FCT, Abuja - Reverend Dr Udochi Odikanwa is a pastor, not an academic; he doesn’t teach in any university. He has, however, over the last few years, bagged many degrees that even a prolific academic will be jealous of.
On Friday, February 25, Odikanwa, the founder/general overseer of the Restoration Life Assembly Int'l, bagged a PhD in Educational Psychology at the University of Abuja.
That was his second PhD; he had earlier got a PhD in Humanities, according to the information on his church’s website.
Pastor Odikanwa attended Holy Ghost college Owerri, Premier Secondary School Owerri, Imo state, University of Abuja, Pan African Christian Theological University, African Independent Theological Seminary, Abuja amongst other higher Institutions of learning where he obtained a Bachelor of Sociology (B.Sc), Masters Degree in Educational Psychology (M.Ed), Doctorate degree in Theology (Th.D), and Doctorate degree in Humanities (PhD).
He is also an associate member of the American Psychological Association (APA), member of the Nigerian Psychological Association (NPA) and the Nigerian Council of Educational Psychologists (NCEP).
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Why I took another degree - Pastor Odikanwa
Shortly before his PhD convocation at the University of Abuja, I had an email conversation with Pastor Odikanwa where I asked him: why all these academic degrees/ Why educational psychology?
Responding, he first quotes one of Nelson Mandela’s most popular quotations:
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
He follows the late former South Africa's president’s quote with another popular one attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
After the two quotes, Pastor Odikanwa moves on to answer the question:
“I choose to have another degree in educational psychology because I love psychology and its interest in education.
“I have that passion for education because I believe that it teaches one to think intensively and to think critically.
“Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. Education changes a person's life and world.”
He adds that part of his reason for taking another degree specifically in educational psychology is to help the growth of education in Nigeria and other nations. He also speaks on his love for educational psychology as a course.
“I specifically love educational psychology because it’s of two combinations; educational psychology being the mother of all psychology. It is my interest to go higher in problem-solving from different fonts. I love Education and I believe it’s the key to broad knowledge," the cleric tells Legit.ng.
12-year-old preacher: Rev Odikanwa's little beginning
Apart from his voracious interest in academic pursuits, I found something else interesting about Pastor Odikanwa; he started preaching at the age of 12.
In Nigeria, 12-year-old children are usually at the junior secondary school level. But 12-year-old Odikanwa was already combining preaching with his education at that age. So, I asked him; how did he start preaching at such an age?
As usual, his response starts with a quote; this time from the Bible:
“John 9:4, " I must work the work of he that sent me, while it is day for the night cometh when no man can work".
Reverend Odikanwa clarifies that he started preaching at age 12 not as a pastor but as a believer who was so “passionate about walking with God and winning souls for him, taking souls from darkness to light.”
“I must say it wasn't so difficult and that was because I have the help of the Holy spirit but in the face of it all, there were lots challenges that would warrant giving up but when I remember that I have a prize to get and the promise of God towards me, "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ... Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken”, he says.
Pastor Odikanwa says he was encouraged by the Biblical verse, Psalms 55:22, which reads:
"Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand".
From that 12-year-old preacher, Pastor Odikanwa shares with Legit.ng how he moved through different ranks till he became the general overseer of "one of the fastest-growing Pentecostal churches both in Nigeria and beyond".
“I get encouraged by this verse of the Bible. While growing up I was given the name, "pastor" by my teachers, friends, mates etc. I would pray for the sick and by the power of Jesus they get healed, I was later called to serve as a pastor.
“I was pastoring under my Spiritual father, ' late Arch Bishop Ezeigo ' and from there I was transferred to Abuja to open a branch church, after I did that for some while, God told me that it was time to open a church, "restoration life assembly " wasn't the name I had in mind but as God would have it, he instructed me to give the church Restoration life assembly as the name. The growth of the church has all been God.”
Nigerian pastor gifts female church worker a brand new car
In another report, a female church worker has been rewarded with a car gift by a pastor for her diligent service.
Footage of the car gift award was shared on Instagram. The pastor identified as Iren of D'Podium Centre in Lagos surprised the hardworking church worker during a service.
Pastor Iren called out the lady's family to the altar and announced the car gift which he said was from the church.