The immediate-past President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria and former Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Kaigama, has been appointed as the new Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja following the retirement of Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
In circular issued by the Chancellor of Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Rev. Fr. Sebastian Musa yesterday, the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis had accepted Onaiyekan’s retirement adding that Kaigama’s appointment was with “immediate effect.”
The memo addressed to the clergy, religious and lay faithful was entitled, ‘Retirement and appointment’ stated: “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, peace of the Lord be with you. The Holy Father, Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of His Eminence, John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan as Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja and has appointed Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama as Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja with effect from this announcement.
“May I humbly request that you kindly remember in your prayers our Archbishop Emeritus, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, May God in His Love, mercy continue to guide and bless our archbishops and the diocese.”
Onaiyekan was born in Kabba, in what is now Kogi State, to Bartholomew and Joann Onaiyekan.
He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Kabba from 1949 till 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.
The cleric completed his religious studies in Rome in 1969 and was ordained as a priest on August 3 of that year by Bishop Auguste Delisle of Ilorin.