Opinion Piece: Women And Their Disappointing Reaction To The Ese Walter COZA affair

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The blind sheep that follow pastors in Nigeria are partly responsible for this. The level of “power” given to church leaders is mind blowing and when corrupt people are given power this is the result.

I haven’t had much time recently to tweet or blog as much as I would like. Today, however, there was a lot of fuss on my timeline surrounding this blog post by Ese Walter (a Nigerian media personality, I guess?). Ese wrote about the one-week affair she had with a Nigerian pastor from a church named COZA (Commonwealth of Zion Assembly).

In her story, Ese shares quite a bit of detail on how she joined the church and how the affair began. Apparently everything was kosher until the pastor in question visited London and asked Ese, who was a student in the city, to visit him at his hotel.

[Former Church Member Ese Walter Narrates Her Affair With Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo Of COZA]

This story has gained traction on Nigerian news sites. People have been reacting on Twitter as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many people cannot believe that a grown woman could involve herself in an affair with a married pastor and still position herself as the “manipulated victim”.

When reading Ese’s story I expected negative reactions from Nigerian men who have probably always been in the position of power in sexual situations. Yes, Nigerian men may joke about sleeping with older housegirls when they are 10 years old but for them this is a thing to be proud of, a rite of passage, as opposed to child abuse. I can see how a Nigerian man could read Ese’s story and decide she is exaggerating events, or lying, or wrongly playing the victim.

However, I did not expect this reaction from Nigerian women. The insults being hurled at Ese by other women are disappointing. It is shocking how many of us are unable to see that Ese was a victim of manipulation by a man in a position of power. It seems the only time a woman is allowed to call herself a “victim” is in the extreme case of rape. Even then there are women who will find a way to blame the victim. Would it have been “better” if Ese was under 18 when this happened? Perhaps it would be easier to express sympathy.

If this story is true, and I believe it is, Pastor Fatoyinbo took advantage of a young woman’s naivete and trust to engage in an affair. When she expressed concerns he used bible verses and his position as a “man of God” to stop her from exposing the affair.  When she tried to tell her story to other senior members of the church she was discounted and her story was ignored. This affair may have very well continued for more than a week if Ese had not (as she says) put a stop to it.

The blind sheep that follow pastors in Nigeria are partly responsible for this. The level of “power” given to church leaders is mind blowing and when corrupt people are given power this is the result. Of course, this is not unique to Nigeria. The problem here is that the system is so blatantly patriarchal and biased against women that she had no support and had to deal with the situation herself. Judging by her LinkedIn profile, which shows she studied in London between 2010 and 2011, this must have happened two to three years ago. I imagine it took that much time to get to a space where she could speak freely about this.

I don’t usually defend people I do not know on the internet but the responses I have seen today just confirm that Nigerian women have a long way to go. Ignore the men for a bit and focus on how we treat each other, it is disappointing and disgraceful how little support some of us have shown online for Ese Walter. I am sure her story is not the only one involving Pastor Fatoyinbo but the responses over the last couple of days will likely prevent other victims from coming forward. Yes, I said victims. It was brave of her for coming out and telling this story especially considering the reaction she has had so far.

The pastor is yet to respond to any of this. As far as I can tell the “Ese Walter Coza affair” story is only just gaining traction and being picked up by more news outlets. I expect Pastor Fatoyinbo is still trying to explain the story to his wife and family. Or maybe they are already engaged in a 24 hour prayer session. Perhaps he will come out with a statement over the weekend blaming the devil and saying that he was possessed by a demon of adultery. Then, his ever faithful blind sheep congregation will pray for him and curse Ese. If we have learned anything though, it is that these things are rarely every single occurrences. Who’s to say Fatoyinbo won’t do this again?

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Culled from the author’s site Ego du Jour’s blog

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