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Meet The Only Four Nigerian Cardinals In Catholic Church History

Attaining the position of a cardinal which is next below the pope is no mean feat. These sets of people elect the pope, act as his principal counselors, and help in the governance of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world.

In the history of Nigeria, just four priests have been able to attain this enviable position. Here are they:

1.Dominic Ignatius Ekandem

Dominic Ignatius Ekandem,a native of Akwa Ibom State was born in 1917 and was the first West African indigenous Catholic Bishop

Ekandem attended a lot of Catholic seminaries before he became a priest. He was ordained on 7 December 1947,becoming the first priest from the old Calabar 

Afterwards, he was consecrated Bishop on 7th February 1954. After his ordination, he became the youngest in the episcopacy in Anglo-phone West Africa. In April 1976, he was installed a cardinal. He then became Ecclesiastical Superior of Abuja, and when Abuja became a diocese in 1989, he became its Archbishop .

His Eminence Dominic Cardinal Ignatius Ekandem, Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja died on November 24th 1995 at Garki, Abuja. He was buried on 2nd Dec. 1995 at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Garki Abuja.

2.Cardinal Francis Arinze

Born on November 1, 1932, at Eziowelle in eastern Nigeria, Cardinal Arinze was ordained a Catholic priest on November 23, 1958. He held various high positions in the Catholic Church of Nigeria and, later, in Rome and at age 51 on April 8, 1984, Cardinal Arinze was brought to Rome by Pope John Paul II and appointed Pro-Prefect of Interreligious Dialogue of the Roman Curia. On May 25, he was elevated to Cardinal status, becoming the second Nigerian to be appointed the position after Dominic Ignatius Ekandem who was made a cardinal in 1976.

At age 69, Cardinal Arinze was appointed Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Roman Curia, a position that he held until April 2, 2005, when he resigned.

In 2015, Cardinal Arinze became the first African and Nigerian Catholic Bishop and Cardinal to celebrate the episcopal golden jubilee when he marked his 20 years as a bishop and thirty years as a cardinal in the Roman Catholic ministry. Cardinal Arinze currently resides in Vatican.

3.Anthony Olubunmi Okogie

The former Archbishop of Lagos was born on the 16th of June 1936. He holds a licentiate in sacred theology, and had planned to study in Rome, but was called to Nigeria where he was a curate at the Holy Cross Cathedral.

Okogie was ordained priest on 11 December 1966 and was drafted into the Nigerian army, and served there as a chaplain.

Okojie was consecrated titular Bishop of Mascula and Auxiliary of Oyo state in 1971 and in 1973 named archbishop. Archbishop, Okogie was the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and, for 6 years, from 1994 to 2000, he headed the Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (BCN).

Anthony Olubunmi Okogie was proclaimed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 21 October 2003. During his cardinalate, Okogie was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that saw the emergence of Pope Benedict XVI.

The outspoken Archbishop of Lagos, retires at 76.

4.Cardinal John Onaiyekan

Onaiyekan was born in Kabba, Kogi State In 1944 .He was a former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and Bishop of Ilorin. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in a consistory on November, 24 2012.

As Cardinal-Priest, he was assigned the titular church of San Saturnino. On Thursday, January, 31 2013, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Onaiyekan to serve as a Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and as a Member of the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He will hold these memberships until his 80th birthday.

His Eminence John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan retired as the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja in 2019.

Content created and supplied by: Olufemi211 (via Opera News )

Abuja Akwa Ibom State Dominic Ignatius Ekandem Ignatius Ekandem Nigeria


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