By Banji Ojewale
We must never underestimate the potential of our youths. Throughout history, God has called youths to rise up and change their world through the power of the gospel—William Folorunso Kumuyi, General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry. After a timidly truculent tea-cup turmoil triggered to truncate the recent Lagos IMPACT 2022 crusade of Pastor W. F. Kumuyi, leader of Deeper Christian Life Ministry, the event finally held to unexpected success and wild multimedia acclaim and coverage. The programme was planned to spiritually and psychologically reorient the youngsters of our age for a positive influence on society. But on account of those Kumuyi invited as ministering guests, the cleric and his church were pummeled, pilloried and pulled down. Those who launched the war argued that by summoning these personalities, the octogenarian man of God was enfeebling the brand the whole world has come to know for its legendary holiness stand.
Kumuyi had invited Ibukun Awosika, ex-chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and motivational speaker, Dunsin Oyekan, gospel singer and producer and Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Nigerian entrepreneur and co-founder of Andela, to minister to the youths. He believed they could employ their own cognate experiences and successes to reroute the young people to a regenerative path where they can fulfill their destinies in nation-building. But a torrent of violent vituperations followed, with critics charging Kumuyi with attempting to ‘destroy’ the house of God. They said he had herded ‘philistines’ to the hallowed altar to corrupt the teens and mature adults. Kumuyi needed to be stopped before going far. They pulled all the strings to make the public dispute the moral integrity of the event and deny it the hugeness of attendance it sought.
Nevertheless, the trio, dismissed as threats to the Church’s contribution to the national agenda of rousing the most vibrant sector of the society from the deadly grip of vice and unproductive habits, were used of Heaven to drive the juveniles to a new vision of seeing themselves as positive influencers of their age. The boys and girls who thronged the Deeper Life International Conference Centre, DLICC, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway venue of IMPACT 2022 were riveted by the ministrations and motivational presentations of Awosika, Oyekan and Aboyeji, all the five nights of the programme in the first week of January, 2022. Thanks to the science and technology of our time and the new media that embraced them, there was real-time live broadcast of the show worldwide. Homes, non-denominational church locations, learning centres, hospitals, etc. connected to DLICC to be part of the programme.
Every day was crowned with Pastor Kumuyi’s own messages that bore his clinical pulpit trademarks: passion, power, persuasion and purpose. He reminded his young audience (and indeed Nigeria and the whole global community) that for humanity to rediscover the potential of the youth and put them to use the way God wants it, they must possess exactly the attributes that also drive him to excel. They must be passionate about their desire to rise above the challenges that seek to drown them or seek to make them companions of antisocial cravings. They must then legitimately seek the power to resist the temptation to go back to the mud. They must constantly stay above the ground and operate on top of their game. At this point, they have become soaring eagles, fully persuaded that they no longer belong to the minions. This conviction is infectious. It leads the youths, in their liberated spirit, to aid society breed more eagles which would lift society from its despair and doldrums. This is where, according to my extrapolation of Pastor Kumuyi’s charge at IMPACT 2022, the young citizens begin to enter into a pact with purpose. You achieve nothing if you have no purpose in life. Your brilliant education, enormous resources, admirable talents and skills etc. must have a purpose for their existence. They must not be allowed to live outside the orbit of a disciplined purpose. They must not be made independent of the purpose for which God offered you those gifts. Otherwise, we shall have only a latent population of youths: they have all the signs and seeds of greatness, but that’s all we see, seeds and signs without fruit and action that must come along, leaves on a tree without the accompanying fruit. The externals are prospective; but alas, there is no inner motorizing spirit. Nothing can be more mentally excruciating, traumatic and tormenting: the nation has an army of virile youths and yet it lives with a more powerful parallel army of pulverizing problems.
Awosika, stepping out on the wings of her boardroom achievements, told her young audience that since everyone is a vessel through which the Word of God can come alive, the youths should lean on this same God for a new beginning and support to make a positive impact on their community and country. She declared: ‘’There is no limitation in what we can do, where we can go if we know God… Leadership does not make you support people to do wrong things, but creates a means to make them do the right thing.’’
For Aboyeji, the principal counsel was, ‘’Let God be your godfather, not man.’’ He spoke of a period of being in the wilderness during one’s trip to the mountain of breakthrough. Recalling his own experiences, he said the wilderness was necessary to allow the Lord to have His way to carve the prosperous path for you. He urged the youths not to resort to crime and negative self-help when short-lived challenges ambush them.
With Oyekan throwing in his great brawny voice for the musical interlude, the youthful audience rose to ecstasy that made the point that they fully connected to the vision of IMPACT 2022. His songs were devoid of any secular streak; the lyrics drew from Bible passages that led those who listened to sing along as familiar Scriptural references wafted up from the podium. Kumuyi was moved to declare that he has adopted Oyekan as his son.
IMPACT 2022 may be a Deeper Christian Life Ministry. But it is beyond the organization and its leader. It is a project to help Nigeria and the nations of the world draw their young population away from crimes and for a spiritual renaissance that would also direct us to socioeconomic and political regeneration. If in Nigeria, as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says, more than 51% of the eligible voters are youths (18-35 years), then the programme is timely, given the fact that we are in the electioneering campaign season. It has equipped youths with the knowledge to choose right. It has also taught them not to be trapped in violence and poll-related malpractices.
That was the thrust of Kumuyi in the communique he issued at the end of IMPACT 2022. There is a void in the lives of our youths being filled by ‘’various anti-social and anti-state behaviour,’’ he says. He is therefore calling on governments to come up with a ‘’comprehensive youths policy’’ that would ‘’address ills in the world of youths…through youth-focused intervention programmes.’’
Ojewale is a writer in Ota, Ogun State