By the time the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Joseph Daramola, would announce the Most Rev. Daniel Chukwudumebi Okoh as the new President of the umbrella body of all Christians in the country, Christians knew the challenge ahead of the new leadership would be steering the body and its members through the coming general elections as a body and with one voice, irrespective of individual political views and sides.
What Christians in the country clamoured for, in the face of the current security challenges and systemic persecution (under the guise of ethnic clashes), is political leadership that would put an end to the terror targeted at Christian dominated communities across the country, most especially in the north.
His Eminence, Okoh, is the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church, also called Nation Builders (Odozi-Obodo). A Kano state-born indigene of Rivers state has through the platform of the gospel, built friendships across religious and ethnic lines both in Nigeria and across the world. His international exposure sprouted his involvements in conversations and programmes that would bring about peaceful co-existence and sustainable development among the peoples of the world.
Born on November 12, 1963, to Christian parents in Kano, a Muslim dominated state in the northern part of the country, he is a native of Ndoni in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria.
The Archbishop attended the famous Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha, Anambra State, and the University of Port-Harcourt where he graduated in 1988 with Second Class Upper Division in Political Science and Education.
Thereafter, he proceeded to the Christ Holy Church Seminary, Onitsha, and was awarded a diploma in Theology. Since then, he has undertaken many courses and participated in seminars that are relevant to his ministry work both in Nigeria and abroad.
As the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church International, an African Independent Church, he leads his denomination in ecumenical relations with other denominations in the body of Christ and engages with people of other religions in dialogue for peaceful co-existence and sustainable development.
For over two decades, the new CAN President has been actively involved in ecumenical relations and interfaith dialogue in and outside Nigeria. He was the International Chairman of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches; National President of OAIC (Nigeria Region) (2005 – 2014); National Vice-President of Christian Association of Nigeria (2007 – 2013); former member, Board of Directors of Inter-Faith HIV/AIDS Coalition of Nigeria; Member, Governing Council of Good News Theological College and Seminary Accra, Ghana; Member, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council; and Member of the Board of African Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace. He is also a board member of the Christian Solidarity Worldwide (Nigeria).
Between 2000 and 2003, he was the only African representative in the Steering Committee of the International Forum on Multicultural Ministry, which was initiated and sponsored by the Mission and Evangelism Team of the World Council of Churches.
During the National Political Reform Conference of 2005 that was organized by the Obasanjo-led administration, Archbishop Okoh was one of the six delegates that represented the Christian body.
From 2009 to 2011, Most Rev. Okoh served on the board of the National Orientation Agency as an Institutional representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
It is expected that the new leadership of CAN led by Okoh and his wide experiences in interfaith dialogues, will take measures to reduce existing religious tensions, especially between Christians and Muslims in the country.
He is married to Ngozi and they are blessed with four children.