Cardinal Onaiyekan retires, pledges support to the church

By Ukamaka Okafor, Abuja



The outgoing Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has pledged to continuously support the church and the country whenever the need arises.

Speaking at a World Conference as part of activities celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the Abuja Ecclesiastical Province and the Installation of the new Archbishop, the Cardinal said that his retirement does not translate to being absent or tired.

Onaiyekan expressed his continued commitment to the church, national development, charity works and inters- religious dialogue

Obviously, I have a very passionate love for the Archdiocese of Abuja, I will do all I can to support his work so that the work that God has been doing will continue to grow” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the new Archbishop of the Arch Diocese, Dr Ignatius Kaigama said he would collaborate with Nigerians to promote social Justice and the fight against corruption in the country.

Dr Kaigama pledged the church’s readiness to work with the Nigerian government in addressing the numerous ills in the society.

 “I work with people at the grassroots and I know the effect of corruption, and if there wasn’t corruption, there will be equitable distribution of resources and people would be living well above the poverty line. I look forward to great collaboration and support; we should all be co-responsible from the children, the teenagers, the youths and men and women of all sundry, there is need to team up how we can make it” he said.

Archbishop Kaigama also said he will continue to project humanitarian services rendered by the church for the progress of Nigeria.”

We are the hope of Nigeria, so much has gone wrong and we cannot sit and say our job is saying prayers; we have to go beyond prayers. Faith and action go together, so let’s help mobilize our people, even beyond the catholic fold, let’s integrate to work  genuinely for the progress of Nigeria and happiness of our people” he added.

Until his recent appointment by Pope Francis in February this year, Archbishop Kaigama was the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Plateau state. His appointment preceded the canonical retirement of His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan.

Born in 31st July, 1958 in Kona, Diocese of Jalingo Nigeria,  the new Archbishop studied Theology at St Augustine Major Seminary, Jos.

He was ordained a priest in June 6, 1981 for the Diocese of Yola. In 1991, he bagged doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.