Poju Oyemade, Senior Pastor of the Covenant Christian Centre, has admitted that the governing structures of Pentecostal churches in Nigeria are strong enough.
Oyemade made the admission via an Instagram post on Monday in reaction to the allegation of rape levelled against Biodun Fatoyinbo, Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), by Busola, wife of popular singer, Timi Dakolo.
According to him, the governance level of Pentecostal churches was not as robust as that of the traditional Orthodox churches as majority of the former were largely established by individuals and are operating as independent entities.
He, however, stated that leaders of the Pentecostal churches in Nigeria must accept the huge responsibility placed on them and lead their flock accordingly.
The post read: “It is apparent that the manner in which our Pentecostal Churches were/are born with an individual receiving a call directly from God and we all operating largely as independent bodies, our governing structures are not as strong as in the orthodox church settings with the exemption of Pentecostal denominations where you are appointed a pastor and can be easily sanctioned.
“This, however, makes it imperative that we go an extra mile to show a high level of compassion and sense of responsibility for people placed under our care or else what has brought our great growth may be what will destroy us.”
Speaking on the rape allegation, Oyemade said he was “heartbroken” upon learning of the matter, noting that he found it difficult to watch the entire interview granted by Busola Dakolo.
Expressing his sympathy to Dakolo, Oyemade disclosed that he immediately contacted the spiritual father of Fatoyinbo, who listed a series of steps through which the issue could be resolved.
Amongst part of the conditions, he revealed, was for Fatoyinbo to step down as COZA pastor while the matter is being looked into.
He also noted that the mediation was to bring about justice, healing and redemption.
The post read: “I could only watch the tape by Busola Dakolo for a few minutes, it was difficult to sit through it. From what I heard it is impossible not to be heart broken and sympathise with her. She must have gone through a lot and then to sit to tape her experience must have been very painful.
“She is today a wife and mother of three to have to relive a 20yr old experience.
“I immediately contacted the spiritual leader in the Body of Christ I believe Pastor Biodun deferrs in authority to, to wade into the issue and bring about a decision.
“He informed me his position. It was that Pst Biodun should first step down from the pulpit indefinitely, suspend 7days of glory and make a public statement. These he made known to him directly in an hour.”
Oyemade used his post to apologise to all those who might have been abused by the independent Pentecostal structures, saying, “I deeply apologize and we will seek to build stronger structures through peer reviews and in our relationships.”