Heaven Can Wait! Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo’s Love For Expensive Luxury Cars

The gospel according to “daddy” poses a moral problem in the Nigerian clime. Unlike Jesus Christ’s gospel of minimalism, compassion and sacrifice, the gospel according to the Nigerian pastor or ‘daddy’ advocates an obscene, pocket-friendly version of faith. It enhances the capacity to say the right things without doing them. The ‘daddies’’ brand of faith propagates life without integrity, devotion without humanity and the darkest possible version of prosperity; thus, the impulse for acquisition, pursuit of gain and money, which has nothing to do with spiritualism.

Rather it has everything to do with capitalism. One may say that it has been common to all sorts and conditions of men at all times and in all cultures of the earth. Hence the fascination it presents to several Nigerian pastors. It is an open secret that Nigerian pastors are done waiting for their rewards in heaven. The gospel, according to Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, is glittering and cool. It is hardly wretched and bleak, like the unpopular brand often marketed and propagated by the ascetics.

Thus wherever you see Rev. Fatoyinbo, Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), you encounter luxury and grace in luscious forms. The popular cleric no doubt subscribes to the maxim that it is up to every individual to make the best or worst of his life. This is why the senior pastor milks life of all the luxury it is worth. That Rev. Fatoyinbo is a much sought-after public speaker is never in doubt, what many people do not know is that, he nurtures an abiding taste in highly expensive automobiles among other luxuries. His exotic preference for top-notch designers and state-of-the-art cars cannot be contested and he lives like a king in his Abuja home, which boasts of the most exquisite and colourful interior and exterior decor.

Recently, he marked his birthday by hosting family members and close friends to an exceptional celebration in the United Arab Emirates. He hosted his guests and well-wishers at the newly commissioned branch of his church in Dubai. There he held a thanksgiving service on his birthday. It was followed by a lavish dinner party at the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel and an all-white party aboard an executive yacht, with some fireworks display to wrap up the celebration. Checkout his latest Porsche car.

History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; truth falls apart like heaps of sand and integrity fades off like characters written in the dust where might meets with right, particularly in Nigeria’s political and high society circuits. This perhaps explains the alleged impunity and disrespect for rule of law currently being exhibited by the Nigerian military in civil space. Despite recent scandals involving top brass of the country’s military, the latter have persisted in unforgivable acts of iniquity against civilians that it ought to protect.

As you read, men of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), a military segment where some leading officers have been openly tainted in ongoing anti-corruption investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), are in the news again for the wrong reason. This time, the bone of contention is the property at No. 13B Reeve Road, Ikoyi, Lagos belonging to BCL which the company duly acquired from the Presidential Implementation Committee of the White Paper on the Commission of Inquiry into the Alienation of Federal Government Landed Property.

Still exercising the kind of brigandage associated with military rule, NAF has continued to occupy the property refusing its lawful owner access in outright disregard of a letter by Secretary of the Presidential Implementation Committee part of which reads that, “the Federal Government property known as 13B Reeve Road was never at any time offered to the Nigerian Air Force…the property was never an institutional property for the Nigerian Air Force.”

The property was handed over in 2008 without encumbrances based on a memorandum of understanding and developmental lease signed between BCL and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, acting on behalf of the Federal Government. The company made a total payment of N176,925,000 (One hundred and seventy-six million nine hundred and twenty-five thousand naira only) in full settlement for the leasehold.

Upon its refusal to vacate the property, BCL instituted suit HC/LC/CS/1769/14 against the Nigerian Air Force, the Chief of Air Staff, NAF Investment Limited, Commander 107 NAF Camp, Victoria Island Lagos, Federal Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and the Secretary, Presidential Implementation Committee on Federal Government Landed Property through its counsel, Abubakar Sheidu and Co. What continues to be worrisome is the fact that while the NAF, through its officers, Flying Officer Oluwaseun Afolabi and B. R. Ashiru called upon the court to dismiss the case in its entirety, its statement of defence merely denies BCL claims without showing any evidence in support. The NAF has not tendered one document to show that the property ever directly or remotely belonged to it, at any time.

In total disregard for the Federal Government’s right to do as it wished with the property, the NAF has continued to occupy the contested property by using gun-toting men to scare the rightful owners.

Movies are dreams on screen, the actualised fantasy of the eternal romantic, so argues the cynic stereotype. The latter earnestly contradicts what constitutes the essence of film; pitching wildly and quite methodically, the damning perspective against the nature of movies, disparagers of the art genre, regard it as a defective vehicle for numbing reality. Nonetheless, the archetypal filmmaker seeks to awaken consciousness to a hidden layer amid the folds of reality in order to depict it or recapture its fast-fading resonance. This is what top politician and businessman, Prince Tonye Princewill, seeks to achieve by bankrolling ‘76’, a movie.

Nigeria’s movie industry also known as Nollywood, in recent times has continued to shift, albeit slowly, from the ridiculous to the sublime. The industry has seen the production of critically acclaimed movies that have continued to wow many Nigerians and foreigners. Princewill recently broke the bank with the production of multi-award winning movie, ‘76’. Following this trend of production of quality movie, Africa Magic, in collaboration with Adonis Production and Princewill’s Trust, produced 76, a tale of love, trust, faith and family set against the backdrop of war and nation building.

76 is an assemblage of talented Nollywood stars like Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme and many others. The movie is set six years after the Nigerian civil war also known as Biafran War. The movie tells the story of a young officer from the Middle Belt who gets entangled in a romantic relationship and eventually marries a beautiful student from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. Their budding romance is threatened by endless military postings, and they face the ultimate test when news of the soldier’s involvement in a botched coup attempt hits the headlines.

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