|Cardinal, Archbishop of Abuja|
|Appointed||7 July 1990 (Coadjutor)|
|Installed||28 September 1992|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of San Saturnino|
|Ordination||3 August 1969
by Auguste Delisle CSSp
|Consecration||6 January 1983
by Pope John Paul II
|Created Cardinal||24 November 2012
by Pope Benedict XVI
|Birth name||John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan|
29 January 1944 |
|Coat of arms|
John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan[pronunciation?] (born 29 January 1944) is a Nigerian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He has been Archbishop of Abuja since 1994 and was made a Cardinal in 2012. He has served as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria and Bishop of Ilorin.
Education and early career
Onaiyekan was born 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 by Bishop Auguste Delisle of Ilorin. 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 completed 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 consecrated as Auxiliary Bishop of Ilorin, Kwara State, and titular bishop of Thunusuda on 6 January 1983 by Pope John Paul II. He became Bishop of Ilorin in 1984. In 1990 he was named Coadjutor Bishop of the Abuja. When that diocese became an Archdiocese on 26 March 1994, Onaiyekan became its first archbishop.
During the administration of Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and especially during his second term between 2004 and 2007, Onaiyekan spoke out against the regime for its failure to support democratic principles and its corruption. Speaking in a service in his cathedral in 2005 with the president in attendance, he called on Obasanjo to resist the temptation to stand for a third term, which the Nigerian constitution did not allow, and asked him to "resist the deadly temptation to want to remain in power perpetually by hook or by crook". His stance was credited with saving Nigeria from the imposition of a dictatorship. He was named Pax Christi International's 2012 Peace Laureate.
On 31 January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Onaiyekan a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and a member of the Presidential Committee of the Pontifical Council for the Family. He can hold these positions until his 80th birthday.
Pope Francis appointed him to a five-year renewable term as a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in October 2016.
He won the election for the position of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President on 19 June 2007 with 72 votes over Anglican Primate Peter Akinola who had 33 votes. In 2010 he was succeeded by Ayo Oritsejafor.
- "The Priesthood in Pre-monarchial Ancient Israel and among the Owe-Yoruba of Kabba: A Comparative Study", unpublished dissertation (1976)
- "The shariah in Nigeria: a Christian view", Bulletin on Islam & Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (1987)
- "Archbishop's Page". Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Kukah, Matthew Hassan (23 March 2003). "Peace in a Time of War". Thisday online. Leaders & Company. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Allen Jr., John L. (26 November 2012). "Vatican consistory creating six cardinals packs global punch". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
- "Archbishop Onaiyekan is 2012 Pax Christi peace laureate". Vatican News Service. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
- "Rinunce e nomine". press.vatican.va. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- "Onaiyekan is new CAN president". CBCN.org. Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria. 19 June 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2007.
- "Okoh Emerges CAN Vice-President. He was succeeded by Pastor Ayo Orisajfor". Daily Champion. AllAfrica Global Media. 30 July 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
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|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Ilorin
20 October 1984 – 7 July 1990
|Archbishop of Abuja
26 March 1994–present
|President of the Christian Association of Nigeria
19 June 2007 – 5 July 2010