March 25, 2020, His Grace, Most Revd Nicholas Dikeriehi Orogodo Okoh, Archbishop of Abuja Province and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Primate Okoh is a man of many parts, a huge repertoire of experiences. A man of excellent comprehension, he gives every role God or man assigns him, whether in the military or at the pulpit, his best shot; his eyes perpetually fixed on excellence. He never knew he could attain this height, serving variously as businessman and soldier before berthing in the ecclesiastic world where he rose steadily to emerge the head of the Anglican Church in Nigeria and leader of the 20 million devotees of the Anglican faith in Nigeria, and one of the serving motivators of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON)
The Primate, by virtue of his position, manages the second-largest province of the Anglican Church globally, after the Church of England. Primate Okoh, a hyper-active leader in GAFCON guides the Church of Nigeria to sustain GAFCON fully in its drive to ensure that sanity prevails, and Biblical instructions form the basis for worshipping God in the Orthodox Church. Like other successful leaders, Nicholas Okoh was taken through the furnace by God Who prepared him for the roles he has played in his journey through the world. Most Revd Okoh joined the Nigerian Army at just 16, an age when most of his peers are still tied to the apron strings of their parents, and fought in the ill-fated civil war in 1970.
After the Nigerian Civil War, he moved from the infantry to the Chaplaincy of the Nigerian Army where he served in various capacities, rising to the position of Lieutenant Colonel, on which he retired after 21 years of meritorious service to his Fatherland. After his exit from the military, he continued the work of God with an uncommon commitment and was elected Primate on September 15, 2009, and installed on March 25, 2010. In line with the constitution of the Church of Nigeria, the primate must exit after spending two terms of ten years in office.
In this interview, Most Revd Nicholas Okoh speaks about his service in the military, the church, and also about contemporary issues warring against it, personal regrets, and his future after bowing out as Primate.
Starting from your early life, circumstances surrounding your birth and all that are there some unusual occurrences that indicated that you will perpetually serve in God’s vineyard?
That is the strange thing. Mine is a big irony of life. My family was a stranger to church life. My father was not a church man, though he loved the civilization brought by the church. So, he allowed all his children to go school. He wasn’t a Christian. My mother was not a Christian too until much later after my father died. So, it was the influence of the school and teachers that drew us close to God and studying the Bible. That helped us to grow, going through baptism, confirmation and so on, until I had a personal encounter with God.
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