03 Nov

The Parable of An Okada Generation

I think one of the most raging and ravaging epidemics of our time is the traumatizing disconnect between generations- the turning away of the hearts of the fathers from the children. We’ve become so busy with life- too busy to love, too busy to care and too busy to really help another generation live. In the multitude of our activity, we shut out a promise of tomorrow.

The most disturbing effect of the increasingly apparent generational disconnect is not the estimated thirty million kids who live on and roam the African streets; it’s not the American night clubs filled with gang violence and substance abuse, nor is it the prosperity of prostitution in some fast-paced European city. 

I think it’s simply the loss of human potential. The possibilities imprisoned in the several young people walking the streets- possibilities that they never come to terms with. I think it’s the life they were never given a chance at living. The leaders that were never made, the professionals that never emerged and potential generational models that ended up struggling to fit in to a warped social culture. The loss is in the heavy dreams that their weak hearts could never hold, talk less carry to fruition.

I see them every day. Some live in great houses, but have never known a home. Some are well educated, but have not been discovered. Some are active and boisterous, but retreat every night into caves of depression and emptiness. Some are left to pursue meals to eat, and helplessly pursue it at the expense of decency and core values: the sacrifice of destiny and divine purposes on the altar of survival. Others are left to sacrifice a God-given destiny and purpose at the altar of acceptance and affirmation, a core gift their parents were too busy to ever give them. 

I believe every life retains a God-ordained and God-given right to be lived to its full potential.

One writer interestingly referred to our young ones as the ‘okada generation of kids and teenagers’. ‘Okada’ is one of those words widely used in Nigeria that you wonder how they really came about it. It refers to a motorcycle, usually owned and used for commercial purposes and patronized mostly by low and middle income earners. But maybe the ‘okada generation’ means more than you’re thinking. 

It has become a sadly lucrative ambition for many a Nigerian street teenage school dropout to own an okada. They ignore the huge risks associated with riding an okada, the unimaginable distances and the unhealthy exposures to the wind and weather conditions in order to rake in some quick money. At least they get to eat meals and pay off a few bills. 

But that in itself is the deception. 

The noble quest for God’s purpose to life has been Esaud for the necessity of basic survival. And so a few years down the line, every trace of vision and purpose is quietened and forgotten, and the potential hero lives with a misguided and misinformed tamed sense of fulfillment.

But I think the okada tells a much deeper story. If you were ever in Lagos, Nigeria- when Lagos was Lagos: In the days when, rather than ‘Nigerian commercial capital’, a better description for the word ‘Lagos’ would be ‘a state of commotion, confusion and the pursuit of vanity’. You’d see several of those young ‘okada boys’ wriggling their way through the frustrated hooting cars in the traffic jam, with a scientific accuracy that avoids any scratch on the cars, and then they turbo off at an alarming speed as they hit the clear highway. It’s much faster than waiting in a car and it’s seemingly exciting. It bypasses all the jams and as it hits top speed, it swerves with a majestic glide to avoid the potholes. But it’s so unguarded and exposed directly to the boisterous winds. 

I think of the strong winds of deceptions that ravage many young hearts because they live unguarded and uncovered. They’re on a fast lane- catching a lot of fun and being exposed to things young people their age should really never be. 

What do you make of every unguarded and uncovered teenager seeing wild and violent scenes on the screens and in the movies and the music and hitting the pace off it? A pace of cycles of vanity. Life becomes all about cravings and pace. Bottles. Lighted sticks. Sniffs and injections. Sensual cravings and drives. Driven by sensual feelings and craves for satisfaction, zips go down and skirts go up as freely and randomly as they feel like. Friends with benefits. Cravings without conscience. They’re unguarded and uncovered. The societal model gets the parents engaged at work, gets the church engaged with politics and long-dead structures, and then hooks the kids on an okada, racing away into vanity.

But soon enough, the reality of what life is all about would set in: the reality that the pace of an okada can never leave the earth in flight. It’s a grounded and limited life. 

I believe every life retains a God-ordained and God-given right to be lived to its full potential.

Step in leadership.

Step in leaders who are conversant with the truth of God as well as the reality of a generation. Step in leaders who are not speaking truth in a language that is not understood, nor are they speaking falsehood so intelligibly.

Truth makes free. Language communicates it.

At some point, I believe we can rise to the challenge of letting some weak hearts find an advantage in us. The fatherless are not just the kids whose dads are buried in the grave; some have their parents away at work, some away with pursuits of life. God can stir our hearts for His cause. We represent a cause that can heal the generational breach and restore a model of a God-culture to families and nations. 

If you start giving yourselves to the down-and-out …You shall build the old ruins; you shall rear the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to live in.  Isaiah 58:10 MSG, 58:12 LITV

You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again Isaiah 58:12 MSG

I believe every life retains a God-ordained and God-given right to be lived to its full potential.

By the Grace of God, you can restore that right! If you’ll give yourself to some ‘down-and-out’ person, you can stand with God to make out a future in a life that would have no semblance to its past. Iniquity has abounded- it has broken homes, broken hearts, abused and traumatized many, and left precious seeds abandoned on the streets. But in the abounding of iniquity is God’s promise of Grace super-abounding! 

But where sin abounded, grace super-abounded. Rom 5:20 ALT

We are endued with Great Grace to rescue, to heal, to restore and to empower. 

I write these lines to perhaps merely stir a consciousness in you; but probably, to go further and challenge some action in you.  

One of my heroes, Pastor Jentezen Franklin, would say, ‘we can’t do everything, but we can do something’.  There’s surely something you can do for a life in your world. There’s surely a heart you can reach out to and strengthen. There’s a young person you can save from the raging winds hitting his/her unguarded and uncovered heart and set him/her on a pathway to live a noble God-given life. There’s a cause you can commit yourself to and support.

The persistence and works of iniquity are not the problem in any nation; the problem is the absence of the super-abounding Grace of God. Or better put, the silence and passiveness of the Vessels of His Grace.

Step in leadership

Would you?



  1. Tolulope
    January 2, 2020

    Every life retains a God-ordained and God-given right to be lived to its full potential.
    This piece is one great truth that is rarely addressed.
    In a world where people only point to the problems and ending the discussion, I am happy that you pointed us to a solution; stepping into leadership

    Thank you for this sir. This is so apt and profound sir.


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