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From COZA to RUGA and Abbo, the people are speaking

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Going by happenings around us these days, Nigeria, it would appear, has become some kind of theatre of the absurd. Most people now anxiously stay glued to their electronic devices watching out for the next episode of the tragicomedy that’s now our daily story lines.

Happenings could come in single doses on a very good day, or as a combo of many incidents, often times giving impression that the country may have lost its sense of direction. Or that its leadership is deliberately steering the ship of nation to confusion and anarchy.

Take away the drama, all of which serve as some form of entertainment to a people in an economic recession, or even depression, and nothing else seems to work. Is it the power sector, which ought to be a major driving force of the economy but supplies darkness, or the poor state of our roads, or none payment of salaries, or job losses, insecurity resulting in loss of lives and property, among other painful circumstances amidst chronic poverty and hunger?

To say that Nigerians have been the most raped people on planet earth may not be out of place. Yes, some self-styled men of God and other demented beings may rape individuals but the system is raping all of us, daily.

In a country where the citizens are at the mercy of acute bad governance, nothing else, outside of the high drama that often entertains albeit to our detriment, seems to work. That too is rape and of a dangerous magnitude.

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Just in one week, we have traversed the wide spectrum of the saga at COZA, otherwise known as Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, a modern day Pentecostal Church; got around RUGA, which some people have baptized as Rural Grazing Area, while those that claim to know better insist it is a Fulani word for cattle settlement. And if you ask me, the two definitions are like six and half a dozen. Mean the same thing.

And as I write, we are at Abbo junction, also known and addressed as Sex Toy Senator in some quarters. I bet that by the time this piece is published, our comedy band would have navigated and made a full turn, thus heading for the next destination, or talking point. What a country! So, Nigerians woke up the other Friday morning with a video already gone viral, the sort you watch on Oprah Winfrey show. In the video is photographer and wife of popular Nigerian singer Timi Dakolo sitting with Chude Jideonwo, a Nigerian lawyer, journalist and media entrepreneur, for a very revealing conversation.

Mrs. Busola Dakolo, in the video, revealed her polygamous childhood, her conservative Christian adolescence and the religious shift that would put her on the path of a predator. The whole account was heart rending  as the mother of three narrated how flamboyant head of COZA, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, first raped her at 16 and would also rape her on two more occasions afterwards.

And before you could say Jack Robinson, hell broke loose in a country apparently hanging around the worst recession ever. Human rights groups quickly came together putting up protests here and there, all of which called out the funky pastor, who denied having ever raped any woman in his life, let alone Busola.

Promising to get back at his traducers, the COZA pastor said in a statement that he had already debriefed his lawyers and those of the church to commence “Criminal and Civil actions against all individuals making such false allegations whether directly or by proxies.” He assured his teeming members that he would “fight this and the Lord will vindicate us.”

Not long after, though, he buckled, obviously because he lacked what it takes to carry out his threat and so announced he would take a “leave of absence from the pulpit,” instead, because it was the “right thing to do.”

And if you think that would be the end of discussion on the sexual escapades of the one they call Gucci Pastor, even while RUGA was steaming hot on the burner, you will have to think again.

Not only is Mrs. Dakolo taking the matter to the real next level, another woman is also telling of how she was raped by Pastor Fatonyibo. By Thursday night, last week, Mrs. Dakolo had actually filed a formal complaint to the police against Pastor Fatoyinbo and the police was said to have commenced investigation into the allegation. Mrs. Dakolo’s allegation went viral on social media, with some saying it had triggered Nigeria’s #MeToo moment. In fact, the social media campaign has led to thousands of people sharing their stories of sexual abuse and harassment since 2017.

And so, the other lady, who spoke on condition of anonymity, in an interview with Y!Naija, narrated how the COZA pastor raped her, also on a couch but this time in his own house, where she claimed to have been invited by the pastor she said was her boss, for an errand.

In another video, still, a lady is pointing at Prophet TB Joshua of The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN). One Bisola Johnson is accusing Joshua and the SCOAN of, among other alleged atrocities, using “religious garb to cover their nefarious operation in other to lure the naive, vulnerable, gullible, and the innocent into occultism.

At the same time, RUGA, a Federal Government proposed project that was to grab land from the 36 states of the federation for settlement of Fulani herdsmen and their cattle, was to a point, sharing attention with stories of rape by so-called spiritual fathers. However, and considering the deadly attacks on innocent Nigerians linked to herdsmen across the country, uproar following disapproval of RUGA, especially by Southern and Middle Belt states, was massive.

As a result, the Federal Government would, Wednesday last week, announce suspension of RUGA. But before this development could sink, a group known as the Coalition of Northern Group (CNG) had issued the president a 30-day ultimatum to commence implementation of RUGA across the country. Failure to do so, they said, will have them resort to a line of action not yet clear.

And then this pathetic one, also! A Senator, Elisha Abbo, representing Adamawa North Senatorial zone was seen in a video at what was said to be a sex toy store in Abuja assaulting a nursing mother.

Gist is that one evening in the month of May, this year, Abbo went to this adult shop with two girls (another account says three) to pick up some sex toys. One of the girls he came with was said to have thrown up inside the shop.

The sale’s girl complained and was accused by the senator of poisoning the air conditioning system, a situation that must have made his girl sick.

Refuting the allegation, the sale’s girl argued that if that was the case, the other girl(s) would also be sick, thus leading to an altercation with the Senator, who alleged that the sale’s girl called him a drunk. And going by what followed next, shouldn’t we concur?

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Anyway and in any case, while they were at it, the Senator’s anger boiled over and the unbelievable happened as he would descend on a nursing mother with some hot slaps for intervening and asking him to calm down. He in addition asked the policeman that may have accompanied him and his girls to arrest the woman.

And to think that the policeman whose job it is to maintain law and order and to protect any victim from such abuse would brashly arrest the sale’s girl, instead of asking his ‘boss’ to let go, makes him a culprit to the violent act. It also goes to question the level of understanding of some Nigerian policemen on what really their responsibilities are.

Shamelessly, Abbo would deny slapping the sale’s girl after the video had gone viral, claiming it was actually his younger sister that was being beaten to a pulp and that he was called upon to the scene, after which he called an ambulance and the police. According to him, things got out of hand and he was also assaulted, stressing that part of the video was carefully edited out.

The weight of public outrage would however not allow the Abbo denial stand as he was forced to recant via a recorded press statement, where he rendered a public apology and asked for forgiveness.

Good that at the time of writing, Abbo was already in police custody where he was telling what he knows of the shameful act but  Abbo needs to undergo anger management programme to purge him of this spirit of violence, if he must assume his place in the Senate.

Sadly too, all these happened after the national hullabaloo over the window seat saga involving Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and a younger man inside an air craft. Oops!

One clear thing in all of these though is that the people’s power and social media remain very powerful tools. Together, the people have the power to chart a path for themselves.

So, perhaps, it is time they use such power against all fraudulent institutions, both public and private, especially the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and its distribution companies that have been raping Nigerian citizens since the days of NEPA, even when all they supply is darkness, most of the time.