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#Notinmychurch: How Timi Dakolo’s muse inspired holy war

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The issue of sexual harassment is currently having its spotlight moment. The #MeToo movement has empowered women worldwide, with many speaking out against sex-based mistreatment like never before.

During the past year, numerous men have lost their positions of power over allegations of sexual misconduct. No one has been spared, from powerful CEOs to popular sportsmen to actors and musicians. In Nigeria, after a few minor victories, the #MeToo movement is in the process of claiming its biggest casualty, and singer Timi Dakolo has emerged as an unlikely protagonist. But his inspiration for taking this Goliath head on shouldn’t at all come as a surprise.

Timi Dakolo has enjoyed a stable albeit undistinguished music career. He has released less than half a dozen songs in the last five years, hardly the type of prolificacy required to remain visible in a genre as unpopular as R&B/soul. But even with a limited body of work, Timi has managed to set himself apart as a musician with a purpose.

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On the statesmanlike “Great Nation”, he sang about love for God and country, on “Wish Me Well”, he sang about his long and unpredictable musical journey, and on the energetic rock ballad “Heaven Please”, he sang about the special relationship he shared with his late grandmother. But the Bayelsa native is arguably most popular for singing about love; his biggest love song to date is “Iyawo Mi” (2014). The song signaled Timi’s entry into an elite group of artists like Sunny Nneji (Oruka) and Flavour (Ada Ada) who can boast of having an evergreen wedding song.     

An unmistakable focus in Timi’s music is his dedication to using his wife Busola as his muse. Not only is the singer’s love songs solely about her, the banker-tuned-photographer has been the lead model in practically all of her husband’s recent music videos. Busola has taken center stage in the visuals for “I Never Know Say”, “Medicine”, “The Vow” and, of course, “Iyawo Mi”. This level of adulation is uncommon in popular music, where many male heartthrobs prefer to give out the lead roles in their music videos to random hires and keep their spouses far away from the spotlight. But Timi Dakolo has shown that he’s comfortable when the spotlight is squarely on his wife.

Busola Dakolo has been trending on social media for over a week but it was Timi who started the conversation in late May when he launched an astonishing attack at the founding pastor at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo. Timi accused Fatoyinbo of abusing his position to take advantage of the women in his church. It was an attack that was brought into perspective last week when Busola granted an explosive interview where she accused Fatoyinbo of raping her when she was a choir member in his growing church; she was 17 years old at the time.

This isn’t the first time Fatoyinbo has been accused of sexual exploitation; he was faced with a damaging sex scandal in 2013. And since Busola’s interview, more women have come forward with details of his alleged misdeeds. The pastor was initially defiant, denying all wrongdoing and claiming that his accusers were financially motivated. But after protests in several branches of his church this past Sunday, Biodun was forced to sing a different tune. He announced that he’d be stepping down from church leadership, albeit till the smoke clears.  

Timi and Busola have reportedly filed an official complaint to the police and seem to want to have the matter pass through the legal system, and not just sit in the court of public opinion; a court that has been mostly supportive but has also been brutal and questioned everything, from the Dakolo’s marriage, their true motives and Timi’s music career. It’ll be intriguing to see how this event shapes Timi’s sound and the types of songs he commits to making in the future. However, whichever direction it goes, you can almost bet your life savings that the same person that is at the center of Timi’s unexpected advocacy will remain at the center of his music.

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Timi Dakolo
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