The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has congratulated the Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, His Eminence Peter Cardinal Okpaleke who canonically received the Red Hat from His Holiness, Pope Francis, at a Consistory in Rome, on Saturday.
In his congratulatory message to Cardinal Okpaleke, Obi described him as a huge blessing to, not just the church in Nigeria, but the universal church.
Obi stated that Okpaleke’s virtues of patience, understanding, and wide perspectives on issues remain some of the valuable assets that has continued to propel him in his priestly vocation.
“By this ecclesiastical function, you have thus become a fully fledged Prince of the Universal Church,” Obi noted.
Obi praised the Okpaleke’s exemplary conduct both as teacher, priest, administrator and bishop, saying that he has gathered great experiences to help him in his new office.
Obi said, “Your priestly vocation has thus far been defined by exemplary conduct, deep spirituality and the admirable quality of allowing Gods purpose to unfold in your life. Your maturity and circumspection in crisis management are apposite for any higher managerial responsibility.
“With your rich background in relating with people and building institutions, we have no doubt that you will bring your vast knowledge and experience to bear in your new position as a Cardinal, which has effectively placed you in the first position among active clergies of the country.”
Addressing journalists after the event at St Peter’s Basilica Rome, Obi said that he was happy with the number of Nigerians, cutting across regions and religions, who came to identify with another Nigerian on a great occasion. He said that such spirit of love and unity is very characteristic of Nigerians. Obi said that such spirit of oneness, which transcends tribe, is highly needed in Nigeria’s political space, especially now the country had been badly wounded by collective effect of bad leadership.
He prayed God to continue to bless the cleric and give him more wisdom to continue to shepherd the flock placed under his care.
The Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, also expressed joy that one of the newly Cardinal is a Nigerian and from Anambra specifically.
He said that he is worthy of emulation, especially now the state was set to regain its pride of place.