The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio has praised the emeritus Catholic Arch-Bishop, His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan for his remarkable life and service as a true icon of faith and leadership, whose unwavering commitment to justice, compassion and unity has touched countless lives and inspired generations.
Senator Akpabio made the remarks as the Chairman of the 80th birthday celebration of the Cardinal in Abuja on Thursday, describing him as a man of unfaltering faith and unfluctuating dedication, who became a beacon of hope, guiding his flock with love, compassion, and unwavering integrity.
Cardinal Onaiyekan was the Archbishop of Abuja from 1994 to 2019 and also served as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, and Bishop of Ilorin.
According to Senator Akpabio, “As we reflect upon the extraordinary journey of His Eminence, we are reminded of the power of resilience and determination. Born into humble beginnings, he rose above adversity and embraced the call to serve a higher purpose.
“In the face of injustice, he has been a tireless advocate for the marginalized and the voiceless. His Eminence has taught us that true leadership lies not in the pursuit of power, but in the relentless pursuit of justice and the untiring commitment to uplifting the most vulnerable among us.
“Beyond his religious leadership, Cardinal Onaiyekan has also been a champion for interfaith dialogue and understanding. In a world often divided by religious differences, he has tirelessly worked to build bridges of understanding and foster a spirit of unity among all faiths. His Eminence’s life is a proof that true faith is not a source of division, but a powerful force that can bring togetherness in our shared pursuit of a better world,” he said.
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon while welcoming the Archbishop emeritus to the club of over 80, described Cardinal Onaiyekan as an exceptional religious leader and a man of faith who has worked tirelessly for inter faith unity of the country and wished him many more years in good health.
A book titled “Religion for Peace” was also presented as part of the activities to mark the birthday celebration. The birthday celebration attracted religious leaders, past and serving politicians, traditional rulers and business moguls.