Thursday, 25 October 2012

Archbishop John N. Onaiyekan Nigeria's 4th Cardinal

• Jonathan, CAN, others laud cleric
IT was 43 years ago that he was ordained.  He has had an illustrious ecclesiastical career since then. It is   distinguished by diligence and exemplary commitment to excellence.  Enter Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan who became a cardinal in the Catholic Church yesterday.
He is among six cardinals whom Pope Benedict XVI announced in a surprise pronouncement at the Vatican in Rome.  Others are from Lebanon, the Philippines, Colombia, India and the United States, a clear departure from previous appointments that had largely tilted towards Italy and the rest of Europe.
Earlier this month, Onaiyekan and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, were short-listed for a Nobel Peace Prize.
With the current development, Onaiyekan is now the fourth cardinal in the Catholic Church in Nigeria.  The other three before him were Dominic Cardinal Ignatius Ekadem, Francis Cardinal Arinze and Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie.

His elevation has been well-received in Nigeria. From President Goodluck Jonathan to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and the Prelate, Methodist Church, Nigeria, His Eminence Sunday Ola Makinde came commendations.
Jonathan noted in a statement by his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, that “with Bishop Onaiyekan’s elevation, Nigeria now has three members of the most eminent and distinguished College of Catholic Cardinals. He welcomes this as an indication by the Vatican of its continuing recognition of the immense contributions of the Church in Nigeria to the Worldwide Catholic Movement. President Jonathan prays that God Almighty will grant Bishop Onaiyekan continued good health and the strength, wisdom and Divine Guidance he will require to discharge his new responsibilities to the Glory of God and his fatherland. He wishes him a very successful tenure as cardinal.”
The Archbishop of Lagos His Grace, Most. Revd Alfred Adewale Martins in his reaction said that Onaiyekan’s appointment was in recognition of Nigeria as a major part of the life of the universal church. He said that the individual’s recognition was an asset to the church and to Nigeria.

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