Owen Chiedozie NWOKOLO was born on the 19th day of June, 1967 at Oka Mbano, to the Priestly family of Rev Canon Felix Chukwunenye and Mrs Adeline Chukwdum Nwokolo of Ebenesi Nnobi in Idemili South L.G.A of Anambra state. Right from childhood, he belonged to a rare generation of youths in Owerri Diocese, bounded by the ethics of family care, honest friendliness with peers, very diligent in duty and a flair for the worship of the Almighty. His upbringing was very strict which followed a set pattern of domestic work, school homework, church choir practice and very few hours outside. Young Owen cut his academic teeth variously at All Saints’ Primary School, Amaifeka, Orlu and Central Primary School, Akokwa, which reason would not be unconnected with his fathers intermittent transfer as church worker. He gained admission into the famous Boys’ Secondary, Uga in 1979 and completed his school certificate courses in 1985. He went on to do the Higher School Certificate at the Federal School of Art and Science Aba between 1985 and 1986, and passed in flying colours. It was also during this time that he had personal encounter with the Lord while attending Scriptural Union meeting. He was at the University of Nigeria between 1986 and 1990 from where he obtained a B.A (Hon.) degree in Religion. To many, it was there that his ministerial calling began to manifest, having been elected the Bible Study Secretary, Anglican Students Fellowship of the institution. Without prompting, destiny took him to a faith-based organization, food for the Total man’s Ministry, Kaduna for his compulsory National Youth Service program which ended in 1991, leaving him a man who actually desire to serve God. In continued pursuit of knowledge, he was back to the University of Nigeria for his Master’s degree in the same field, which he completed in 1992. Satisfied with the level he had attained in secular education, (having pulled himself out of the crowd), he accepted a call by God to serve His vineyard that same year, which culminated to his posting as a Church Teacher to St. Mary’s Church Uruagu Nnewi, where he began to nurse a dream for higher spiritual calling. However, the fact that Owen had a fair dosage of secular learning did not in any way stop him from seeking knowledge which pertains to the heart knowing well his destination. This vacuum he felt made him waste no further time in the quest to pursue a Diploma program in Theology which saw to his admission to the famous Trinity Theological College, Umuahia where again as a congenital leader and an avid reader of books another mantle of leadership fell on him as the Chief Librarian of the college. While at the college, it was clear to all that Owen had left his foot prints on the sands of time, earning for himself Bishop Uwadi’s award for the best graduating student. Upon completion of secular and theological education, loaded with ideas and experience to shepherd God’s people, Owen was commissioned into full ministry with ordination as a deacon in Church of God Diocese on the Niger Anglican Communion in 1994 and got his initial posting to St. Andrew’s Church now Basilica of St. Andrew Onitsha (University of Niger Diocese). This posting was to prove in no distance time that Owen was a carrier of divine blessings which have made him success story in churches he had superintended, leaving lasting legacies that remain indelible. At St. Andrew Church, though he was still a curate, second fiddling under Rev Canon I.I Ikele (as he was then) he moved with full force against spiritual sluggishness, knowing the dangers inherent in a situation of absolute absence of a forum to address fundamentally the spiritual needs of man. By the help of the Holy Spirit, he enlivened the Church of God and greatly multiplied the number of worshippers. To arrest the problem of ritualistic church attendance, he re-dimensioned the Wednesday Prayer Ministry, which within a short period of time had metamorphosed into a “pool of Bethsaida”. It was a period of spiritual awakening. However, his diaconate era at St. Andrew Church was coming to an end by 1995, when the then Bishop on the Niger, Late, Rt. Rev Onyemelukwe ordained him a full time Priest. As a minister of God and according to the demands of his calling, his transfer did not take long to come after his ordination. When it finally came in 1997, he was already fing his feet as a young vicar at St. Mark’s Church, Omagba whereas his nature of breaking new grounds, he showed the priestly stuff he was made of. On first meeting with him, Owen leaves you without any doubt as someone who is in a hurry to ameliorate the pangs of misery suffered by the most vulnerable members of the society. Little wonder, he made the act of solving people’s problem his primary assignment, and it was his compassionate heart towards people’s problems that moved him away always to go extra-mile in establishing platforms for earnest petitions to God. Through this means, church members plagued with problem or the other were expected to pray them out. This platform later came to be known as “Faith Clinic”. Faith Clinic was powerfully impacting in the lives of Onitsha Christians populace so much that it became a bye-word in the Niger Diocese and beyond. Faith Clinic as the name connotes stood as a veritable platform for deliverance fro evil fetters, for unadulterated preaching of the word of God and an institution to contribute meaningfully in the lives of many indigent people. There, Anglicans were taught with results the tenets of faith, such that before his departure, St. Mark became a bustling miracle centre, envy of churches around. What is most fascinating about his ministry remains his pedigree of clean record in church administration, a product of his inter-personal intelligence. Ironically many are baffled that despite the fact that his birth came during the preparation of the civil war, his psyche was not military based. Rather than become a menacing musketeer, he believes in peace and pursues it with all men. Anybody who has had the opportunity to relate with him would always confirm his unique humility Commenting on his mien, Obi Otigba, a member of the Cathedral congregation (the last church he pastured before his consecration) noted thus “Owen is modest in virtually all he does, very careful in selecting the words he uses, modest in dressing and descent in manners”. He continued, “the camaraderie he inspires when he was still an Archdeacon portrayed him as a man who knew he was moving to a higher calling, radiating charisma and a charming personality. While he pastured at St. Mark’s Church, Omagba, the Holy Spirit inspired him to plant a church in order to lessen the burden of members who walked from yonder phase 2 to St. Mark’s Church in Phase I. the result of that inspiration came in form of St. Barnabas Church, Omagba Phase II. To God be the Glory, taking a cue from its mother church, St. Barnabas church is up and going in the area of Church planting around that neighborhood. A laborer they say deserves his wages. For hard work, Owen was collated a Canon of the All Saint’s Cathedral, Onitsha in 1999. IN THAT YEAR, AT THE LAST Synod of the late Most Rev J.A Onyemelukwe, Owen moved a motion, which made a prophet of the retiring Archbishop. He foretold that Owen was a priest cut out to do outstanding things in the diocese. Within space of one year after this prophesy, Owen had become appointed as an Archdeacon in the Diocese on the Niger. His stay at St. Mark’s Church Omagba ended in 2001, when he was posted to see all Churches in Oyi Archdeaconry from another St. Mark’s Church, but now in Ogbunike. And as the saying goes that there is no hiding place for a star, he surged on. Furthermore, the reward for hard work is more work, and on that premise, he was appointed the Sub-Dean of All Saints’ Cathedral Onitsha, second only to the Bishop on the Niger. In that capacity, he was very loyal to the Bishop. There is no doubt whatsoever that he exhibited high administrative acumen. His sophistication compelled him to bring the beauty of technology to bear on the daily worship of God. Members of the Cathedral congregation have never had it so good. In the area of worshipping God, he rekindled a new fire of genuine spirituality amongst the people of God in the Cathedral as against the prevailing spiritual “cosmetology” “peripheral worship” and before he answered call to higher responsibility many people had developed sincere interests to actively join the commission, mostly as ministers of the Gospel. Others who felt they had no such personage calling had had to channel their energy at appropriate quarters for the smooth running of the church and for pleasant worship. A greater number were singing, others played keyboards and the rest were busy in the equipment and tape ministry. They stood out because of their commitment, passion, and diligence. The more senior members were also touched the fire that many had opted in humility to serve as ordinary church ushers known in Anglican Communion as “Side men and Ladies”. It is important to note that majority of these groups do not belong to the class of the supposedly “poor”. They are lawyers of no mean standing, doctors of international acclaim, seasoned pharmacists, top civil servants, High Court Judges and successful business men. All Saints’ Cathedral became a reservoir of willing men and women who use their time energy and resources in the service of God. What is more? Giving was taken to an acceptable level through preaching and teachings on the implications of tithing, making the sub-deanry a large pool of resources. A genuine child of God, Owen does not hesitate to allow priests under him manifest to the fullest of their spiritual gifts. He is a generous giver that today it is no longer uncommon to hear that he runs a charity home. One can really say that much of what he did stemmed is inmate generosity. Space would not be enough to enumerate his achievements in the area of erecting structures. A lover of good things, his achievements in that direction are there for everybody to see standing as immutable truth and faithful testimony of his commitment to duty. Bishop Owen Nwokolo has served as a member of many boards and committee which includes; the Niger Diocesan Boards, Christian Council of Nigeria, Church of Nigeria Standing Committee, Province of the Niger Council and the Church of Nigeria General Synod. He has attended several courses both home and abroad, especially the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), Jerusalem in 2008. Despite his busy schedule, Owen is still a consummate writer and publisher. Some of his research work include, Paul’s understanding of liberty in Christ, The role of the Church in the political crises in Anambra state, building business: the spiritual angle, the effect of tithing and the pastor and his ministry. He is an author of the books “Parenting in the Old Testament: Lessons for Contemporary Nigerian Society and “Maintaining Godly focus: Standing out from a confused generation”. He is a member of the Association of Professional Negotiators and Mediator and has bagged is Ph.D in Old Testament Studies from University of Nigeria. In December 2010, he was appointed a Justice of Peace by the Anambra state government. Owen Nwokolo had also worked in the Niger Diocese as Deputy Secretary. He served on the Niger Mass Media Committee; he was tutor, Diocesan Church Centre Nnewi. Editor Daily life under God devotional, Lecturer Diocese on the Niger training unit, Editor-in-Chief, Niger Christian Times Newspaper. Presently, he is the chairman of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) Anambra State Chapter. Owen is a man ahead of his time. He has travelled far and wide and well exposed to contemporary realities. Everything surrounding him is so wafted by the strange hand of providence. Bishop Owen is married to Dr. (Mrs) Elsie Nnoyelum Nwokolo, a very experienced pharmacist who had an exposure in many federal owned health care institutions. Acciording to the bishop, “much of what he has achieved in life would not have been possible without this mother in Israel. They are married with children.
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