The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, North-Central chapter, Rev. Israel Akanji, has prayed to God to restore the glory of the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, even if he is guilty of rape.
Akanji, who leads the First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja, said this while delivering a sermon at the church last Sunday.
He said, “I still pray for that pastor (Fatoyinbo). I am not sure he erred; I have no right to judge because I don’t know whether the accusations against him are true or false. It has yet to be determined but even if t is true, I still pray that God will restore him fully to the work of the ministry.”
The prayer was accompanied by a thunderous amen from the congregation.
The cleric further stated that he did not regret paying a solidarity visit to Fatoyinbo, who has been facing allegations of rape for over a month.
Akanji and the Chairman of CAN, FCT Chapter, Rev. Jonah Samson, had come under fire recently for visiting COZA and drumming support for Fatoyinbo, who was accused of raping Busola Dakolo, wife of singing star, Timi Dakolo.
The National President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, had also dissociated the national body of CAN from the actions of Akanji and Samson.
However, Akanji, said he did not regret visiting Fatoyinbo.
He said even a condemned thief was pardoned by Jesus Christ at the Cross of Calvary, adding that the COZA pastor was not beyond redemption even if he was guilty.
The cleric argued that if one church is in trouble, it becomes the concern of every church.
Akanji said, “Individuals locked up by the EFCC who are seen to be the worst people on the face of the earth… we pray for them. And that church, we needed to go and speak and pray with them because of what they were passing through and that is what we did.
“Now, people may have different opinions but I hold the bible as the pastor, First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja. I have no regret that I went to that church (COZA). I didn’t go there to endorse evil but I wanted to say that even if you are the worst sinner, Jesus Christ still has a place for you.”
He said critics should always ask, “What will Jesus do?” before making judgments.
The CAN North-Central chairman said even when armed robbers and killers are sentenced to death, clerics are still called upon to say a last prayer for the condemned.
Akanji, therefore, argued that as a pastor, he would continue to pray for all.
He stated, “If Jesus were in our generation, he would be criticised for things he did. So, is it what people say that matters? Not in all cases. Yes, some things people say matter but when it has to do with eternity and the kingdom of God, it doesn’t matter what anybody says.”
After the sermon, the cleric conducted a three-minute prayer in which he prophesied that anyone planning to close down COZA would fail.
Akanji also prayed that COZA would continue to wax stronger while all blemishes would be wiped out.
“I pray that all those who have seen this as an entry point to fight the Christian faith in this nation will fail in the name of Jesus. God, I pray for that Pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo. He told me he gave his life to Christ in the Baptist Student Fellowship of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Ilorin.
“I didn’t go there (COZA) because he was a Baptist. I didn’t know he had anything to do with Baptist. I just went and he saw me as a father. I thank you, God. And I pray that you intervene such that the needed correction should there be any, be made
“And God, you, who denied Peter after he denied you in your mercy, you will restore your servant.”
Akanji also held a 13-second prayer for the Dakolos, asking God to heal them if indeed they were hurt by Fatoyinbo.
“I pray that the family which felt wounded, should that be true, please heal their minds, restore them as well,” he prayed.