Following the appointment of Bishop Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia Diocese, Anambra State, as a Cardinal in the Catholic Church by Pope Francis, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday sent a congratulatory message.
In a statement titled ‘President Buhari welcomes the appointment of Bishop Okpaleke as 4th cardinal from Nigeria.’ and signed late Wednesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari commended the Pope for finding a capable Nigerian in the person of Bishop Okpaleke to be one of the two nominees from the African continent.
According to Shehu, President Buhari also “congratulated the Nigerian Christian Community on this choice, describing the Cardinal-designate as ably qualified, and that having him in that position will benefit the country.”
The statement partly read, “The President also commended the commitment of the Catholic Church to the unity, peace, and progress of the Nigerian state. He also highlighted the effort of the Church in combating the COVID-19 pandemic as well as its support and commitment in favour of the poor and most vulnerable members of the society.”
Bishop Okpaleke becomes the fourth Cardinal from Nigeria. Others before him are Francis Arinze, Anthony Okogie and John Onaiyekan. He is among the 21 new Cardinals Pope Francis announced on May 29.