In June, NdaniTV premiered OGA! Pastor, a show that brought out my negative bias as another bourgeoisie, Nollywood-adjacent spectacle even without seeing the trailer. OGA! Pastor is NdaniTV’s latest installment after their flagship show Skinny Girl In Transit ran for five seasons, and revolves around the philandering cleric Pastor Deoye Geshinde (Uche Arukwe), who makes a confession in episode one that he is sleeping with a woman that isn’t his wife, Olaitan, played by Ini Dima-Okojie.
It’s the first scene we see, quite unsettling, with Arukwe brilliantly embodying a character wrestling with himself as he tells his congregation that he can no longer be their pastor. Three episodes later and OGA! Pastor can’t be found. Cancelled, it seems. Fans who have watching the show waited for a fourth episode to air but it didn’t, and the worst thing is that NdaniTV has removed all episodes from their platform, as though the show never existed.
NdaniTV seem to have deleted the OGA PASTOR show from their page. Hmmmm. What’s going on? pic.twitter.com/vEySCOpEZf
— SisiYėmmié.com ? (@Sisi_Yemmie) July 4, 2019
— Kemi Lala Akindoju (@lalaakindoju) July 4, 2019
Because of this sudden cancellation, and with NdaniTV not bothering to give reasons why the show was axed, it has sent the internet into formulating wild but plausible theories, the most popular drawn from the ongoing rape allegation controversy involving the head of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, a story broken by YNaija/Y!TV. The beleaguered pastor and the fresh rape accusations against him has captured the nation for over a week, generating a spectrum of conversations on rape and sexual harassment within the church, the ingrained misogyny in religious institutions, victim-blaming, male entitlement to women’s bodies, etc.
On the surface, OGA! Pastor has parallel beats with our tense, churning atmosphere in the context of ”men of God” embroiled in sexual scandals, and I can understand the optics of NdaniTV leaving a show like that to continue airing, making them appear as a brand that’s trivialising and glorifying this string of sexual improprieties perpetuated by religious leaders. That said, OGA! Pastor can still be brought back if the show will interrogate itself on the kind of narrative it wants to depict.
For example, rapper Falz has been problematic over the years for his materials that show a misogynistic disgust towards sex workers and absolving rapists of accountability. His 2018 song Child of the World was controversial for the latter, depicting a woman who veered into ”morally bad behaviour” after she was raped, contracted HIV and mental health in shambles, so much so that she tries to commit suicide. The song was extremely distasteful, bombarding the rape victim with consequences while the rapist goes scott-free, and upholding the fear-mongering tactic of moral punishment.
I don’t know if OGA! Pastor clearly addresses rape or sexual harassment in episodes that haven’t aired, but the show can be tweaked to have a biting cultural resonance in this regard. Teaching men, regardless of status or class, about consent and respecting women’s space and boundaries. Teaching men accountability and not blame women for ”tempting” them. Also, teaching that consent has to be expressed enthusiastically and unequivocally before sex (this still applies even though hypocritical Christians would tell you that fornication is a sin). On the show, and although this would mean grafting relevant subplots into the story, Pastor Deoye can use his position to make the church feel like a safe place for women, given the Bible’s hardcore misogyny.
In other words, we want the show to be reformed through a lead character representing a hope for men engulfed in the crisis of masculinity. Extra-marital affairs is bad but, hear me out guys, a married pastor shattering retrogade ideas about sex and sexuality by how he chooses to have or express it – threesomes, sex toys, BDSM as long as his partner is down. Yes, I’d watch the hell out of that.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.