LEO: Service Clubs Becoming Political?

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I got a letter from a disgruntled member of the LEO club, the youth activity of the LIONS club international. After reading the content of the letter, I kept wondering if non-profit clubs have become so political that electing members into leadership positions (which comes with no salary) is now a tussle.

Hearing one side may be unfair though, but having spent years as a member of the LEO club for years, this is one too many.

Read the concerned LEO’s letter to the club’s international office below:

 

Dear International Office,

I write to intimate you on the happenings of the just concluded LEO DISTRICT ELECTION 404 held in UYO the capital of AKWA IBOM, NIGERIA.

It is so sad and it beats me to write this but most LEOS in NIGERIA are clamouring for a change in the system because some LIONS of DISTRICT 404B NIG have eaten so deep into the LEO club program that it becomes so empirical that they have strong interest in the leadership of the LEO club which after a leader emerges winner through the election they back off leaving the infected leadership to the LEOS to carry.

On the 17th of May was the election for various positions of leadership for both LEO district 404A and 404B. LEOS started arriving at the venue of the election (IBOM hall) as early as 7am in the morning to exercise their franchise.

(LET ME BACK UP FOR BIT) prior to that day……After the ISAAME forum in December 2013 it was known explicitly that the LEO District 404B NIG will be bifurcated to 404B1 & 404B2 under the endorsement of the LIONS international office which will take effect from the preceding Lions year (July 1 2014). The District 404B2 became a very new District more than 404B1 because it had no existing leader at all while 404B1 already had leaders that will take the District through another two (2) Lions year. The district 404B2 was going to officially have leaders after the election at the LIONS NATIONAL CONVENTION in UYO which will also see other District (404A1, 404A2, 404B1) aspirants get various leadership positions. (For the purpose of understanding I will refer to District 404B1 & 2 as one district till when it’s time for screening and elections)

Election period (LIONS NATIONAL CONVENTION) was gradually approaching as it was time for the screening of candidates for various positions In the LEO Districts. The current district presidents were LEO SHOGO OLOSUNDE (404A 1), LEO IBIKARI BELL-GAM (404A2), and LEO BOLANLE APETE (404B). The norm that existed between the current district presidents predecessors was to come together to pick an electoral committee with a chairman as the head. This norm was not completely executed as the district presidents of all the three districts (3) had little issues in coming to a consensus as to who will become electoral chairman, then LEO MORRIS ACHIBONG stepped into the issue as the MULTIPLE DISTRICT PRESIDENT (before Leos were surprisingly told that MULTIPLE DISTRICT 404 never existed in the International office). Leo MORRIS ACHIBONG nominated Lion IZI ANN (a past district president) as the electoral chairman for the election and other electoral committee members but the issue was not still salvaged because the districts presidents were now fully aware that Leo Multiple district never existed in the International office and so that elevated their powers of autonomy to pick their individual electoral chairman and committee usurping the powers of the elected Multiple district president by the multiple district council.

This issue continued until the LIONS COUNCIL OF PAST DISTRICT GOVERNORS in NIGERIA intervened in the issue and picked Lion OBO EFFANGA as the electoral chairman, Lion JAMIU TALABI as the assistant and other committee members like Lion EBUREME, Leo MORRIS ACHIBONG. Finally the issue was salvaged and the electoral committee sent a message to all contestant fixing the screening during the LIONS NATIONAL CONVENTION in UYO.

On Thursday 15th of May 2014 (during the National convention) was the screening day, Leo aspirants contesting for different position gathered at the hall of EDIPASS HOTEL by 9am for the screening. (I will like to now bring the new district 404B2 into the picture). All the aspirants were present for screening except for the Leo contesting for the position of 2nd Vice district president for 404B2 who was not even present for election but won election….how?

After the announcement of the bifurcation, Leo DEJI OLUKOKUN who was the 2nd vice district president for 404B transferred his membership from his current club under 404B1 (ABEOKUTA UNIQUE Leo Club) to a club under the new district 404B2 (IKEJA GOLDEN Leo club) and contested for the post of district president for 404B2, which as at of 16th of February he was still the 2nd vice district president for 404B

The screening lasted for at least 14 hours (including recess), and the aspirants for the new districts were:

DISTRICT PRESIDENT: LEO OGUNNAYA AYOKUNMI and LEO DEJI OLUKOKUN

1st VICE DISTRICT PRESIDENT: LEO DOLAPO MACURLAY and LEO SOLADOYE

2nd VICE DISTRICT PRESIDENT: LEO SANYA SIMON and LEO DAMILOLA ODUFUWA

Note: why I narrowed down to only 404B2 is because the other districts had little or no issues with the election, or had little issues that didn’t raise ciaos.

 

ELECTION DAY

Picking up from where I backed up from, Leos started arriving at the venue of the election (IBOM HALL) from 7am and after a while we got the greatest shock as Leos when we heard the electoral chairman other members of the committee resigned. Some hours later we heard of a new electoral committee with Lion EKPE-NTA BASSEY as the electoral chairman and other Lions like Lion EJIKE CONTI, LION IZI ANN. Shortly, delegates whose club were in good financial standing where called in for election, and to shock us again some non-existing clubs were called and suddenly delegates representing these clubs emerged. Members of IKEJA GOLDEN Leo club (the club producing the aspirant for 404B2 district president) were not in the convention at all, but when they called the club for their delegates, to our surprise again a Leo who was evidently a member of IDIMU LEO club and the LEO DISTRICT CHIEF OF PROTOCOL for 404B suddenly appeared as a member of IKEJA GOLDEN Leo club and went in while the current president of IDIMU LEO club was there shouting ‘NO NO NO….HE HAS NOT GIVING ME ANY TRANSFER LETTER’ but the Lion at the gate didn’t listen….surprised?. Some delegates were even disenfranchised on that day and their clubs were in good financial standing.

 

INSIDE THE ELECTION HALL

Delegates of all the four (4) districts sat in the hall for the election, then the electoral chairman called for aspirant’s introduction and roll call. 404A1 aspirants categorically introduced themselves to the delegates, so as 404A2, 404B1 when it got to 404B2 Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA introduced herself as the aspirant vying for the position of District President so as Leo DEJI OLUKOKUN, so vividly the position of district president 404B2 had two (2) contestants. The election started as district 404A1 was the first to be attended to, followed by 404A2, then 404B1, when it got 404B2 issues started. A delegate stood up and sighted that there were some clubs that NEVER existed but had delegates seated among them which the electoral chairman diplomatically waived, another delegate raised the issue of a known club member representing another club, that again was waived, a delegate stood up again to quote the standard Leo club constitution to the chairman because of an issue contradicting the constitution, but he was asked to sit down. Election started but as opposed to other districts, 404B2’s election started from the least. The post of 2nd vice district president was called and the aspirant who was absent from screening and election won. It was time for the 1st vice position and to shock us once again instead of having two(2) aspirants three (3) were announced including Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA, and delegates started protesting including the said aspirant that how can she vie for district president and they rip her off her total franchise. Delegates said NO….it’s not possible but some Lions in the election tried to pacify delegates through treats and subtleness about this conspicuous injustice. The said candidate (AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA) was dumb-founded, shocked and finally the election for 1st vice was done and she lost, which left the position of district president 404B2 unopposed to DEJI OLUKOKUN. Some devastated delegates still kept on protesting  about this act but the election for district president went through a voice vote and Leo DEJI OLUKOKUN won even if the ‘YES’ was not resounding.

 

PAINFUL QUESTIONS

  1. Why did the electoral committee including the chairman resign?
  2. Why didn’t the new electoral chairman read out the electoral screening resolution of the old committee to every delegate
  3. Did the resigned electoral committee hand over the screening resolution to the new committee?
  4. Was it the same COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS that appointed the first electoral committee that appointed the second, or was it some Lions?
  5. What was the DISTRICT GOVERNOR for 404B during in the screening venue? He shouldn’t have been there because he actually called the two(2) aspirants for district presidents for 404B2 (Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA & LEO DEJI OLUKOKUN) to a meeting and asking Leo AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA step down for Leo Deji Olukokun which the earlier electoral chairman (Lion OBO EFANGA) objected to.
  6. Why did the MULTIPLE COUNCIL CHAIRPERSON say that the international office endorsed the 2nd vice 404B (DEJI OLUKOKUN) crossing over to 404B2 to become an automatic district president, when it’s obvious it’s a new district? Is it true?
  7. Why was AYOKUNMI OGUNNAYA (2nd aspirant for district president 404b2) not allowed to contest as district president?
  8. Why was DEJI OLUKOKUN declared unopposed when there was a 2nd known and present contender?
  9. Why did the MULTIPLE COUNCIL CHAIRMAN threaten delegates that if they don’t comport themselves he will get them arrested and put in prison?
  10. Why didn’t the new electoral chairman and his committee conduct a fresh screening?
  11. Why was DEJI OLUKOKUN (district president 404B2 aspirant) allowed to contest election after crossing district and had not spent up to six (6) months?
  12. Why were non existing clubs allowed to vote?
  13. Why was an absent aspirant allowed to contest for election?
  14. What were the police doing at the venue of the election?

These questions need to be critically digested, pondered upon and proffer solutions to quickly, because we are losing Leo membership by the day because of these irregularities and if not giving immediate and swift attention it will only get worse, and some Leos are used to social media and will not hesitate to go public or tell anyone who cares to know about these injustice and anomalies going on in the Leo club program in Nigeria.

Attached to this mail are grievances of some Leos in the just concluded election on facebook.

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INJUSTICE AND POLITICES!

I wait your swift response.

Yours in Lionism…….A Concerned and bitter Leo

My Life So Far In 300 Words

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my life

 

My name is Niyi. I was born 26 years ago into the family of Aderibigbe, a middle class family living in Oyo town. Welcomed by four older siblings, my parents were happy I had a lot of shoulders to lean on.

I was very brilliant and aced all my classes until my fourth year in primary school when Lanre Ogunronbi had to contest for my top spot. He got it twice, but I was determined the third term to win back my place, and that I did. Lanre was good with numbers, and I was good with grammar. So, he scored highest in Mathematics throughout primary school, and I was the best in English Language. I didn’t lose this even in secondary school as I ended up as the best student in English Language.

All through these years, I wasn’t quite sure which path I should follow, as I was good at almost everything, but my brilliance made my parents encourage me to study Medicine. After four failed attempts, I settled for Zoology which was the best University of Ilorin could offer me at the time. I knew I was doing the wrong thing, but I didn’t have the guts to opt out and follow my dreams.

Graduating with a Third Class Honours opened my eyes, and I was suddenly ready to follow my dreams and take full responsibility for whatever happened next. Nothing short of extraordinary has happened ever since. I’m happy, I’m fulfilled, and I earn a respectable income because I followed my dream. A lot of people still find it hard to see the sense in what makes me happy in what I do, but who cares? I am a writer! I’m proud to call that a profession anywhere and I earn a living from it.

COZA’s Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo Will Respond To Ese Walter, Franca E.’s Allegations At A Later Date…Guilty?

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Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo

Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo

 

It is no longer news that a sexual scandal is rocking the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly as the Senior Pastor of the church, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo has been accused of having illicit relationships with members of the church work force.

It was Ese Walter who first came out with her ‘confession’ posted on her blog on August 22, then her bravery opened the door for others…now we have a lot of stories about the pastor’s sexual escapades, with each of those coming forward assuring readers of their stories of at least an evidence to back up their stories.

The world had no reason to take their confessions hook, line, and sinker, and so we all waited for Sunday(today), hoping Pastor Biodun will say something about the accusation, with members of the church and people who respect the pastor hoping he would just mount his pulpit at the THisDay Dome where services of the church are held in Abuja, and deny the allegations, but here is what he said;

“If anyone is accusing you, it is because they need what you have.”

“I know you have read things about me on the social media and people advice me not to talk, but ignore it”

“Now read my lips” he said, “because I know there are people here that are not part of my church. We are going to speak but we are consulting so as to release a robust reply to all the allegations. One thing you can be assured of is that my wife and I love each other and at the right time, we shall respond”.

Sources have confirmed that the ladies’ allegations did happen.

 

Pastor Biodun, Ese Walter

Pastor Biodun, Ese Walter

 

I was once a member of the church in Ilorin, and I heard stories about why some people left the church. From the Ilorin Pastor, Pastor Wole to Lagos church’s Pastor Folarin, there’s a lot to tell.

May God forgive us all!

 

Read their stories below, Ese Walter goes first, followed by Franca E.

 

I want to talk about something I have kept bottled up inside for longer than necessary. I have also decided to use real names, as my defense for any accusation of slander is justification. I tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. However, feel free to throw your doubt around but know that I am past the shaming game (where victims of abuse are shot down by blame) I am no longer a victim but a survivor who is sharing her experience to help others caught in same web of abuse, guilt and shame. We only get to live once right? So here, it goes…

 

I recently came to know this event too was abuse (recently here means about 6 months ago). It has literally been eating me up having to drive by another billboard advertising preachers, or hearing his name, or even trying to ask about the validity of the entire salvation story and whether or not there is a God that truly watches over his people. That being said, I’m just going to say it as it is. This is a recap of my affair with Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of COZA (Common Wealth Of Zion Assembly) Abuja chapter. This affair I have come to know as a form of abuse as you would see the different elements of abuse very present.

 

I met Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo many years ago. I was getting bored of the church I was attending and someone suggested COZA. At the time, I had never heard about it. My friend said, go there, I’m sure you would enjoy the word. But he also gave me a strong warning. He said he would advice that I remain a member only and not join the workforce. I agreed. The first time I attended COZA, I felt it was my church and decided I was going to plant my ass there. About eleven months had gone by and I was still attending the services quietly and faithfully. I really did like the church. One day a worker in the church approached me that the senior pastor wanted to see me.

 

Me? I thought. Why would the senior pastor want to see me? Not the second man but the head nigga in charge? Ok na! I started to think my sin was oozing so bad the pastor could tell I needed Jesus. (Poor old me.) I saw him at the end of the second service (they had two services at the time) and he said to me that he would like me to work with him. I knew I had no intentions of becoming a pastor so I had to ask in what capacity. He said he’d like for me to join a department, preferably the Pastoral Care Unit (PCU).

 

A few weeks later, against my friend’s advice not to join the workforce, I was a PCU member. All of a sudden, I had some status in church. I was ‘somebody.’ Dress had to be on point, hair, shoes and what not… As workers, we were literally trying to outshine each other or so it seemed. Anyways, I felt like I was a privileged member of an elite circle. Hehehe. (It did feel good though, for the most part.)

 

About a year after joining the workforce, I was on my way to London for a Masters degree program that would last two years. As was the rule for workers travelling, I wrote to say I would be away for 2 years and Pastor Biodun Fotoyinbo asked that I keep in touch by sending him my number and email when I had settled in London so he “makes sure I continue in the faith” because according to him, people loose their faith when they leave home and he wanted to make sure I didn’t. So, on that note, as soon as I got a phone line in London, I was sure to call ‘my pastor’ to say I arrived safe, had settled in and also gave my phone number. 

 

We had spoken a few times especially when COZA started to stream online. I always watched and would give feedback on quality of production and share a little bit on the challenges I faced settling in a new land. One evening, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo called me that he was coming to London and needed me to help him make some hotel bookings as the person who was meant to do it couldn’t get it done (this was rather strange as I had never been involved in his travel itinerary) Later that day, he said it had been sorted and my help would not be required but that he would like me to arrange a cab to pick him up from Heathrow. I was happy to help my pastor from Nigeria and even saw it as a privilege. (I would later come to learn that all of this was a calculated attempt to hatch a plan that I suspect was set in motion when I was asked to join the workforce.)

 

The cab guy was there to get him the next day and when he arrived, he called to ask why I didn’t accompany the cab to pick him up (again, this was strange but I stopped my mind from overanalyzing the situation as I knew I had no business with his visit to London) About two hours later, he called me and said he would like to see me. When I arrived his hotel, I called from the reception but he asked that I come upstairs. I got to the room and tried to stop my mind from thinking why I was going to his room. As he opened the door and invited me in, I had to speak to my heart to stop its palpitations. My better judgment asked me not to go into the room but the kind of reverence I had for Pasotr Biodun Fatoyinbo bordered on fear and I steeped into that room. 

 

“Care for a drink?” Asked Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.

 

“No sir,” I said.

 

“You don’t have to be shy Ese, even if it’s alcohol, feel free and order what you want.” I wasn’t sure I heard my pastor asking me to order alcohol. I imagined it was a test and ignored the voice inside that was saying, “I’d have henny and coke please.” He proceeded to ask how I had been coping in London and if I was a committed member of any church. He also said he thought there was something special about me and wanted to know that I had not strayed from my faith. I really thought he had heard I was doing something I shouldn’t while in London but tried my best to focus on the conversation instead of my straying thoughts. He kept telling me to relax and feel comfortable with talking to him. After a few minutes, he asked that we go to the roof of the hotel as his room was a pent suite and had a connecting door to the roof.

 

While there, he sat on a reclining chair and asked me to come sit on his laps. This was a bit awkward for me and I froze for a moment as I asked why. He said he had told me to feel free with him and loosen up. I found myself strolling to sit on his laps. At that moment, I felt like a little girl who was experiencing something her mind couldn’t fathom. He asked me to kiss him and all I could think about was seeing him preach on the pulpit back in COZA Abuja, Nigeria, which was my home church. He again said ‘feel free Ese.’ And asked again, that I kiss him.

 

A few hours later, let’s just say, we were rolling under the sheets. It felt as though my mind had paused. I am not saying I was jazzed, (although it’s possible I was in some trancelike state and didn’t know it but I just was so afraid that I couldn’t say or think otherwise.) That was the beginning of this affair. A sexual affair that went on for a little over a week, DAILY!

 

I can hear somebody’s mind thinking, ‘well, you weren’t raped.” And I remember a pastor I opened up to when I couldn’t take all the mind games asking if I seduced him. No, I didn’t seduce him and no, I wasn’t raped but I felt trapped in this affair. Come to think of it, how could I have seduced him when I wanted nothing from him? I mean, I was too busy minding my business in London trying to get through with my masters program and I was overly comfortable. And even if I wanted to seduce anyone, it wouldn’t be a married man, not to mention a married pastor.  

 

What I couldn’t reconcile the whole time, was how the same person who preached against the very things we were doing (i.e drinking in pubs, fornicating, committing adultery) was the same person endorsing and encouraging it.

 

At some point, I got really confused about what Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and I were doing that I had to ask how he handles it. I will never forget what he said to me. He said and I quote, “I will teach you a level of grace that you don’t understand.” My mind couldn’t fathom that somehow grace was enough covering for not just fornication on my path, adultery on his path and the many lies that was bound to follow what we were doing that was clearly abominable. I somehow dealt with the thoughts and fears that followed on my path. He had said to me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend and he would take me around the world and spoil me with money and things. Somehow, money had never been one of the things that motivated me (I am from a home where all my needs have been adequately met) In all my ‘badness’ through finding myself, I never did things I did for money but more of rebellion against rules and authority.

 

Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo also said to me that he had a dream where I exposed what was happening to the media. Said it was all over the place and that people were calling me the girl that caused chaos in COZA. He also said I should remember the bible said to “touch not God’s anointed.” I immediately started to rebuke the devil and said I could never do anything like that. I was almost swearing with my entire family as I thought really I had touched God’s anointed by submitting my body to be used. Little did I know at the time that all of these were ways to mess with my mind and even manipulate my thoughts.

 

Fast-forward a few months later, I was back in Nigeria and my church had become uncomfortable. Anytime I sat in church and listened to Pastor Biodun preach, I felt shame. I finally sent him a message saying I wasn’t comfortable anymore. I was confused and needed to talk about what had happened. He said I should meet him to talk and I did. It was a really weird meeting for me especially when he tried to kiss me at our meeting. I finally realized at this point that he couldn’t help me. I thought God was angry with me and I couldn’t pray so I decided to withdraw completely from COZA. This was the beginning of my mental torture. I couldn’t talk to my family because already, I was the only one attending a different church and somehow my mom never liked the idea. As the days went by I tried to use drinking and smoking to cover up the deep shame and guilt I was battling with. But as soon as the high was over, the thoughts came back and I felt stuck like I couldn’t move forward.

 

I felt I had to talk to someone and I decided to speak to my then good friend, Ernest Akale but unfortunately for me, Mr. Ernest did not have the capacity to hold what I said to him. He broke down completely the days that followed and I found myself having to pause how I was feeling and what I was struggling with to help my friend be strong. After a while, he withdrew from not just me but his then fiancé and friends. I had to then tell the fiancé what had caused it (she suspected we were having an affair so I had to clear the air) To my surprise she was a lot stronger than her man and told me to suck it up (I’m paraphrasing). She said if she were me, she wouldn’t leave the church but stay to torment Pastor Biodun and collect money from him. Ok! That sounded extreme for me, as my intention was not to blackmail but to heal my broken self. Anyways, I finally found the courage to speak to my then unit head who said he was going to talk to Pastor Biodun but didn’t have the liver to do so. Before long, the story was spreading and naturally getting twisted.

 

I went to a new church and it seemed like the COZA bug had chased me there. The pastor would always refer to COZA as some example and each time that was done, it seemed like a spear was thrust through my chest. One day, I broke down in the service and started crying uncontrollably, as I couldn’t take another mention of COZA and the pictures it painted in my head.

 

Very long, boring story cut short, for the last 5 months I gave the whole church thing a big space and break. I wasn’t sure I believed in God. I wasn’t sure I understood what it meant when people said ‘Jesus saves” and I definitely wasn’t sure how to deal with the mental torture that was affecting not just me but my relationships with family and friends. I was very unstable, fearful and worst of all guilty. I got a chance to talk to Pastor Folarin of COZA Lagos Chapter, popularly called Pastor flo about everything. I made an effort to reach out to him because I realized the right thing to do was talk to an elder in the church and seek some sort of remedy to a wrong I believed had been done me. Instead, Pastor Flo said, Pastor Biodun had confessed to him and they had ‘talked’ about it and somehow that was supposed to be Ok. He asked what it was I wanted coming to talk to him about it when I did, I told him I realized what happened between Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo and I was wrong and not just that I felt abused and manipulated. I also said I thought it was wrong for Pastor Biodun to go on preaching without taking time to deal with his personal character flaws. I said I thought he was danger to all the young women that attended the church. Come to think of it, maybe he meant if I wanted something monetary or material (as someone had suggested when I opened up to her) but the truth is, I never wanted his money (or is it the church member’s money.) All I wanted was to meet with him and have him accept that he misled me, betrayed his wife and the church he pastors. I wasn’t the only lady in COZA who had been a victim of his sexcapades and manipulative patterns but I was the one who could come back after months of struggle with not just my faith but also my affair with him. And I wanted to set things right. I wanted to talk to Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo maybe for closure and I felt like I needed an apology because he played the “touch not my anointed” card to keep me locked in guilt, shame and fear when all along it was a calculated plan and I dare say, it started when he asked me to join the workforce.

 

Not to mention the audacity to talk about teaching me a level of grace I didn’t understand. I had no intention of understanding a grace that would permit me to go on doing things that were wrong and what’s worse having to carry the burden for almost a year.

 

Different surprising advises came up in the weeks that followed the rumour making rounds. I was told to hush because Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo had been a cultist in the past and could send people to shut me up. All my so-called friends in COZA withdrew from me and treated me like I had the plague. What was worse was Pastor Flo finally saw my then pastor to ‘talk’ about what had happened with Pastor Biodun and lied that it happened once and was a mistake. My question then became, ‘do these people even care how broken I had become?’ ’do they care about the emotional and spiritual welfare of the people they were pastoring?’ The sad answer was NO. Most of us old members of COZA kept leaving but they couldn’t care less. What was important was to keep growing the church and having more and more cars with stickers that read “More than enough.”  Back then, I always felt horrible when I saw another car drive past me with the sticker. I was breaking, I was struggling but no one could help. All they could do was ask me to hide so Pastor Biodun’s goons don’t hurt me. And then the interesting one was if I had evidence to prove my claim. Let me just say here that, it isn’t a claim, it’s a confession to free me from all of the guilt and shame I have had to live with for no reason at all. (That being said, I have evidence to prove all I have said here, the latest being a 58 minutes recording of my meeting with Pastor Flo a few months back)

 

This is my confession and I cannot begin to describe how much weight has been lifted off of my shoulders just pouring the truth out about what went down. So, to all my ex COZA friends gossiping about me, get your facts right. To those who said they’d help me deal with the pain but didn’t, I forgive you, I have learnt how to deal with it and I am doing just fine. To those who fear for my safety saying Pastor Biodun would send people to shut me up, I really have gone past fearing for my life. To live is gain and to die is Christ (or how does Paul say it again?) And to the only person who ever supported me through it all, thank you, I am learning to be brave. Please don’t think I am perfect in all of this but in line with living my authentic life and putting all forms of abuse behind me, this is where I press the stop button and stop the bleeding. This is where I break the silence and call the church to stand up for what it has been commissioned to do. If you will not enter the Kingdom, please don’t stop others who are trying to enter.

 

I still remember when I used to nurse the idea of digging up emails, text messages, hotel billings (as once I used my card to pay for his room when his master card failed to work) to prove there was an affair. It was pathetic. Why for the love of heaven was I trying to dig up evidence? I am satisfied setting the record straight. I am ready for any shaming or bashing that would follow because the truth is, because of what I have suffered and come through, I am really not moved by what people say or think about me anymore. I am a stronger woman and a damn abuse survivor seeking to connect with other victims of abuse to show them how to deal with the shame, hurt and guilt and how to come out stronger. Turning their mess into their message.

I am Ese Walter and I have gone through all forms of abuse from family, boyfriends, my ex pastor and some strangers not to break me, but so I stand and so I qualify to help victims. My scars have qualified me and when all is said and done, I will still be standing. I AM WOMAN, I BEND, I DON’T BREAK! – Ese Walter

 

Ese Walters story is true. I was introduced to the church in Abuja by my childhood friend, who moved to Abuja from Calabar two years before I did. When I joined, she was also a PCU worker. I really felt welcome in the church up until my friend started having problems with other women.

She told me it was because Pastor Biodun trusted her with so many official things even above workers that were there before her. I believed her until the day she had an misunderstanding with another worker who called her ‘Ashewo Mary Magdalene’ in the church. After that, her enthusiasm for church started waning while mine was getting stronger till the day she told me she was leaving the church and shortly after she left. By that time, Pastor Biodun had developed an interest in counseling me and then started telling me to take my friends place as a PCU worker. I was reluctant because I didnt feel like coming to church early and leaving late but Pastor biodun assured me that his personal driver will pick me and drop me off and so I agreed. I started work as arranged but after a while, I noticed that the pastor did not respect personal space when talking to me when we were alone.

 He would stand soooooo close and rub my upper arms or my back which made me very uncomfortable. The final straw was when he said I should go with him to Lagos to take notes and transfer same online immediately for some Pentacostal thing he was attending and he knew I was very computer literate. I was excited till we reached Lagos and I realized that only one room was booked at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi. Of course I complaint and the Pastor called the front desk ( or pretended to) to demand for another room. He said they would call back when the room was ready. He then told me to help massage his back becos he has back ache from sitting on the flight. I said I was tired since it was already after 8. He then insisted I lay down on the bed to rest while waiting. I said I preferred to sit at the desk and he laughed saying that I was acting like a small girl or a village uneducated girl.

 He then went in to take a shower. I then called the front desk to remind then about the extra room. I wasn’t surprised when I was told that they had vacant rooms and that nobody had requested for an extra room. By this time, I knew what was up and was ready for the fool. I opened his pouch and saw his wallet which had his lisence. Took a picture of the wallet and the Lisence on the pillow on the bed with my head in the shot. I opened the door and took several pictures of myself, the wallet and the Lisence with the room number. Came back in, once I heard the shower stop, I started audio recording on my BB. He came out with a towel around his waist and started telling me how attracted he was to me. He said many deregatory things about his wife, calling her a postcard…pretty on the outside but flat and empty upstairs. He said sex with her was like having sex with a cold dead fish…he tried to kiss me and I stood up, picked up my travelling bag, moved to the door, opened it and quickly took a picture of him, standing with a towel around him. He started begging. I called him all sorts of names and insisted he give me money for a separate room or I would scream ‘rape’. To cut a long story short, he asked me to shut the door, I refused, he brought out 2 bundles of N1000 and asked me to delete before he gives me the money.

 I told him he was in no position to negotiate. Got the money, left the Randy goat with a deflated erection and checked into another room. First thing the next morning, I left for ABJ. By the way, remember my childhood friend that introduced me to COZA? I narrated my experience to her and she confessed that she was sleeping with Biodun for over a year, even on his marital bed when his wife travelled. Oga Pastor, try and deny my story publicly and see American wonder….I still have the pictures and our conversation on tape. Thank God for technology!!!!!!

 Franca E.

Three Members of A California Family Drown in Ocean Trying to Save Dog

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A California mother and father and their 16-year-old son were swept out to sea over the weekend after a deadly chain of events set off when the teenager jumped into frigid waters to save the family dog from turbulent Pacific Ocean waves.

The dog escaped on his own from the water off the Northern California coast. But Howard Kuljian, 50, and Mary Scott, 54, of Eureka died while their 16-year-old son, Gregory Kuljian, remained lost at sea, said Deputy Ariel Gruenthal of the Humboldt County Coroner’s office.

“The dog was able to get out somehow,” said Dana Jones, a state parks and recreation district superintendent. “It’s very sad, and we just always have to be aware when we’re around the ocean that nature is sometimes out of control.”

The tragedy began on Saturday afternoon while the family, including an 18-year-old daughter who was unharmed, was walking with Gregory’s girlfriend along a steep beach at Big Lagoon, about 270 miles north of San Francisco, Jones said.

Howard Kuljian threw the dog a stick, she said, and a wave, possibly as high as 10 feet, pulled the animal into the water. The son went in first to try to rescue his dog, Jones said.

“Then the father went in to save the son. The mother was swept in at that point,” she said. “The waves are big and powerful, and that’s a very steep beach. The waves pound the beach. When the waves are pounding like that, you don’t have a chance to breathe.”

A bystander summoned help while Olivia Kuljian, 18, and Gregory’s girlfriend, Lily Loncar, 16, watched in horror, Gruenthal said.

Rescuers found the bodies of Howard Kuljian and Scott close to the shore, Jones said. The U.S. Coast Guard searched by air and sea for Gregory, but fog, darkness and the impossibility of survival prompted them to quit on Saturday evening, said Lieutenant Bernie Carrigan of the Coast Guard.

He estimated the water temperature at between 55 and 57 degrees, so cold that hypothermia would rapidly set in, though a dog’s coat would protect against it.

“It’s kind of a reminder to never turn your back on the ocean,” Carrigan said. “It’s neat to see that kind of power. It’s also dangerous.”

RFID Chips, 666, and Obama Health Care Plan

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There has been increasing fears around over the past few months on the Obama health care plan that has been passed into law in the United States, with many Christians believing the RFID(Radio Frequency Identification) chip is the mark of the beast talked about in the Holy Bible(Revelation 13:16-18). School principals have been educating their students about this. Pastors have been sounding a note of warning to their congregation. But is this chip the mark of the beast the bible warned about?

RFID technology has been in use since the 1940s and it has been used in several aspects of human life, for security reasons mostly. RFID has been implanted in animals to track them to their natural habitat or places of origin. Individuals have in the past had an RFID chip implanted in their skin with codes to unlock safes, doors, and also for tracking them in case of kidnap. In fact, many countries of the world have had their army use the chip for years. There has also been cases of people who had chips implanted in them without their knowledge. Research has however shown that the RFID chip may contain Lithium which is dangerous to man. Whatever the truth about the RFID chip is, it is an infringement on human rights to impose implantation of chips on anyone, but that seems to be part of the Obama health care plan.

As much as the plan may be good for Americans, imposing chips on people will fault the whole plan and mar Obama’s government. There are opinions in some quarters that although the health insurance will be made compulsory for all ‘eligible’ Americans, no one will be compelled to have a chip implanted. Check this link for the author’s opinion: http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/microchip.asp. Other people believe everyone with the compulsory health insurance must take the chip which they believe is the mark of the beast: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=44637&forum=48. How easy it would be for a country who claims to uphold human rights to impose RFID chip implants on its people remains to be seen. There must be big corporations who wouldn’t like this idea. There must be millions of America who wouldn’t allow implants. If this is true, what is the government planning to do about them? I heard there will be private insurance available for those who wouldn’t want chips implanted in them, which might be costly thereby forcing people to go along with the government’s plan. Whichever way Obama is planning to do this, he would in a way infringe on people’s human rights. Remember, his re-election is on the line. He is probably doing this because he believes it’s the best for Americans, but Americans who are against this can rise with a strong voice to say NO, no matter how hard it is to resist.

Tomorrow, we shall discuss the role the church has played in all of this. The end-time is near, no doubt about that. But is this the mark of the beast?

The Diary of A Job Seeker

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Millions of Nigerians are unemployed and millions also under-employed. The search for a source of income has ensured the ever-increasing group of unemployed people are prone to embarrassing situations, demeaning propositions, and fraud. It can be very frustrating looking for a job without knowing someone who can help in Nigeria. They tell their stories through us so you’d know how it feels to be them.

“I never believed it was this hard. I heard stories of people going four years after graduation without a job and I never believed any of those. I thought it was impossible. Today, I believe people can go ten years without a job.

I have been at several interviews and I never left any interview hopeless as the body language of my interviewers and my performance and carriage always convinced I’d be top of their consideration list. My Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in Accounting, my MBA(in view), and one-paper-to-go ACA qualification has not been able to get me a job since I graduated in 2010. My situation may not be the worst, but I may be the hardest hit because I never prepared for this. I never thought I could be jobless for this long.

Last weekend, I was invited for another interview. The company had advertised for graduate trainees. We were suppose to write a test before the interview. The 72 of us there, well dressed in nice clothes and borrowed suits(I borrowed mine) were all hopeful. We discussed what the salary range could be judging from the company’s building and how well furnished their conference hall where we waited was. I smiled when I read through the 10 questions on the paper. I was happy I had done the test very well and my mind was fixed on the interview.

It was funny how nobody asked what the company really does until after the test. We were briefed on the activities of the company and half-way into it applicants left one after the other. I knew where the guy would end when he started; we were going to pay some money before we start marketing GNLD products. We were to pay N8000 each. I left smiling and pitying myself once again for having wasted the N1000 loan I took on transport.

How did they expect me to pay N8000 to get a job without being paid salary. Those guys stood before us with their saccharine-coated mouths advising us to become part of them as if they aren’t just part of us who figured out a way of having little income to feed. Kudos to them for figuring out a source of income though. We were told stories that were meant to brainwash us into paying N8000 each. I felt so stupid sitting there listening to them that I left with the second set of people who left.

This isn’t the worst feeling I’ve had after a test or interview, but having an opportunity to share this few days after the test makes me feel a lot better. I just hope this story becomes sweeter to tell soon when I get a job.”

Their stories will be here every monday as they scout for their dream jobs. You can send in yours also to inspire other people like you. Who knows what good can come out of all this.
Send your stories/experiences to melangejnr@gmail.com

I Made Him, Now I’m His Maid

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We met while at the Teachers’ college and fell in love. Words can begin to describe the kind of man he was. He was the best man any woman would ask God for. He loved me so dearly and it was obvious. We were a couple in school, and people envied our relationship.

After graduating from Teachers’ College, we got jobs in the same town and that convinced us we were meant for each other. Months later we were already making marriage plans after both families have agreed their kids have found the perfect partner. A year after, we were married and I was already carrying our first child.

While in school, he always told me how much he would have loved to study Medicine if he had the sponsorship. I never forgot the glow in his eyes anytime he talked about Medicine, and I was determined to help him live his dream. I asked him if he was still interested in Medicine, and he said only if he had the sponsorship. I replied him the sponsorship was there already. He didn’t understand what I meant until I brought out his JAMB form and asked him to fill in his desired schools. He collected the form smiling but set it aside and held my hand to thank me. He said he was grateful but wanted to know what made me think it was possible. He said it was one thing to obtain the form, and another to pay the school fees, buy books, and pay other bills. He could not believe his ears when I told him I had been saving for his education, and although the money would not be enough to see him through school, I would do other businesses to ensure everything went well. As great a news as it was to hear, he wouldn’t agree to my plan because he believed the burden would be too much for me. He would have to resign from his job and live on me. He asked how possible I thought that would be especially with the baby coming. But a voice always told me all would be fine, and I was able to convince him.

I need not tell you all I went through during his medical training, but I really suffered as did my daughter. I kept our suffering from him because I knew he was going to drop out the moment he knew we were suffering. I had to lie to my parents about how we funded his studies. I said he was on scholarship and so the government was paying his fees. They would ask me why I was always broke since my husband was the government’s son, and I would say the scholarship covered only books and school fees, and that food was so expensive at the university that my salary was just a little over his feeding money monthly. They were there for me through thick and thin.

My husband has being a Medical Doctor for twenty years now and he’s doing great. We stay in a big house where I have a flat to myself and my kids. Three of the other five flats are for three other women who my husband have married in the past ten years. He was still the man I fell in love with when he got back from Medical school and he remained so for ten years. We lived well. He got me lots of gifts. I never spent school long vacation in the country. He spent virtually all he made on me. He spoilt me! Thank God I didn’t agree when he asked me to resign. I simply told him Teaching was my life and I was never going to stop till I’m ripe for retirement.

The last ten years have been hell. I’ve searched my heart to find where I went wrong but I can’t seem to find anything. I’ve been treated like a maid in the house. The wives hurl insults at me at will. I’m also the one whose kids have to clean the compound, and even their flats when I’m not around. The easiest way out would have been to leave, but how am I going to leave after all we went through together? Am I just going to let some strange women take my home away from me? I need help!

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