Ese Walter, pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and anywhere-belle-face social media vultures – Japheth J Omojuwa


It will not do you any good to read this piece if you are one of those who read Ese Walter’s story and believed it hook, line, sinker and pole before hearing the other sides. You would do well to stop reading this now if you are one of those who thinks the pastor should not be questioned or is not answerable to his church and the public for the allegations made against him. Those who read Ese and said she is right because she had written against a pastor and those who read Ese and concluded she lied because she had written against “our” pastor are only different based on the sides they took, they are not different in character. They are essentially united by their interest in sticking to their guns and biases and not caring about what the truth is. There is the Ese Walter side of the story, which she has since extensively shared and I respect her bravery to do that. There is the Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s side of the story, which he insists he’d share in due course. Pastor Biodun potentially has more to lose here than anyone so he must know enough to make sure whenever he speaks and whatever he says finds him in right standing with the Truth, with his friends and family and with his God. There is then a side of the story which few care about; The Truth. I will share my thoughts on this quest for truth in the same way I wrote an article on the Muslim Women’s hijab wearing Lagos controversy even though I was not affected directly. It mattered that the truth had to be said.

Long before pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo spoke, one side of the story had convicted him and he had been discharged and acquitted by the other side. This is not a place to share the tweets in question but the bulk of the people had passed their judgment. They went to church today (Sunday 25th August, 2013) or tuned in via the Internet not to hear him speak his own side but to hear him confirm their conviction. Unfortunately, the man only said as much as pass subliminal messages and then eventually say he’d take his time to respond “robustly.” This did not go down well with many who had convicted him. They needed him to say “I did it and I am sorry” so that they’d at least discover he is human just like them and can sin just like they do. The followers of pastor Biodun wouldn’t even have cared anyway, as long as they were concerned, to some of them, he could do no wrong. Very few people were interested in really hearing him say his side of the story. Few will admit but even if the man had spoken in defense of himself today, irrespective of what he’d have said, they’d only even add more nails to his crucifixion.

 Ese Biodun 1

This is not a society that cares for the truth, it is a society that cares to bring anyone down who is up and keep anyone down who is down. I wanted to hear the pastor’s side. I was hoping he’d state his own position. He didn’t do that but he did say he’d say something in due time. I didn’t like that. I was not pleased and I was not moved a bit but does that still mean Ese Walter was right? Did anything the pastor said today make Ese Walter wrong? Both questions have the same answer. Decide for yourself. The public is still yet to hear all the sides of the story! Of course, the public delivered its judgment aided by anywhere belle face, one-dimensional social media vultures, long before the pastor even had a chance.

I’d ordinarily restrict myself to tweets and comments on the Ese Walter pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo saga but there is a side of it I need to address. This matters to me because I was in a media storm – no where near the magnitude of this one but a media storm all the same. Articles were written and those who had always wanted a chance to take me down misrepresented me. They did try, they were popular for two or three days or give a week but today they have since gone back to where they used to be – unknown, unimportant and inconsequential.

Some of them are old enough to live meaningful lives, some even older than the pastor in question yet wait daily on twitter to take anyone down as long as there is enough news or nonsense that put such in bad light. They don’t care about the truth; they just care about bringing others to their level – down. I experienced this in June when a debate on protests and my ideas about it resulted in tales of me abusing Chief Gani Fawehinmi. A live TV programme that did not generate a single word about me abusing anyone while people watched it live, became a different story just because someone deemed it fit to add a scandalous title to the Youtube post. Those who watched the live TV programme cared about jackets and shirts and looks but suddenly began to curse me over what they had watched earlier because someone told them a different side of the story, just by tweeting on the legacy of Chief Gani Fawehinmi which was not in anyway a part of the earlier debate. According to them, saying protests should evolve beyond just running to the street meant that I had said Chief Gani Fawehinmi did not give scholarships or help other people. They are in their numbers but they fit into a box you’d tag one-dimensional vultures.

I needed to make this point to give you an understanding into the reality of what it is to be at the centre of a media storm. You have to be there to know what it is. There are people just waiting to hear the worst thing about you just so they can blog, retweet and tweet. More often than not, they succeed for may be a week but if you handle your case well, if the truth is on your side and you carefully and strategically put out your case like I did in my case here , you’d be fine. By God’s grace, I have achieved more between June when the incident happened than I did in the whole of say 2011 and definitely far more than I did in the two months before June. My experience taught me many things about friendship, trust and the length jealousy would go to make to make its point, but the most important thing it taught me was to see that there are always more than one side to a story and that my position at all times should only be about what the truth is and not what my feelings or personal bias against personalities are. I am a better man and blogger for that experience.

Tell me how it helps the search and quest for truth by sharing photos of Ese Walter and making unprofessional and disrespectful comments about her body? How is the objectification of the lady going to help us with knowing who was wrong and who was right?  This is the worst side of the lot. These people do not care for any side, they do not care for Ese Walter, they do not care for pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and they do not care for the truth. They just care about wanting to feel relevant. If my experience serves me right, they will be relevant may be for two weeks.

True men of God have fallen before but they rise after their fall because their assignments and their call are bigger than their fall. People may try to abuse the essence of Christianity because of this issue but Christianity is bigger than pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’ failings – if indeed he failed. Some have seen an opportunity to throw jabs at a faith they never professed hoping this proves them right but whoever told them Christians pray to Ese Walter and pastor Fatoyinbo? Until you show me Jesus Christ failing, not even the immorality of all the pastors I respect will change my thoughts and understanding of my faith.

As for the Christians reading this hear me clearly: God is God and man is man, we might have been created in God’s image but we are at best a perspective of Him. We are not God and can and will never be! We must stop looking at God through the eyes and ways of pastors, these pastors are men and women just like us and they can fall. For those of them humble enough like King David to admit their wrong and keep their heads low before God, they are soon forgiven and they are back to their work in God’s Kingdom. For those of them who think they are too big to answer to the questions of those who expect more from them, they have God to answer to. If of a truth pastor Biodun had cheated on his wife by sleeping with a member of his church, that’d be a betrayal of truth on many levels, not least his wife’s, God’s and the congregation’s. The public does not at the moment have enough information to pass judgment on the matter but judgment has been passed. People have taken sides with Ese Walter and with pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo while the most important side, The Truth, trudges along from the past hoping to meet us at a point in the future.

I have prayed for Ese Walter because I believe that irrespective of whether she was lying or saying the truth on her blog, she must be going through a lot right now. I prayed for pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo because irrespective of whether he did it or not, he must be going through tough mental times right now. I pray they’d both still be standing after this storm.

Be whatever you want to be but never subject your will to another man. When the time comes, you will be answerable to God and there’d be no room for excuses of “my pastor was the one that said.” There is a reason the Holy Bible is the world’s highest selling book ever…it is so because men are searching for God themselves. You should not just have the Holy Bible, you should study it first for your self edification and second for the benefit of others. God’s kingdom will not fall and it will not fail. It was here before us mere mortals and it will be here after us. If the failings of one man or woman – whether a pastor or not – leads you away from God please ask yourself: would you rather be led away from God by the failings of another or would you rather be the reason someone finds trust and faith in Christ? I have spoken my mind with a conscience that says “I don’t care what people think or say, I have spoken my mind without favour to any man but to God who has made me who I am.” Have my best wishes.

I’d rather die with my faith in God to discover God never was than to cease to live and realise God isJapheth J Omojuwa

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