Most Rev. Martins installed as Archbishop of Lagos
Most Rev. Martins Adewale will be the fourth Catholic Archbishop of Lagos and he succeeded His Eminence, Dr. Olubunmi Anthony Cardinal Okogie, who presided over Metropolitan of Lagos for 39 years.
It is seen as a thing of joy in the Catholic community as views of the Christian section was taken and this ceremony was described as part of the Catholic tradition that is being treated with high esteem.
Rev. Martin’s predecessor, Cardinal Okogie left the office on August the 1st as he has attained the bishopric retirement age of 75 last year and by the authority of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI the new Archbishop Most Adewale Martins step into the office.
In his 39-year reign as the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Okogie brought great development to the Church and the larger community.
The ceremony which took place at the Holy Cross Cathedral in a Pontifical High Mass was presided over by the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Kasuija at a solemn event witnessed by representatives of the Vatican, Nigerian government officials, distinguished Nigerians and the Catholic faithful from across the country and beyond.
Until his elevation, Martins was the Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese that was carved out of the old Archdiocese of Lagos in November 1997. He was installed on January 24, 1998 and grew the diocese from nine parishes to over 30 today.
Born on Monday the 1st of June 1959 by parents Gregory Obasola and Victoria Oluremi Martins who were both teachers from Ake and Ijemo in Abeokuta South Local Council of Ogun State, he was the third child and second son of the family.
He began his primary education at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Mission School, Itesi Abeokuta and on completion, went to St. Theresa Minor Seminary, Oke-Are, Ibadan, for his secondary education from 1971 to 1976.
At the end of his formation in the minor seminary, he was convinced of his call to priestly life and service and so, he signified his intention to continue the programme of formation for the priesthood in the major seminary under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Lagos. He was therefore admitted to the Seminary of SS. Peter and Paul, Bodija, Ibadan in 1976.
He had a Diploma in Religious Studies from the University of Ibadan in 1978 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome in 1983, with First Class honours.
He was ordained a deacon at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos in December 1982 with seven of his classmates popularly known as “The Class of Eight” by then Bishop Okogie. Again, the Eight were ordained priests on September 18, 1983 at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos.
As a priest, Martins worked as an Assistant Administrator at Holy Cross Cathedral from October 1983 to August 1984 and was later transferred to St. Gregory College, where he worked as a teacher and chaplain from September 1984 to September 1986. During this period, he also doubled as the priest-in-charge of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Maroko as well as chaplain to Holy Child College.
Martins’ flair for teaching, which he inherited from his parents and enjoyed as a hobby, took him to his next posting, SS. Peter and Paul Major Seminary to assist in the formation of future priests where he was appointed Graduate Assistant in September 1986, in the Department of Philosophy.
He was promoted Lecturer in 1988 after obtaining a Masters’ Degree in Philosophy at the University of Ibadan. At the Seminary, he held several positions of responsibilities including Bursar, Registrar and was Secretary, Appointments and Promotions Committee from 1994 to 1996.
Still on pursuit of knowledge, Martins went to University of St. Andrews’ in Scotland where he also obtained a Master of Letters’ Degree in Philosophy in 1997. Thereafter, he enrolled for a Doctorate Degree programme in the University of Edinburgh and had submitted his proposal when God’s call came to him again through the appointment by the Holy See as the first Bishop of the newly created Diocese of Abeokuta, which was excised from the old Archdiocese of Lagos by the Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II.