Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, and former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan has been named a Cardinal by Pope Benedict the 16th.
He is among the six elevated to that position by the Catholic Pontiff.
The others are from Lebanon, India, Colombia, the Philippines and the United States. All six are said to be eligible under the church law to enter a conclave that will one day choose Pope Benedict’s successor.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated Bishop Onaiyekan on the elevation to the rank of Cardinal, noting that Nigeria now has three members of the college of Catholic Cardinals.
The president prayed God to grant Archbishop Onaiyekan continued good health, strength, wisdom and divine guidance he will require to discharge his new responsibilities to the glory of God and his fatherland.
Archbishop Onaiyekan will join fellow Nigerians – Francis Cardinal Arinze and Anthony Cardinal Okogie in the Catholic College of Cardinals.
Onaiyekan, was recently on the list of nominees shortlisted for the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.
Onaiyekan hails from Kabba, Kogi State. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Kabba from 1949 until 1956, Mount St. Michael’s Secondary School in Aliade, Benue State from 1957 until 1962, and Ss. Peter & Paul Major Seminary in Bodija, Ibadan from 1963 until 1965. He completed his religious studies in Rome in 1969, and was ordained as a priest on August 3 of that year.
He was formerly Bishop of Ilorin, President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria and the Christian Association of Nigeria respectively.