On the 20th of June, I decided to take a break from Facebook for a few reasons. I wasn’t in the best state of mind, and I felt I was losing it. I’ve never really been this way all my life but I guess my father’s death is having a more serious effect on me than I’m willing to admit to. I also wanted to focus on a project that I’m working on, and also get acquainted with my new job with minimal distractions. Thus, I decided to take a break off posting on social media for a few weeks…. as I thought maybe that would help.
However, when the news of Busola’s video broke on Friday 28th of June, I was informed by a friend that the news was all over social media. I decided that I was going to take a break from my break to make a post or two and voice my opinion about it after I have done my findings. The reason being that I have spent the past few years of my social media life speaking up against certain ills in the society, especially those directed at Nigerian women.
Same Friday, I had an orientation for my new job. I had to put my phone on flight mode and later switched it off for a huge part of the orientation period because we are not allowed phones on our work stations. After the orientation, I turned my phone on to get the most shocking voicemail of my life. It left a message saying something like “Hello Nkechi Bianze. Straight to the point: there is a rumour that broke out on social media this morning about the alleged rape of Busola Dakolo by Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. We are offering you *a large amount of money* to go on your Facebook page and all social media outlets to defend Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. Make posts in your usual fierce ways and defend him. And if you do, you shall be handsomely rewarded. You are an influencer; a powerful voice on Nigerian social media, and people read you seriously when you write. It is that influential power that we want to reward you for, but that is if you do as we instruct you. We shall furnish you with details of what you should write and how you should write them. Do all you can in whatever way you can to defend him because he is actually innocent. There are no proofs to the allegations.
But if you decline this offer, then remain silent. Because if you take to your Facebook to write anything that would further tarnish his image, we will hunt you down and make life so difficult for you. This is not a threat… it’s a statement of fact. Be mindful.
If you are accepting this offer, reply to this voice message and we will call you back. Otherwise, delete the message.
We are aware of how stubborn you can be; but now, you have to choose to either make money with your stubbornness or get into trouble with it. Don’t try to play smart here. You can’t win this if you make the wrong choice.
Remember, you have got two options; defend Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo or remain silent. We are watching you closely.”
I was shaking after listening to the voice message. I stood there deciding what to do. I was not going to accept the offer, so I wasn’t going to reply to the voice message. I saved the message on my phone. When I got home, I wanted to replay it so that I could save it elsewhere but I couldn’t retrieve the voice message.
1. I don’t know how this caller got my private number. I’m very reluctant in releasing my personal number. I change my personal number as soon as I notice too many people already have it.
2. I couldn’t immediately trace the number from the voice message like one can do with some other voice messages. The voicemail machine said it was delivered by an unknown number. The number must have been generated for this purpose.
3. I couldn’t reply because I didn’t want to give the impression that I was accepting the offer.
4. I saved the message and it mysteriously disappeared from my saved voicemail list. I just couldn’t retrieve it. It was like it was programmed to be automatically deleted after it gets played just once. I can’t even explain this.
First of all, I don’t understand why these agents of Biodun considered me a suitable influencer to defend their Pastor. That would have been a very contrasting message from my usual stance on such issues and the previous posts I have made about him. I have never been a fan of pastors who con people of their money and/or have indiscriminate sex with/and rape their church members, including some minors. I have spent the past few years on Facebook speaking out aggressively against them. So, why did they consider me a suitable influencer to do this dirty job? Do they think my friends and followers all have amnesia and fish brains and wouldn’t remember that I have consistently written against such men of god and also notice that my account has either been hacked or I have been paid to go against my actual or usual stance? I was shaken and infuriated. I mean; I know I’m broke, I’ve never been this broke in my life, but I can’t live with myself accepting money to defend a serial rapist, even though still alleged.
When I got back home that day, I wanted to take a break from my break and make a few posts about the alleged rape and the voicemail I received, but as I tried to log back in yesterday, I realized that I’ve been banned from using Facebook on my main personal account till the end of July. Later on, I could still log into my Facebook account. There were several notifications coming into my phone telling me that some people were trying to log into my Facebook account. If I hadn’t turned on two-factor authentication and ALL the security settings by Facebook, my account would have been completely hacked. Even the email address linked to my Facebook account was under attack too. I was logged out several times. I had to change my password and log out of all systems my Facebook and email have been logged into. I spent almost a whole day doing security checks on my Facebook, email and phone number. It was like I was on a real life war with hackers.
I was boiling inside because that was not the time for me to go silent. This is not the time for me not to be able to post. I have had temporary Facebook bans in the past. But I have always been given a reason. In this case, I still don’t know the reason for the temporary ban. I was initially told that I was banned till 28th, then it said 21st of July. There was nothing I could do, so painfully, I decided to be a spectator and wait till I finish serving my ban before I make my statement on that.
Why are they this desperate? Looks like these minions are ready to go any length to defend their daddy. I will have you all know that what these people did (and are probably still doing) was to offer money to many social media influencers. And the ones who refused to accept their offers were threatened to silence.
I have been reading how madam Kemi and a few other influencers are aggressively defending this Fatoyinbo. Lol… The only thing I want to ask them is “How much did he pay you for all these?”. Just to satisfy my curiosity, I’d want to know how much I’d have had in my bank account if I had accepted the deal. Who nor go nor know.
Before I carry on, I want to state that I STAND WITH BUSOLA DAKOLO.
I believe her story 100%. I do NOT need any other side of the story. I believe her and it is on that base I’m taking my stance. The little benefit of doubt Fatoyinbo would have had with me was erased when he and/or his supporters attempted to bribe me to defend him in the “Court of Social Media/Public Opinion”.
Don’t get this twisted: I love money. I get paid to write. But I would die of my conscience if I accept money to defend a rapist and child molester. I would not be able to live with myself if I do that. I would end up making a mockery of all my years of advocacy and standing up for women. I would destroy the credibility of the book I’m currently working on. History would have it down that I once supported and held a brief for a rapist. I might never be able to look my children in the face and tell them that rape is evil and criminal.
And if I keep silent…. these agents would think they have succeeded in threatening me to silence. They would think that I have cowardly declined their offer and remained silent in order not to incur their “wraths”. But I am Nkechi Bianze. I pride in my ability to stand tall and speak my truth, anywhere, any day, any time. That’s my trademark.
Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and/or his supporters have bitten more than they can chew. Their cup is full. I hope the guilty faces the music. Because if we let this slide again, we are going to be boosting the morales of upcoming rapists and child molesters and others who are involved in sexual crimes. We need to show an example of how a powerful and famous rapist should be treated.
For those of you asking why Busola waited this long before speaking out, are you for real? Do you know the level of fear and trauma a rape victim goes through? She was a little girl for goodness sake! This is a young girl who was allegedly raped by a powerful pastor who she and her family probably revered. Are you all asking this question in a country with a rape culture yet with less that 35 rape convictions? A country where a victim is perpetually blamed for her rape? A country where rape victims are advised not to speak out because no man would want to marry a woman who has been raped? A country where some men have divorced their wives for being raped at gun point by armed robbers? A country where most people would do anything to defend their pastors? A country where a body like CAN would stand solidly behind any of their own who is accused of any crime like they are standing solidly behind Fatoyinbo? You actually expect a small girl to be able to say she was raped by such a popular pastor in such a country?
Busola is speaking up now because she is grown and strong enough to face the biles that the Nigerian society would throw at her.
She is speaking out now because she knows better and sees herself as being in a position to be the voice of many who are still silent about their similar ordeals.
She’s speaking out now because she has a responsible husband who is ready to back her up and fight for her.
Not many woman are in her position; you would be surprised how many would have spoken up if they had the courage to.
When you ask “Why is she speaking out now”, you are simply promoting the culture of silence. You are simply saying “since she didn’t speak up then, she should have remained silent forever.”
And for those of you asking for evidence and eyewitnesses, I want to ask… are you people alright at all? How many of you have got CCTV cameras in your house 24/7 or cameras that are sensitive to rapists and auto-turns on at the sight of a rapist about to rape? Or how many of you have seen rapists wait for eyewitnesses before they start raping their victims? Please what sort of evidence are you requesting for? Because, I really don’t understand you people.
Most rape cases are proven by circumstances and forensic evidences. There are only very few rape cases with video evidences and eyewitnesses. No rapist would rape under a camera or in the presence of an eyewitness who isn’t an accomplice.
Busola is the voice of many, but she isn’t the only victim. Why the support?
1. She is a soft spoken and calm woman who fits into the society’s definition of “decent”.
2. She is married.
3. She is married to one of the very successful Nigerian artists.
But what if it were a “street girl” with tattoos, or an unmarried woman who is loud, or a girl who has sex with many men? Would you have believed her? Would she have had as many supporters?
While I am glad that Busola is getting this much support, I also want to state that every victim is a victim who deserves the masses to join them in the fight for justice. They don’t have to be soft spoken, “decent”, submissive, married or married to famous people. They just have to be HUMANS for their voices and cries to matter.
Thank you Busola for speaking out. You aren’t only speaking out for yourself, you are speaking out for many who still aren’t courageous to speak out for themselves.
Let us as a society join hands to fight against rape and sexual crimes. We can do it.
And as for those agents who are going around bribing and bullying people to defend their Fatoyinbo, your days are numbered. You overstepped when you picked me. I’m not letting this slide. And I will NOT publish details of how I’m going to hit back; because that would mean giving you heads-up and furnishing you with information of how to defend yourselves from my little wrath.
– Nkechi Bianze