Dr. Mike Okonkwo was born in Enugu on September 6, 1945 to the family of Pa and Ma Okonkwo of Ogbunike in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State. He started his primary education at Salvation Army Primary School Enugu, but later moved to Ijero Baptist Primary School in Ebute Metta, Lagos.
He however completed his primary education at St. Marks Primary School, Offa in Kwara State. He started his secondary education at Mayflower College, Ikenne and completed it at Merchants of Light Grammar School, Oba Anambra State in 1963. Dr. Mike Okonkwo joined the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1964 where he worked only for 3 months before crossing over to the banking industry with African Continental Bank (ACB) with the mind of making a career in banking. A pioneer member of staff of the Martins street branch, Lagos from 1964 to 1966, Dr. Mike Okonkwo was deployed to the eastern branch of ACB during the civil war, which eventually interrupted his banking career. During the war, he underwent the military training but had no opportunity to practice what he had learnt because the war ended the very night he was deployed to the warfront. After the war, he continued with his banking career at the Ogbete road branch of ACB where he was a pioneer staff.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo had an encounter with Jesus in November 1970 and for the 1st time, he started attending Church services regularly in the United Church of Christ, (UCC) which has her headquarters in Enugu. He was ordained into the ministry in 1971. He took up his first pastoral responsibility in Lagos in November 1972 with UCC. He was released as an Evangelist on the 20th of June 1976 and was instrumental in establishing most branches of the Church in Lagos.
He served faithfully in UCC under the leadership of Late Apostle Samuel Egbo from 1971 to 1980. The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM was founded on the 4th of January, 1981.
In 1980, Dr. Mike Okonkwo received a certificate of license from International Deliverance Churches, Dallas, Texas. In 1981, he graduated with a diploma degree from the Morris Cerullo School of Ministry, San Diego, California, USA. By 1982, he earned diploma with International Bible Institute and Seminary, Orlando, Florida. The same year, he bagged a Bachelor of Bible Theology in the same university. The Covington Theological Seminary, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, USA, because of his many tears of ministry, gave him a waiver for Masters Degree. He then proceeded with his Doctorate degree program in Divinity which he successfully completed and was conferred with Doctor of Divinity degree with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto. In 1984, the Board of Directors of International Bible Institute, Orlando, Florida, USA, upon recommendation by the Faculty conferred on him a Doctor of Letters Degree. In 1987, the United Christian International Bible Institute, Cleveland, Tennessee, USA awarded him a Doctor of Divinity certificate.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo is a holder of the ordination certificate and the certificate of fellowship of World Ministry Fellowship Shreveport, Louisiana, USA. He is also a holder of ordination certificate from the National Christian Fellowship Conference, (NCFC) USA, the Church of God Mission International Nigeria, United Christian Church & Ministerial Association, USA. Dr. Mike Okonkwo is a holder of Meritorious Achievement Award from the International Affairs Leadership Parliament, by the Golden State University, University of Honolulu, Ephraim Moore University, International Theological Seminary, Spiritual Life Ministries, all in USA and the Trinity College of Ministerial Arts in Nigeria.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo was awarded the prestigious Scenic Center of the South Certificate by the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee USA, in 1989. The Faith Christian Fellowship International Church Incorporated, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, through his able leadership extended the right hand of fellowship by awarding an Associate Church Certificate to TREM. In 1997, Bishop Mike and Dr. Peace Okonkwo had the honour of having their names inscribed on the Jerusalem 3000 scroll number 6571 and is thus recorded in the history of Jerusalem with a certificate awarded thereby. Dr. Mike Okonkwo was consecrated the Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) on the 7th of May 1988.
On the home front, Dr. Mike Okonkwo is a member of the founding fathers of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), the 1st National Secretary General and the immediate past National President of the PFN. He is the current Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as well as an executive member of the National Ministers Conference (NMC) which organises conferences for ministers around the country. He also the Founder of The Mike Okonkwo Foundation, an NGO setup to minister to the needs of the less privileged.
He is a preacher and a teacher in great demand around the world for Seminars, Conferences, Crusades, Conventions and ministers’ training. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Arlington Church, Arlington, USA. He is the Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM). He is the Chief Host of the popular Television and Radio network in Nigeria, Power in the Word.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo is a man of integrity and emphasises integrity in the Word of God. This has endeared him to many ministries who look up to him for Apostolic Covering. Though he is quick to correct, he never ceases to encourage them to celebrate where they are and challenge them to rise up to their God given potentials and be all that God intends them to be.
A first encounter with Bishop Mike (as he is fondly called) gives you an impression of a stern disciplinarian, however, on a closer note, you will discover a man easily touched by the feeling of the people and thus has become a man of prayer. In the words of a friend and an associate in ministry, “My first encounter with Bishop Okonkwo was greater than my mind could conceive. How did this man have such power in his life that even as he spoke you would shake under the power of God? Then came the opportunity for him to visit my church and stay in my home, I found the key to his power – PRAYER. Many times as I would rise early to draw aside with the Lord, I would find that someone had preceded me at the throne. That someone? Bishop Mike Okonkwo” Thus he spends hours on his knees praying for the flock over which God has made him the Overseer. His long hours of prayer and fasting have brought forth testimonies that have beaten the imagination of the learned.
He is an easy going man who loves music and sports and goes out of his way to encourage good music in the church, no wonder his church has what has been rightly tagged “the best choir in the whole world”. He also believes in keeping fit as the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and he encourages Pastors to engage in physical exercises in spite of their very busy schedules.
Dr. Mike Okonkwo has authored several books in English, out of which, two have been translated into French. He is a widely travelled man, who has gone far and wide for the spread of the gospel. In spite of his numerous trips outside the shores of Africa, he believes in rural evangelism and encourages smaller churches located in the less privileged communities, financially and materially. He also believes and encourages special talents in individuals who are specially gifted in ministering to the orphan and the disabled, hence he has been a strong support to different ministries to the handicapped, motherless babies home and orphanages. This has earned him several awards.
He is married to Dr. Peace Okonkwo, the Minister in Charge of the Headquarters Church of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) and they are blessed with a daughter, Uche.