The Labor Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, has congratulated the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Ekwulobia, His Eminence Peter Cardinal Okpaleke, who on Saturday received the Red Hat from His Holiness Pope Francis at a church council in Rome.
In his congratulatory message to Cardinal Okpaleke, Obi described him as a tremendous blessing to not only the Church in Nigeria, but the universal Church.
Obi stated that Okpaleke’s virtues of patience, understanding and broad perspectives on issues remain some of the valuable assets that have kept him afloat in his priestly vocation.
“Thus, through this ecclesiastical office, you have become a full-fledged Prince of the Universal Church,” Obi noted.
Obi praised Okpaleke’s exemplary behavior as a teacher, priest, administrator and bishop, saying he has had great experiences helping him in his new ministry.
Obi said, “Your priestly calling has thus far been defined by exemplary conduct, deep spirituality, and the admirable quality of letting God’s purpose unfold in your life. Your maturity and prudence in crisis management are appropriate for any senior managerial responsibilities.
“With your rich background in dealing with people and building institutions, we have no doubt that you will use your vast knowledge and experience in your new position as Cardinal, which has effectively placed you in the first position among active clerics of the country.”
Addressing journalists after the event at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Obi said he was pleased to see the number of Nigerians, across regions and religions, who came to identify with another Nigerian at a great opportunity. He said that such a spirit of love and unity is very characteristic of Nigerians. Obi said such a spirit of unity, transcending tribe, is much needed in Nigeria’s political space, especially now that the country had been badly injured by the collective effect of poor leadership.
He prayed to God to continue to bless the clergyman and give him more wisdom to continue tending the flock in his care.
The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, also expressed his joy that one of the new cardinals is a Nigerian and specifically from Anambra.
He said he is worthy of imitation, especially now that the state would regain its place of honor.