Corinthians 6) and if anyone is expected to be full of belief, it would be a pastor. On the day of the protest, he (and the church leadership) made a wrong move by getting his security team to set up a human barricade, deployed all the state apparatus of security, employed the services of brick layers and gave them placards praise singing him. It was awful to watch and reminded me of the Revered Jim Jones and the Guyana tragedy. If I had been him, I would have received the protesters, bearing gifts.
Rape has become an epidemic in our country. Enough of it being swept under the carpet. Time to review the rape laws too.
As for the Senator, if you commit the crime, you have to do the time, even as an ambassador!
I love this tweet by this handle @Boladele Adekoya
Nigerians won all the advocacies this week
Biodun Fatoyibo-Stepped down
Elisha Abbo-under investigation
Buhari RUGA -Suspended
This is how Office of the Citizen works. If we keep quiet, they will do nothing.
I agree with him if only we can sustain the momentum for the next four years to start; especially in terms of governance then maybe we can embrace Next Level.
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