John Cardinal Onaiyekan
John Cardinal Onaiyekan
John Cardinal Onaiyekan is the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja He was previously President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria and Bishop of Ilorin
Onaiyekan was born on 29 January 1944) in the town of Kabba, in what is now Kogi State, to Bartholomew and Joann Onaiyekan. 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 3 August of that year. Ahmadu Bello, Premier of Nigeria's Northern Region, had offered him a scholarship to study abroad.
Onaiyekan taught at St. Kizito's College, Isanlu in 1969. He became rector of St. Clement Junior Seminary in Lokoja in 1971. He finished his Licentiate of Sacred Scripture in 1973 and earned his doctorate in 1976. He became Vice Rector of Ss. Peter & Paul in 1977
Onaiyekan was ordained as bishop on 6 January 1983, and became the Bishop of Ilorin, Kwara State. In 1990 he became Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Abuja, and when the diocese became a Metropolitan See in 1994, John Onaiyekan became the Metropolitan of Abuja.
Onaiyekan was elected to the position of Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in 1994, and President of that organization in 2000.
On Tuesday, 18 September 2012, Archbishop Onaiyekan was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as one of the papally-appointed Synod Fathers for the upcoming October 2012 Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.
He was appointed a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in a consistory on 24 November 2012. On Thursday, 31 January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Onaiyekan as a Member of the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
Cardinal Onaiyekan was appointed by Pope Francis as the Apostolic Administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the diocese of Ahiara Mbaise in Imo State, Nigeria on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.
Cardinal Onaiyekan has played a major role in the peaceful co-existence of Christians and Muslims in Abuja and Nigeria as a whole. He has also contributed in building the church in Abuja.