Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie Anthony Olubunmi Cardinal Okogie
Former Archbishop of Lagos, Nigeria
Cardinal Priest of Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel of Mostacciano
Jun 16, 1936
Oct 21, 2003
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English This is not the change they preached to us
Mar 02, 2017

By Sam Eyoboka

CATHOLIC Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos Archdiocese and Vanguard
English Archbishops eulogise Catholic Cardinal at 80
Jun 19, 2016
The cleric said that while Okogie was the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, the church in Nigeria witnessed growth and spread.


The Archbishop Emeritus of the Ibadan Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev. Felix Alaba Job, on Thursday described Anthony Cardinal Okogie as a dogged defender of the common man in the last 50 years of his priesthood.

Job said this in his homily at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos to celebrate the 80th birthday and 50 years of priestly ordination of Anthony Cardinal Okogie.

``Okogie was born and bred in Lafiaji, hence he was well groomed to fight whenever and wherever there was the need to fight for justice, the rights of the church and ordinary citizens.

``He stood the ground against governors and rulers and championed the cause of justice, equity and development.

``He was and still is in the forefront of the fight for good and holistic education of citizens and a fair wages for workers,’’ he said.

The cleric said that while Okogie was the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, the church in Nigeria witnessed growth and spread.

``As president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), he spoke clearly against political mismanagement of the country’s resources and politicians had to listen to him willingly or unwillingly,’’ he added.

The cleric urged Nigerians to turn to God, saying that Nigerians were God’s creation and there was hope for Nigerians, if they returned back to God.

The Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, said Okogie’s voice in the Nigeria church and nation was strongly prophetic, loud, clear and consistent and it contributed to saving Nigeria from the brink of collapse.

``His patriotic instinct and fearless confrontation on social issues helped to bring stability to this nation. His voice was a voice of hope and tranquility, his numerous qualities are unquantifiable.

``Okogie stood very frank on principles, even in those days facing the menacing and intimidating circle of military rulers whose dictatorial culture raped Nigeria for many years of the advantages of democratic governance,’’ he added.

Also speaking, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins, described Okogie as a man who has enjoyed uncommon favours from God.

``As we take a retrospective look at your ministry, we are moved by your consistent simplicity. You were able to discuss with poor people and make them to feel welcomed.

``You are able to dialogue with the wealthy with the same enthusiasm. We admire your prayer life and ascetic life for those of us who know you,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Anthony Cardinal Okogie was born on June 16, 1936 and was ordained as a Catholic priest on Dec. 11, 1966.

In 1971, he was ordained a titular Bishop of Mascula and an Auxiliary of Oyo, and in 1973 became an Archbishop.

He was proclaimed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II on Oct. 21, 2003; Okogie was one of the Cardinal electors who participated in the papal conclave of 2005 that selected Pope Benedict XVI.

He resigned on his attainment of the age limit of 75 years and the resignation was accepted on May 25, 2012.
English Don’t expect too much from Buhari, Cardinal Okogie tells Nigerians
May 12, 2015
The Catholic Archbishop Emeritus, Anthony Okogie, on Sunday urged Nigerians not to expect too much from the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, saying change is a gradual process.

May 10, 2015O

“Nigeria seems to be on a collision course with destiny and the hopes of many are hanging in the balance. I can understand the sense of urgency and expediency in the expectations of Nigerians,” he said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

“Yet sincerely, I think we are expecting too much too soon. Change will come but it will be gradual but surely.

“It will amount to putting the cart before the horse to expect radical revolution from the General.

“We must exercise patience and give him chance to deliver on his promises. What he needs more than anything is our support, cooperation, collaboration and goodwill,” he said.

The cleric urged Mr. Buhari to focus on providing quality governance on assuming office, and pay less attention to distractions.

He advised the President-elect to adhere to the blueprint and road-map of his party that had brought about growth and development in the states where they had been implemented.

“It is heartening to know that he has made anti-corruption campaign the meter of his administration.

“In order for this not to run out of steam, he must build institutions, both formal and informal, that will fight corruption and ensure Nigeria becomes a society of law abiding citizens.

“His transition team and board of advisers should shun the temptation to secure their selfish interest and come up with pragmatic action plan that will help the president-elect realise his goal,” he said.

The cleric said that the task ahead of the President-elect was enormous and appealed to him to explore available economic and social opportunities in rebuilding the nation.

“More than anything, the Gen. Buhari-led government must run an inclusive government of credible people with requisite competence that will ensure that no part of the country is left behind,’’ he said.

According to him, Buhari must do so bearing in mind the fact that he will preside over a nation that comprises people who voted for him, people who did not vote for him and people who did not vote at all.

“He must ensure that no group, class, gender or religion is discriminated against politically, economically, socially and infrastructurally.

“This is the watershed moment to break the walls of ethnicity, elitism and religious bigotry that has continued to polarise the fragile unity of our nation.

“He has a duty to turn the nation into a bridge in which every person, irrespective of his background and orientation, would see the state as a collaborator and an ally through which his dreams and ambitions can be realised,” he said.

The cleric assured the President-elect of continuous prayers and support where necessary.

“I reassure the President- elect of our prayers and spiritual solicitude, we look forward to seeing a President that will be the Nelson Mandela and the Le Kuan Yew of Nigeria.

“A President that will deliver the dividends of democracy, a President that will respect the rule of law and follow due processes in prosecuting his agenda.

“A President that will be a father to all Nigerians, irrespective of their colour, tongue, tribe, class or political party; a president who will be a statesman to the core.

“A President that will be a comfort of the afflicted, hope of the despondent and the symbol of unity of the divergent Nigeria. That is the President that Nigeria needs and deserves,’’ he said.
English Cardinal Okogie Warns Pastor Okotie: “Keep quiet or be disgraced”
Dec 30, 2013
A retired Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, has warned the Pastor of the Household of God Church International, Chris Okotie, against talking out of ignorance or else he will be disgraced.

The cardinal was reacting to the Okotie’s recent comment that “all Catholics will go to hell” in an interview with our correspondent.

Okotie, while criticising the Catholic Church in a sermon, had said the church was “a counterfeit church set up by Satan.” He also said Catholics “bow to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus’ body.”

Describing Catholic as “a counterfeit church set up by Satan,” Okotie said. “They (Catholics) are not Christians and have never been. They don’t know Jesus. They believe that when they eat bread on Sundays, they are eating the body of Jesus. It’s ritual,” he added.

Okogie, however, said it was wrong for the 55-year-old pastor to speak on what he knew little or nothing about.

He said, “It is always good to talk on what you know, not on what you do not know. The problem we have today is that a lot of people put their mouth in what does not concern them because they want people to know that they too are there; that they can be reckoned with.

“I don’t think that is the way to do things, no. I think the best thing is to always put your mouth where God puts it, if you don’t want to be disgraced.”

Okotie, who had divorced two wives, recently bought a 2014 Bespoke Edition of Rolls Royce Coupeto worth N120m to mark his 30 years as born-again Christian and 27 years as a pastor.

One of his aides said he had earlier spent N33m on a Range Rover Autobiography to mark a milestone of his ministry.

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English Nigeria: Poor Leadership Killing Nigeria, Says Cardinal Okogie
Jan 19, 2013

The former Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, has expressed concern over the inability of President Goodluck Jonathan and other leaders to provide purposeful leadership for the country.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Okogies also expressed concern over the jostle for power among Nigerian politicians.

He said on Sunday that their inordinate ambition was at the expense of the welfare of the citizenry.

The cleric said the continued neglect of the welfare of the majority of Nigerians by the nation's leaders might lead to further adverse consequences.

In a statement issued in Lagos, the Cardinal noted that elected political office holders have failed to provide Nigerians with basic needs of life in 2012.

He attributed the rate of kidnappings, corruption and insecurity in the country to "the dearth of purposeful leadership."

Okogie called on public office holders to devote more time to quality leadership and cease from intrigues and jostle for power over the 2015 general election.

"Nigeria is in dire state of disrepute. It appears there is no government presence at the three tiers and yet the nation's political leaders claim that all is well.

"Our youth are already being led astray, they are like sheep without shepherd and yet they are told that they are the leaders of tomorrow. How can they lead well if they are not given good examples to follow?

"Many of our schools have now become breeding grounds for all sorts of immorality. This is unacceptable," he said.

Okogie noted that the nation was richly blessed with human and natural resources.

He also stressed that it was imperative to harness these resources and provide the citizens with the necessary amenities.

"There is no justification for government's failure to provide its citizens with the basic amenities of life, such as good roads, affordable housing, constant power supply and gainful employment," he added.

The cleric prayed God to shower His blessings on and offer protection to Nigerian citizens, and for nation's lasting peace and unity in 2013.
Italian CRISTIANI PERSEGUITATI/ Card. Okogie (Nigeria): siamo pronti al martirio
Jan 25, 2012

“I cristiani nigeriani non si piegheranno di fronte al dictat dei terroristi di Boko Haram”. Ad affermarlo, nel corso di un’intervista a, è il cardinale Anthony Okogie, arcivescovo di Lagos. La setta islamica legata ad Al Qaeda ha dato un ultimatum ai cristiani, con cui si ordina loro di lasciare gli Stati del nord della federazione entro tre giorni o saranno tutti uccisi. Per il cardinal Okogie, “i terroristi di Boko Haram non hanno il diritto neppure di pensare certe cose, e non si rendono conto che il loro piano è destinato a fallire. Se davvero ci credono, provino prima a convincere i milioni di musulmani che vivono nel sud a maggioranza cristiana ad abbandonare le loro case per tornarsene al nord”. E aggiunge l’arcivescovo: “I cristiani nigeriani non hanno paura delle minacce di Boko Haram. Ci guida l’amore di Gesù Cristo, e se i kamikaze accettano di uccidersi per uno scopo sbagliato, noi cristiani siamo pronti a morire per un fine giusto”.

Cardinal Okogie, da dove nasce l’escalation del terrore in Nigeria?

Siamo tutti molto tristi per quanto è avvenuto in Nigeria alla vigilia di Natale, quando i terroristi di Boko Haram sono entrati in una chiesa e hanno gettato una bomba al suo interno. Altri attentati, avvenuti in altri punti del Paese, hanno stroncato numerose vite umane. E come se non bastasse, oggi sui quotidiani nazionali gli attivisti di Boko Haram hanno dichiarato che i cristiani devono abbandonare gli Stati settentrionali della Federazione.

Di fronte a questi eventi, qual è la reazione dei cristiani?

Stiamo già reagendo, e io l'ho fatto per primo intervenendo su diversi quotidiani e tv nazionali. Ho dichiarato pubblicamente che i terroristi di Boko Haram non hanno il diritto di fare certe affermazioni, dal momento che è stato Dio ad averci messi insieme in un’unica nazione, sotto un unico ombrello, in un’unica Nigeria. L’idea che negli Stati del Nord restino soltanto i musulmani è semplicemente una follia, perché in Nigeria esistono la libertà di culto e di movimento. Inoltre se osserviamo l’intera questione da un punto di vista corretto, gli Stati della Nigeria del Nord non sono musulmani. Esiste un buon numero di cittadini cristiani che vi abitano, e spesso sono i migliori. Questo vale per Kaduna, Jos, ma anche lo stesso Kano, la culla di Boko Haram. Che cosa pensano di fare i terroristi, ucciderli tutti?

Pensa che ci proveranno davvero?

Boko Haram non può avere successo, perché il loro piano è sbagliato. Non dimentichiamoci che nel sud della Nigeria, a maggioranza cristiana, vivono milioni di musulmani. I terroristi pensano davvero di riuscire a convincerli ad abbandonare le loro case per tornarsene al Nord?

Dopo le minacce di Boko Haram i cristiani nigeriani sono impauriti?

I cristiani nigeriani non hanno paura di nessuno, chi lo afferma si sbaglia, mi deve credere. Sono calmi e amano Gesù Cristo, che ci ha insegnato a non rispondere alla violenza con la violenza. Questo è il metodo con cui stanno affrontando quanto sta avvenendo. I cattolici del Nord sono pronti a sacrificare le loro stesse vite. Se i terroristi kamikaze di Boko Haram decidono di uccidersi per un fine sbagliato, anche noi cristiani siamo pronti a morire per un fine giusto.

Che cosa ne pensa del modo con cui il presidente Goodluck Jonathan sta gestendo la situazione?

Non penso che il presidente stia trattando il problema come andrebbe trattato. Il punto è che Boko Haram non è un movimento isolato, gode di un sistema di relazioni sulle quali le autorità federali dovrebbero indagare. Invece la polizia subito dopo gli attentati contro le chiese ha catturato alcuni terroristi, tra l’altro cogliendoli in flagrante, e subito dopo li ha liberati.

Cosa andava fatto invece?

Quello che hanno fatto gli Stati Uniti dopo aver catturato il nigeriano Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, che il 25 dicembre 2009 ha cercato di farsi esplodere su un aereo per Detroit con un attentato suicida. Gli americani, dopo averlo catturato, lo hanno curato per le ferite che si era procurato nell’esplosione mal riuscita, e ora lo stanno costringendo a rivelare il maggior numero di informazioni possibili. Anche il nostro governo dovrebbe fare lo stesso. Di recente per esempio si è scoperto il senatore Ali Ndume finanziava Boko Haram, ma le nostre autorità si sono guardate bene dall’interrogarlo.

Chi c’è realmente dietro a Boko Haram?

Finora gli sponsor nazionali e internazionali di Boko Haram sono rimasti del tutto segreti. Gli stessi leader musulmani in Nigeria hanno condannato i loro attacchi, anche se i terroristi sembrano appartenere a una setta islamica. Nessuno sa quindi chi li stia sponsorizzando, ovviamente con l’eccezione del senatore Ndume.

Dopo gli attentati alle chiese, anche alcune moschee sono state colpite. E’ stata una vendetta dei cristiani?

Assolutamente no. Tutti, e io per primo, sono convinti del fatto che sia stato lo stesso Boko Haram che in precedenza aveva attaccato le chiese.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, segretario dell’Action Congress of Nigeria, ha dichiarato che “se falliamo nella guerra contro il terrorismo, dovremo pagarne le conseguenze che potrebbero portare alla disintegrazione del Paese”. Che cosa ne pensa di queste dichiarazioni?

Non le condivido affatto. Alhaji Lai Mohammed è un politico, e parla come un politico. Io non credo invece che accadrà qualcosa nel Sud della Nigeria, dove l’influenza di Boko Haram è pari a zero. Alhaji Lai Mohammed fa queste affermazioni perché l’Action Congress of Nigeria è il partito d’opposizione nel Parlamento federale. Ma dovremmo essere molto, molto più prudenti, evitando di diffondere falsi allarmismi.

Come sono le relazioni tra cristiani e musulmani a Lagos?

Non esistono praticamente problemi, a Lagos viviamo di mutuo accordo e in modo normale. Cristiani e musulmani mangiano insieme, si sposano tra di loro, convivono insomma in modo pacifico.

Se le relazioni tra cristiani e musulmani sono normali, da dove nasce l’odio di Boko Haram?

Nel Sud della Nigeria Boko Haram non esiste, ma sta creando devastazioni solo nel Nord. Sono due situazioni molto diverse, e purtroppo quello che a Lagos è una realtà non sempre sembra possibile in altre città del Paese.
Italian Il Cardinale Okogie: “no alla banca islamica, perché parte di uno schema per soggiogare i cristiani”
Jul 10, 2011

Lagos (Agenzia Fides) - Il Cardinale Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Arcivescovo di Lagos, ha espresso la sua opposizione alla proposta del governo federale, attraverso la Central Bank of Nigeria, di approvare la costituzione di una banca islamica in Nigeria. In una dichiarazione firmata da Mons. Gabriel Osu, Direttore delle Comunicazioni Sociali dell’Arcidiocesi di Lagos, di cui è pervenuta copia all’Agenzia Fides, il Card. Okogie afferma che gli sforzi del Governatore della Banca Centrale, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, per ottenere l’approvazione della banca islamica, fanno parte di uno schema per trasformare la Nigeria in uno Stato islamico.
“Condanniamo questa operazione in tutti i suoi aspetti” afferma il comunicato. “Siamo contro l’operazione della banca islamica perché si tratta di un’altra deliberata mossa per soggiogare i cristiani della Nigeria. La Nigeria è uno Stato laico. Dobbiamo essere molto sensibili alle credenze religiose degli altri. Introdurre un sistema bancario islamico in Nigeria aggraverà ulteriormente la criminale tensione religiosa che è già alimentata dalla setta radicale islamica Boko Haram”:
“Abbiamo già otto banche in difficoltà nel Paese - conclude il comunicato del Cardinale Okogie -. La Banca Centrale della Nigeria dovrebbe concentrarsi maggiormente su come rimetterle in sesto piuttosto che disperdere energie in un progetto come la banca islamica”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 1/7/2011)
English Cardinal Okogie ordains 7 new priests
Jun 25, 2011

Lagos – Seven Catholic priests were on Saturday ordained by Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, the Archbishop of Lagos.

In accordance with the catholic doctrine, the new priests took oaths of celibacy, spirituality,

obedience and service to Jesus before a capacity crowd at St. Dominc’s Catholic Church, Yaba.

Those ordained were: Rev. Fr. Peter Ayangbola, Rev. Fr. Lawrence Ayonote, Rev. Fr. Julian Egwuatu, Rev. Fr. Simon Okelezo, Rev. Fr. Sylvester Oladunjoye; Rev. Fr. Kingsley Oristseweyimi and Rev. Fr. Fidelis Umole.

In the homily (sermon), Rev. Fr. Anthony Obadinor, Parish Priest, Holy Family, Festac Town, urged the priests to be tolerant in their priesthood.

He further encouraged them to be submissive, faithful and supportive of the bishop.

“Priests should express an enduring spirit to face challenges. As young priests, do well to follow instructions and do not listen to strangers.

“You need not allow temptations, all at the expense of your bishop’s instructions. Priesthood is a work of co-responsibility.

“Each role of the priests and bishops complement the other,” he said.

Obadinor also stressed the need for the priests to be modest in their appearances, prayerful and above all, humble in their service to God and humanity.

Rev. Fr. Marcel Amadi, Secretary, Catholic Archdiocese, Lagos, who also spoke at the event, described a priest as “a mediator, who represents the people of God’’.

“He presents himself as the representative of another; he prepares a way by which people can approach God.”

He said that priests were men of prayer and that their spiritual lives should entail regular confession, which would help them to avoid distraction from the “way, the truth and the life”.

“His spiritual life must entail monthly spiritual recollection which helps to keep him in tune with Christ, in spite of heavy pastoral engagements,” Amadi added.

The Cardinal, in ordaining the new priests, laid his hands on them and prayed God to “support them with your unfailing love’’.

The new priests wore their stoles and were vested with chasubles, while their palms were anointed by the cardinal, who by doctrine, gave them “a kiss of peace’’.

Some of the new priests expressed joy at being ordained.

Rev. Fr. Fidelis Umole said: “I was inspired and called first by God and the unique thing about priesthood is service to God and humanity.”

He urged the youth to emulate priests, shun violence of any form, and cultivate a live of prayers.

“The youth are the future of Nigeria. They need to be trained now to be better tomorrow,” Umole said.

His colleague, Rev. Fr. Julian Egwuatu advised the youth to dedicate their lives to God.

“As a youth or an adult, you cannot live without God. You must dedicate your lives to God. It is the most important thing in life,” he said.

A mother of one of the priests, Mrs Maria Umole, urged mothers to encourage their children to join the priesthood.
English Nigerian cardinal rues post-election violence
May 10, 2011

Cardinal Anthony Okogie, Nigeria’s leading prelate, lamented the post-election violence that recently afflicted parts of the nation. Armed Muslim youths burned down Christian churches and homes and looted Christian businesses in northern Nigeria. Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent and a Christian, defeated two Muslim candidates--Muhammad Buhari and Nuhu Ribadu--in what international observers described as a fair election. Some of Buhari’s supporters, however, took to the streets, alleging that the voting was unfair.

Cardinal Okogie defended the election as fair and criticized the government for failing to send security forces to the area in a timely manner. He also criticized candidates who failed to tell their supporters not to engage in violence.
Italian Il cardinale di Lagos: le bombe non ci fanno paura, la nostra fede è più forte
Jan 10, 2011

Gli attacchi contro le chiese in Nigeria hanno rafforzato la nostra fede. Nonostante la violenza di questi giorni, la convivenza tra cristiani e musulmani nel nostro Paese è possibile. E lo documenta una serie di fatti che fanno meno rumore delle bombe, ma che sono più decisivi». Lo sottolinea l’arcivescovo di Lagos, cardinale Anthony Okogie, intervistato in esclusiva da A pochi giorni dalle bombe contro le chiese di Jos, che la vigilia di Natale hanno falciato 86 vite, e dal nuovo attacco di ieri contro un luogo di culto dei cristiani pentecostali a Maiduguri, l’arcivescovo di Lagos spiega perché gli attentati non sono stati in grado di distruggere il tessuto sociale del suo Paese.

Cardinal Okogie, fino a che punto gli attacchi sono riusciti a intimidire i cristiani nigeriani?

I cristiani nigeriani non hanno paura di nessuno. Lo dimostra per esempio il fatto che anche domenica scorsa si sono recati alla messa come ogni settimana, e che continuano a cercare di difendere la pace tra tutte le religioni. A Lagos in particolare le relazioni tra musulmani e cristiani sono attualmente pacifiche. Non mancano matrimoni tra persone di diverse fedi. E continuiamo a pregare insieme, a mescolarci e a ritrovarci anche in occasione di eventi sportivi. E nessuno ha paura.

E come si spiega questa reazione?

Gli attacchi hanno reso la Chiesa in Nigeria più forte. Rendendo i cristiani più sicuri di sé e più pronti a difendere la loro fede. Anche perché le ingiustizie subite a Jos hanno rafforzato la nostra convinzione di essere nel giusto. Questo non toglie che alcune comunità cristiane nigeriane stiano attraversando un momento molto difficile.

Da dove nascono le tensioni tra cristiani e musulmani, che ultimamente sembrano riacutizzarsi?

Questa è una generalizzazione, in realtà la Nigeria è divisa in due o tre grandi aree molto differenti tra di loro. E’ soltanto in alcune province del Nord del Paese dove la situazione sta peggiorando. E posso dire che temevo gli attacchi di Jos che puntualmente si sono verificati. Ma nel resto della Nigeria permane la calma. Non è corretto dire che ci sia stato un deterioramento dei rapporti tra cristiani e musulmani nell’intera federazione. A Lagos io posso muovermi liberamente, numerosi musulmani chiedono di parlarmi e non temo per la mia vita. Al contrario di Jos dove invece i cristiani devono stare molto attenti, e non si sa mai di chi ci si possa fidare e di chi no.

Gli attacchi terroristici sono stati organizzati in Nigeria o da una regia internazionale?

E’ molto difficile dirlo con certezza. E’ un fatto però che chi li ha realizzati sono stati dei nigeriani. Ma non sappiamo chi si nasconda dietro di loro. E’ possibile che qualcuno stia spingendo perché i nigeriani colpiscano le chiese. Ma, per ora, l’unica cosa che si può dire con certezza è che a Jos dei nigeriani sono stati uccisi da degli altri nigeriani. Molti terroristi provengono dallo stato di Borno, nel nord del Paese. Occasionalmente ci capita di vedere dei miliziani stranieri, ma non accade molto spesso.

Che cosa devono fare i politici cristiani, come il presidente della Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, per proteggere la Chiesa nel suo Paese?

Il compito dei politici cristiani non è quello di difendere i cristiani, ma di impegnarsi per portare la pace nell’intero Paese. Tutelando anche musulmani e animisti, e non solo cattolici e protestanti. E’ quello che stanno cercando di fare personalità come il presidente Jonathan. Stanno combattendo per la pace. Mi rendo conto che la sua domanda riguarda soprattutto la protezione delle chiese, ma il punto di partenza deve essere quello di smettere di sparare e uccidere i propri vicini di casa. E non la tutela soltanto di una parte, qualunque essa sia, che non fa altro che creare tensioni nei cittadini di fedi differenti.

In alcuni Stati del Nord vige la Sharia. Il governo federale dovrebbe intervenire per abolirla?

Il governo dovrebbe abolire gli aspetti negativi della Sharia, come la lapidazione degli adulteri. E’ quello che sostengo sempre nelle mie prediche. Non ritengo invece che dovrebbe abolire la Sharia, la cui vera natura è quella di essere l’etica della religione islamica. Sostenere l’abolizione tout court della Sharia sarebbe l’equivalente di un governo musulmano che propugnasse l’abolizione della morale cattolica. Non sarebbe di buon auspicio.

Fino a che punto le differenze religiose contano nella formazione dell’opinione pubblica in Nigeria?

Ai nigeriani non importa se i politici siano cristiani o musulmani, per loro conta solo il programma elettorale. E questo spesso va bene per i cittadini di entrambe le religioni. Sono tanti gli esempi del fatto che questa convivenza è possibile, anche a livello politico. Per esempio il governatore di Lagos, Babatunde Raji Fashola, è un musulmano, che ha sposato una cattolica molto in vista, Abimbola Fashola. Ma il loro stile di vita sotto molti aspetti è più cristiano che musulmano. E’ un esempio, sotto gli occhi di tutti, del fatto che la convivenza tra cristiani e musulmani in Nigeria è possibile.

Le bombe riusciranno a destabilizzarla?

No, sono convinto che nel nostro futuro ci sia la pace. In molte parti della Nigeria c’è già. E stiamo procedendo verso il suo rafforzamento in tutto il Paese. Se ciascuno si impegnerà per non infastidire il proprio vicino, per portare la pace nel Paese, allora gradualmente sconfiggeremo anche i terroristi.
English Cardinal Okogie advocates prisons reforms
Jan 09, 2011

LAGOS—THE Arch-bishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has stressed the need for prison inmates to be adequately cared for in the country.

Okogie who spoke, weekend, during a visit to the Minimum Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos, said Nigerian prisons had lost their purposes of being reformative homes.

He said, “the word ‘prison’ does not sound well. In developed countries, they do not call it prison. They see it as a reformative home. If you tell someone that he or she was going to be thrown into prison, you have already destroyed the person for life. So when the person eventually comes out of it, he sees himself as a jailbird and that idea continues to haunt him.

“In Nigeria, we fail to find out what really prompted the crime he committed, then try to orientate him. When you do these, he can now return to the society and be a useful citizen,” he added.

Lays foundation for prison chapel
The Cardinal, who used the occasion of his visit to lay a foundation for the Church Chapel inside the Minimum Security Prison, said the annual event was to ensure that “we visit these prisons and preach to the inmates and try to make them know that they are not forgotten.

“It is true that some of them are there either through their own fault,  through the fault of others or otherwise. So it is really a blessed thing to give a spiritual upliftment to them. So, today is a very special day for the inmates here. Instead of spending Christmas with your families, why not spend a day like this with people like these, who probably would not have anybody to visit them.”

Also speaking, Sir Patrick Ikemefuna, The Metropolitan Grand Knight, said the purpose of building a chapel in the prison yard was to give Catholic inmates a place of their own to worship.

He said, “that is why the Knights of St Mulumba decided that let us come here and give them a chapel. This chapel will cost N60 million and will be completed within six months. God willing, we will be here on the Cardinal’s birthday which is on June 16 to open the place.”
English Catholic Church shops for N19bn for varsity in Lagos
Oct 27, 2008

The Catholic Church says it is shopping for N19,28,697,025 to establish a university to be named St. Augustine University in Lagos, next year.

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie who announced this in Lagos said the institution would be located on 125 hectares of land at Ilara in Epe Local government Area of the state.

The construction of the university which will be in three phases, Okogie said, will have the College of Education, and Humanities, College of Social Management Sciences and College of Sciences in the foundation phase.

According to him, the second phase will see the take off of the Colleges of Engineering and Environmental Sciences while the third phase will usher in the Colleges of Medical Sciences and Law.

While saying that provision of buildings under the first phases of construction would cost N11 billion, Okogie said about N1 billion of this amount will be required for purchase of land and processing of land documents with the Lagos State Government.

He said every thing was being done to get approved from government and relevant statutory bodies including the National Universities Commission, to ensure that structures in the first phase of the project were on ground by March 2009.

The Cardinal said the estalishment of the university would be a huge venture that the church will not shy away from the project as, according to him, it was time for the establishment of a Catholic Church University.

He appealed to Nigerians, and corporate organisation to make contribution to enable the Catholic Church achieve its dream.

Okogie said the proposed university has the vision of making its student a total person. “The proposed varsity will have as its motto: Pro-scienctia Et Monbus, meaning ‘For Learning and Character’. Its vision is making of the total person while its mission is to develop well-rounded persons who will be role models and leaders in the society”, the Cardinal said.
English Olympics: Cardinal Okogie hits hard on NSC
Sept 05, 2008
As Nigerian Government   continues to keep mute over the dismal outing of Team Nigeria to the just ended Olympic Games in Beijing,  Anthony Cardinal Okogie has hit out at the National Sports Commission for the shame they brought on the ‘Giant of Africa’ at the Games.

(Vanguard, 28 August 2008) Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had demanded to know why his country’s athletes failed to win more than a single bronze medal at the Olympics in China ordering the formation of a fact-finding committee to assess the bad performance of the Egyptian mission to the Beijing Olympic Games.

Also, Brazilian President,  Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva bemoaned his country’s outing in the Olympics and wondered how his country could languish so badly in the world’s most important sporting arena. But mum continues to be the word from Nigerian Government.

Fiery Cardinal Okogie disappointed like many other Nigerians over the paltry one silver and three bronze medals the Country brought from China after a whopping N1.7 billion budget on the Olympic team described it as a “disgrace unleashed on the Nation”.

The Cardinal who spoke through the Very Rev Monsignor, Gabriel Osu, Director, Social Communications, Lagos Archdiocese regretted that while countries like Kenya, Morocco and Ethiopia won gold medals, Nigeria came back with silver and bronze medals.

“It shows that we were not ready for the Games. We put up a lackadaisical attitude with our preparation, planning, logistics”. The Cardinal lampooned the NSC for their incompetence in planning for the only source of joy for Nigerians.

“You saw how China they are criticizing for Human rights violation got prepared, built the magnificent Birds Nest Stadium, prepared their athletes and topped the medals table of the Olympics ahead of Countries like USA, Britain, Russia etc. Anthony Cardinal Okogie advised that “our Ijaw brethren who are in the riverine areas should be embraced in such multiple medal sports like Swimming. He commended China for their marvelous hosting of the Olympics.
English Cardinal Okogie, Admiral Ayinla Charge Govts, the Rich to Assist Less Privilege
Jul 31, 2007
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Jubrila Ayinla have charged government and individuals to assist the less privilege in the country to acquire sound education.

(Daily Champion (Lagos), 30 July 2007)

By Titus Eleweke

Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie and the former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Jubrila Ayinla have charged government and individuals to assist the less privilege in the country to acquire sound education.

The duo who spoke at the Pacelli School for the blind and partially sighted children's, end of session activities, Arts and Craft exhibition in Lagos Wednesday, agreed that it was time government and the rich in the society assist the poor to acquire sound education.

Okogie said that government and the people should begin to think seriously about the improvement of poor and people with disability in our society.

He said these people need the support of the government and the rich individuals in the society to survive and become responsible citizens in the society adding that physical disability is not a barrier to one's success.

These segment of Nigerians, he said are part of the country crying for help, So that they could, achieve their potentials in life.

He regretted that, in spite of the cry from these people, the government and the rich individuals are not doing anything to help them, instead they are wasting much money on things that are worthless.

He said government should pay more attention on the education of the less privileged and disable in the society for economic development of the nation.

Don't forget, he said that these people are from God as all of us are children of God adding that at the end every one will go back to God.

Whatever you have on earth, you are not going back to God with them, if you cannot do anything to help the poor."

Admiral Ayinla who made a donation of N1 million to the school, urged the privileged in the society to help the less privilege to achieve some high level of productivity in life.
English Cardinal Okogie Lauds EFCC for Prosecuting Ex-Govs
Jul 23, 2007
Anthony Cardinal Okogie has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecuting some alleged corrupt former governors.

(This Day (Lagos), 23 July 2007)

Lagos -- Anthony Cardinal Okogie has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecuting some alleged corrupt former governors.

Okogie, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, gave the commendation while speaking with journalists after elevating St Peter and Paul's Catholic Church, Oke Afa near Isolo, into a parish.

"When the last administration was with us, everyone seemed to think poorly of the EFCC. "But I knew then that he who paid the piper dictated the tune, and that was what was happening then,' Okogie said.

The EFCC last week charged former governors Orji Kalu (Abia), Saminu Turaki (Jigawa), Jolly Nyame (Taraba), Joshua Dariye (Plateau) and Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu State) to court for corrupt enrichment.

Okogie commended the level headedness and transparency of President Umaru Yar' Adua on national issues.

"Now that we seem to have somebody who is level headed as the Head of State, the EFCC can talk, act and work according to the law establishing it.

"That is what is happening," he said. He, however, urged the commission not to sweep under the carpet, cases of corrupt practices against some past leaders and to treat no one as a 'sacred cow'. Okogie asked the EFCC to look into the recent sale of the Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries.

"Not to mention the houses occupied by several Nigerians who were forcibly ejected and sold to other people at give away prices,' he said.
English Cardinal Okogie Cautions Men of God Against Self-Enrichment
Jun 25, 2007
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie yesterday in Abuja warned the Priests of God to desists from enriching themselves with material things under the pretence of working in the Lord's vine yard.

(Vanguard (Lagos, 25 June 2007)) Cardinal Okogie who gave this warning at the Priestly Ordination of Seven Missionaries of Society of St. Paul (MSP), Gwagwalada, also called on Nigerians to desist from brutal killing of men of God in the country.

According to him, with the current situation in Nigeria, priests of God should bring good news to the poor, bind up broken hearts, proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison and bring back lost souls to God instead of enriching themselves with all sorts of pranks.

He said: "Some Nigerians have resorted to negative attitude of brutally murdering men of God. This was not so in the past, but now it has become a regular act.

"We need good Priests to carry out the work of God and lead Nigerians to Christ. Now you see men of God involving themselves in negative attitude, bad practices such as enriching themselves with material things under the pretence of working in the Lord's vineyard. Priests of God should bear good fruits that last."

He pointed out for the priests to be relevant in the society where technology has taken over the order of the day, they must involve technology in their evangelism methods, adding that they must participate in the development of the country.

"You must involve all channels of communication, including mass communication, enlightenment programmes among others while preaching. You must use them wisely in order to carry the people along," he advised.

Cardinal Okogie also called on the lay people in the society to support and assist the priests in carrying out their priestly work.

"You must correct the men of God when they are not getting it right. They are not saints, they are humans. They need your support to keep going. Do not hesitate to call them back when they go astray," he pleaded.

Among the newly ordained Priests are Rev. Fr. Ambrose Akindele Akniwande, Rev. Henry Odinkemere Osuagwu, Rev. Agustine Olisa Nwagbologu, Rev. Henry Jan Nkop, Rev. Bernard Iheanyichukwu Oleru, Rev. Emmanuel Patrick Adinye, and Rev. David-Maria Maduabuchi Oknokwo.
English Nigerian cardinal urges new president to avoid 'dead wood' in Cabinet
Jun 20, 2007
Lagos Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie advised newly elected Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua that for his administration to be successful he should not appoint "dead wood" to his Cabinet.

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS, Jun-18-2007) -- The cardinal also said he wondered why it was taking Yar'Adua so long to appoint his Cabinet and added, "This government should settle down immediately to work and not wait for the traditional 100 days before having a focused direction.

"Now is the time for Yar' Adua to stoop down and conquer the multifarious problems of the nation placed before him," Cardinal Okogie said at a press conference in Lagos June 14.

"Yar'Adua promised the nation at his inauguration speech to run an open government," the cardinal added.

He also criticized the fuel-pump price hike introduced by former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo just before he left office, describing it as "one policy not in the best interest of the common good, an unpopular action (that) should be rejected immediately."

Cardinal Okogie said the fuel-pump hike did not follow due process, and he called on Yar'Adua to reverse it, reminding the president that he had promised Nigerians he would be a listening leader.

The cardinal also criticized the current poor standard of education in Nigeria, especially at the college level.

"No Nigerian university was mentioned among the 500 top-class universities in the world. This is a sour pill to swallow," he said, asking the federal government to raise the university's standards.

Lecturers in most Nigerian universities have been on strike since April because of lack of teaching facilities, poor benefits and the cancellation of research grants by the Obasanjo administration.

He also condemned the ongoing lingering crisis in the Niger Delta between militant youths and the multinationals involved in crude oil explorations.

"It is sad that a region that has contributed immensely to the wealth creation of this country should remain a region of dehumanizing poverty, unemployment and a destroyed ecosystem," the cardinal said.

He urged politicians in the region to account for the way its resources have been used and appealed to young people to end the violence, which he called "a journey to the land of no return."

The youths have kidnapped several foreigners working with multinational oil companies and demanded huge ransoms. As a result, some oil companies have relocated.
English Nigerian cardinal calls pre-election arms smuggling 'danger signal'
Mar 30, 2007
Lagos Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie called the smuggling of arms into Nigeria a few weeks before the general elections a "danger signal."

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS, Mar-30-2007) -- "These arms are not in the military barracks; neither are they in the hands of law enforcement agents who are authorized to carry arms," he said.

Speaking with media executives during a March 29 seminar organized by Caritas Nigeria, the archbishop said the weapons were in the hands of politicians and their agents who were prepared to use them in urban warfare if the elections did not go their way.

The Independent Electoral Commission has scheduled the elections for April 14 and 21. It would be the first time one democratically elected government would be transitioning to another without any military interregnum.

The cardinal condemned Nigerian politicians who had always seen violence as an option for gaining access to power and described their actions as "ominous clouds of violence likely to threaten the April elections."

Cardinal Okogie urged politicians not to regard the elections as a do-or-die affair, adding that "elections are recurrent affairs. If you don't win today, there is still tomorrow."

He advised the electoral commission to ensure free and fair elections, stressing that anyone using violence to secure victory should be promptly disqualified and prosecuted.

The commission "should announce the results based on votes cast, not the result that had been predetermined even before voting began," he said.

Cardinal Okogie urged security agents not to allow themselves to be used by anyone to achieve selfish and ulterior motives.

"Your duty is to provide security for all Nigerians, candidates of all the political parties and (electoral commission) officials," he said.

He also asked the judiciary to be clearly independent and discharge its responsibilities without fear or favor.

"The judiciary should see to it that cases referred to it in connection with elections are promptly disposed of before the purported winners assume office," he said. "A situation where the judgment on a case is given months, even years into the tenure of a political officer is manifestly unjust."

When Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, contested his loss in the 2003 presidential election, the case lasted 30 months before it was thrown out by the appeal court. Buhari is a candidate again this year.

In one state election, it took close to three years for the election tribunal to confirm the winner after his opponent had already been sworn in.
English Nigerian Cardinal: “condom is widely known not to be a safe protector against HIV/AIDS”
Jan 06, 2007
Asks why government is now encouraging spread of HIV/AIDS through the use of condoms.

LAGOS, Nigeria, January 5, 2007 ( - A Nigerian Cardinal has condemned the coming construction of a billion-dollar condom factory in Yenagoa, recently approved by the Nigerian government, Catholic News Service reported yesterday.

In a New Year’s Day address Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos said the "condom is widely known not to be a safe protector against HIV/AIDS. It is widely acknowledged today that the safest measure against HIV/AIDS is abstinence".

The cardinal said he wondered why the Nigerian government, while claiming to be committed to the eradication of HIV/AIDS, is now encouraging the spread of the virus through the use of condoms.

He urged the government to reconsider the plan "in order to ensure a healthy nation."

Cardinal Okogie spoke out against the government proposal in January 2006, saying condom use would “encourage immorality, sex on demand, promiscuity, irresponsibility and prostitution. Condom use, knowingly and intentionally, offends the ends of marriage, which is procreation and says no to the bearing of children but [yes to] promiscuity,” according to a report by Journalists Against AIDS Nigeria.

The condom factory project is being backed by the U.S. organization Family Health International, a population-control NGO that conducts biomedical research and promotes contraceptive use in third-world countries.

The government of Bayelsa State, where the factory will be located, admitted they have entered into agreement with a United States firm to produce female condoms, in a further effort to prevent the spread of the disease, reported Dec. 27.

Family Health International reports on their website, however, that the female condom has received “limited” acceptance in the populations where it has been promoted, due to the intrusiveness and discomfort of the device.

Nigeria leadership has maintained steady opposition to homosexual activism in the country, proposing legislation in April 2006 that would ban homosexual “marriages,” to further strengthen the country’s existing prohibitions against homosexual activity.

A top Nigerian official said in July he believes increasing rates of what he called the “foreign” practice of homosexuality in the country is directly harming efforts to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“The war against HIV/AIDS can only be won through preventive approach, much more than through treatment. This is why we stress people stay away from all forms of risky behaviours,” said Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Chairman of the National Action Committee on AIDS, according to an report in July 2006.
English Nigerian cardinal condemns government approval of condom factory
Jan 05, 2007
A Nigerian cardinal has condemned the government's recent approval of a billion-dollar condom factory in Yenagoa.

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNS, Jan-4-2007) -- Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos said the "condom is widely known not to be a safe protector against HIV/AIDS. It is widely acknowledged today that the safest measure against HIV/AIDS is abstinence."

He expressed concern about the condom factory in his New Year's Day message, made available to journalists in early January.

The cardinal said he wondered why the Nigerian government, which claims to be championing the eradication of HIV/AIDS, is now encouraging the spread of the virus through the use of condoms.

He urged the government to reconsider the plan "in order to ensure a healthy nation."

In his message, Cardinal Okogie described 2006 as a year of many national disasters.

"There were air crashes and numerous road accidents," he said, calling on the government to take steps to help reduce such accidents.

Although Cardinal Okogie said democracy in Nigeria has its problems, he expressed joy that "our democratic experiment has been on course."

He also commended the nation's judiciary for standing the test of time as the last hope of the ordinary Nigerian.

"Where our legislators have erred, the judiciary helped to restore order," he said.

Cardinal Okogie said he hoped people, with the help of selfless leaders, would reap the benefits of democracy in the way of "economic empowerment and financial emancipation of the citizens" in the new year.

"Nigeria needs -- and urgently, too -- selfless leaders who are known patriots and who are ready to serve the welfare of the peoples and not to feast only on their pockets," he said.
English Okogie charges Nigerians, media to speak up on nation's ills
Jan 02, 2007
Special services were yesterday held in some churches to mark the beginning of the new year as several clergymen used the occasion to sue for peaceful elections come April and religious harmony among the two dominant religions.

(Vanguard, January 02, 2007) LAGOS — At the Holy Cross Cathedral, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, urged Nigerians and the nation’s media to speak up about the ills of the country, pointing out that he cannot see hope for the nation the way things are going at the moment.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the service to mark this year’s World Day of Peace, Okogie urged the press to wake up to its watchdog responsibility in the interest of generations yet unborn, adding: “If we do not speak out now, I am afraid I do not see hope for this country.”

The cardinal was of the opinion that current war against corruption has not adequately addressed the issue, adding “we are not yet serious about the war on corruption. That is why the Press and well meaning Nigerians must now begin to speak up before something terrible happens, God forbid!”

Stating that the current face-off between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Abubakar Atiku has adequately embarrassed the country, the cardinal maintained that both men are birds of the same feather and there is no way they can escape judgment.

Finding it difficult to believe why a civil servant should own several houses in choice areas and still live in government quarters, Okogie maintained that the only way forward for the country is prudent management of the nation’s resources.

“Are they serving the people or they are simply serving their pockets,” he queried. “The only solution is for Nigerians to seek for God-fearing leaders because no man can dampen the word of God.”

Okogie also enjoined politicians to play politics with a high sense of responsibility and shun any act of violence, because, according to him, no religion known to man preaches violence and the right to take people’s lives.  

Earlier at the service, the Catholic Pontiff’s message to mark World Day of Peace was read by Mr. Tony Akhiotu. Pope Benedict XVI enjoined every Christian to be committed to peace-making and the defence of the dignity of the human person and his inalienable rights.

Outlining obstacles to world peace, the Pontiff maintained that the ability to live together and build relationships of justice and solidarity requires unfailing commitment on every individual’s part because “peace is a gift from God.”

“Let every believer, then, unfailingly contribute to the advancement of a true integral humanism in accordance with the teachings of the Encyclical Letters Populorum Progressio and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, whose respective 40th and 12th anniversaries we prepare to celebrate this year.”

According to the head of the Catholic Church worldwide, “as far as the right to life is concerned, we must denounce its widespread violation in our society: alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia.”

Anglican Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo, also called on politicians to conduct themselves in the most civilised manner so that the people of the country have the ample opportunity to vote for credible leaders.
English Okogie Urges FG to Check Assassinations
Sept 12, 2006
Worried by the spate of assassinations in the country, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has urged the Federal Government to take urgent measures to redress the situation.

This Day (Lagos, August 20, 2006) The Cardinal, in a statement signed by the Rev. Fr. Gabriel Osu, director of social communications in Lagos, said "the trend portends danger to the nation ... and it is worrisome". The statement also quoted Okogie as saying that if nothing was done to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly acts, the citizens might be compelled to take the law into their hands.

"The assassination of the former Justice Minister, Bola Ige, Dikibo Marshall, Funso Williams and now Ayo Daramola portends a very great danger for our country, because the killers have not been found and prosecuted to deter others", he said.

He said the development was a sign of insecurity, which could threaten national security, stressing that "a nation without good security is not a nation".

"Such a nation slides gradually into jungle justice, barbarism, anarchy and chaos", he added. The Cardinal stressed that the country could only attract foreign investment if the issue of security was given attention.

"I am no prophet, but if care is not taken, the way we are going, there will be many more assassinations before the 2007 elections", Okogie said.
English Cardinal Okogie endorses Odili
Aug 04, 2006
The Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie says that the Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili should aspire higher to lead the country following his track record of performance in office.

(The Tide, Jul 27, 2006) Cardinal Okogie, who stated this yesterday during a luncheon hosted in his honour by the Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili at Government House, Port Harcourt, said his visit to Rivers State has opened his eyes to the things he has heard and read about Dr. Odili’s administration.

“I am in no way surprised to find these things here because having read a lot about Gov Odili, I am in no doubt that if given a third chance, he will transform the state. Since the idea of a third term for governors is ruled out, all he (Odili) has to do is to aspire to go higher in 2007”, Okogie said.

He noted that anyone who is aspiring to lead the country must embark on some of the people-oriented projects of Governor Odili such as the new Government House, new state House of Assembly Complex and the giant Independent Power Project, which clearly mark him out among his peers.

“I have seen things which I thought can only be found in Europe. The House of Assembly, and the gas turbine stations are projects which I think anyone who is going to lead the country should try to embark upon" he said.

The religious leader disclosed that some of the projects the Governor Odili-administration has executed are significant for growth, and lauded him for touching the lives of the people resident in Rivers State, saying that that appropriately qualifies him to aspire for higher position in the land.

Cardinal Okogie, stated that he now appreciates why Governor Odili was the envy of others, and advised him to anchor his hope on God and make Him his guide, noting that ''as you do that, you will achieve you heart desires".

The religious leader described his visit to Rivers State as “a visit with a difference”, and commended Governor Odili for the support his administration has given to the churches and the work of God throughout the country.

“Today, I can say, I have come, seen and I have conquered in all the things that I have been able to see, the beautiful work the Rivers State Government and his generosity is beyond Rivers State and that is why his brother governors are envious of him", he said.

Earlier, the Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, had thanked Cardinal Okogie for the visit, which opens a new vista of relationship between the state and religious leaders.

Governor Odili used the opportunity to reiterate the need for the churches to work in synergy with the government, stressing that with the pedigree of the cardinal, he was sure he would strengthen the vanguard of this relationship.

Dr. Odili explained that the laity needs the clergy men and vice versa to bring man, who was born imperfect, to appreciate the essence of God's creation, and therefore solicited for moral re-orientation for the growth of society.

He expressed regret that he could not participate in the activities marking the cardinal's 70th birthday celebration, and prayed God to bless and strengthen him to continue to perform useful services to mankind and society.

He used the occasion to wish Cardinal Okogie, who is also the Archbishop of Lagos, a happy 70th birthday anniversary in an event attended by top state government functionaries.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Okogie, had celebrated mass at the Government House Chapel, where he charged Christians to love one another because irrespective of religion, God created human beings without choice of their parents and place of birth.
English Devote Greater Attention To Education, Okogie Tells FG
Jul 12, 2006
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has urged the Federal Government to devote greater attention to education.

This Day (Lagos, July 9, 2006) "They (government) are not taking care of education as it should be; they cannot say money is the problem because we have the money," Okogie told newsmen yesterday in Lagos at the First Catholic Archdiocese, Lagos, Education Summit.

The summit had as its theme: "Catholic Education in Lagos Archdiocese within the 21st Century".

He urged the participants to consider in their discussions "Nigeria's permissive society where little or no thought is given to the spiritual side of man".

"This is a result of the half-baked education in vogue today. Our youths must be rescued from the clutches of materialism and given the correct orientation for a better life; there should be emphasis on christian education", he said.

He further urged the participants to evolve strategies to correct, elevate, regulate and perfect the church's present system of education, stressing that they would provide the road map that would shape the educational system of the church.

In his address, Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, said that his administration's bold decision to return schools to the missions had paid off, noting that: "there is tremendous improvement in academic and moral discipline in the schools involved'.

"For many years the standard of education and morals among our children in public schoiols fell to an abysmal level. This scenario prompted this adminstration to return 48 mission schools to their original owners", he recalled.

Tinubu said that as part of the state's efforts to raise the standard of education, it created six new educational districts to replace the defunct Post Primary Teaching Service Commission.

Each of these districts is being headed by a Permanent Secretary and Tutor General, which is the first of its kind in the history of education management in Nigeria.

He added that the state government had fully embraced the implementation of the UBE 9-3-4 programme, stressing that "it is now an offence for any parent to deny any school age child from going to school".

"Without resting on our oars, we will continue to initiate and implement various educational policies and programmes germane to the future growth and development of our children and youths in the society," the governor said.

Tinubu urged the participants to work out appropriate strategies that would further improve and enrich the quality of schools' curricula in Nigeria.

Tinubu was represented by Dr Leke Pitan, the state Commissioner for Education.

The Rev. John Aniagwu, Chairman of the Board of Council of St. Augustine's College of Education, Lagos, in a paper entitled "an Overview of Catholic Education in The Lagos Archdiocese", urged that due attention be given to cultural education.

"Education, in the culture and traditions of Nigerians, should be taught as it is all too often the case that vast majority of products of our schools are abysmally ignorant of these things.

"The programme of culture education will embrace subjects like African and Nigerian history, worldview and anthropology, traditional models of governance, music, arts and craft," Aniagwu said.
English Tinubu opens up at Okogie’s birthday: Return of mission schools was the hardest decision I ever took
Jul 03, 2006
THE 70th birthday celebration of the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, may have come and gone but the memory will linger for a little while, especially because the forum provided an opportunity for the chairman at the dinner party, Chief Anthony Ani, who grew up with the cardinal at Lafiaji area of Lagos, to speak on some secrets on Okogie. The cardinal turned 70, June 16.

(, July 02, 2006) The celebration kicked off May 29, with the celebration of Children’s Day with the cardinal at the Church of Ascension, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, and various other programmes with the youths, school children, priests and the underprivileged at Ketu and Majidun in Ikorodu area of Lagos. Knights of St. Mulumba hosted the cardinal’s world press conference where he cut an anniversary cake to mark the birthday and last Sunday at the Expo Centre of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, the Birthday Anniversary Committee treated the cardinal to a dinner where a book entitled, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie: A voice crying in the wilderness, was presented to the public.

The event was attended by creme de la creme of the society including the first couple of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife; a presidential aspirant, Professor Pat Utomi; Ani; two bank chief executives, Chief Bassey Ebong of Union Bank Plc, and Chief Pascal Dozie of Diamond Bank Plc; Senator Anthony Adefuye; Chief Mike Inegbese; immediate past police commissioner of Lagos State, Mr Young Arabemen; Chief Sunny Aku of Novena Majesty Limited and the younger sister of the cardinal, Mrs. Dawodu. From the cardinal’s primary constituency came the likes of Monsignor Bernard Okoduwa, Gabriel Osu, Rev. Father George Ehusani, who reviewed the book which was written by the cardinal’s cousin, Victor Ayeni Olarenwaju, and a host of others.

Provoked by the compere, Mr. Soni Irabor, the governor of Lagos State, Tinubu showered encomiums on a senior fellow “Lafiaji Boy’, who he described as “the great cardinal,” adding “if patriotism is described by the dictionary as commitment to national greatness, individual development, human rights, courage and determination for the development of humanity for the betterment of a society, Cardinal Okogie has demonstrated that he is truly a leader and the conscience of our society.”

The governor told the capacity crowd that the archbishop was undaunted when he lost his official quarters in Ikoyi in 1997 after the then Federal Government wanted him to retract his critical views on some of their policies. “They called you to then Dodan Barracks in Ikoyi to reprove and retract your position and mortgage your conscience but you said no. You stood by the society and you called for the correction of the ills of the society,” Tinubu said, adding: “As a result of that, you lost your house at Ikoyi and quickly moved to the Catholic Mission House where you have remained ever since then.”

On education, Tinubu described his decision to return mission schools as one of three most critical decisions he had taken in the last seven years as the chief executive of Lagos State, pointing out that he had no regrets whatsoever taking the decision. “If I have to write my autobiography and experience while in office, it (the decision to return mission schools) will rank among the three most crucial decisions that I had to take. But that is all what leadership is about and learning that consistency from you, I took that decision,” he said.

The governor explained that many critics had come up to him then that the pupils of the schools would be exploited as the schools would be out of the reach of the poor and the decision would at best only create a situation where some schools would create a privileged society. “Then Cardinal Okogie assured me that he would turn the schools around and would not do any such thing,” Tinubu stated and turning to the cardinal, he said: “I want to say to you tonight, thank you, sir, for all you have been able to achieve with those schools.”

Tinubu had through the then commissioner for education, Dr. Idowu Sobowale, on August 7, 2001 announced the return of 48 public secondary schools to their former mission owners in fulfilment of his campaign pledge. The returned schools fell into three categories 15 private proprietors having 17 schools; one Muslim mission owning 10 schools, while 21 schools were handed over to seven Christian missions.In addition to the return, the government assured that students of the affected schools would not pay fees throughout the next five years when they were expected to complete their studies.

Responding to the show of love, the cardinal praised the governor and his wife for their steadfast and dogged determination to alleviate the suffering of the Nigerian people. “I commend your leadership qualities, outspokenness, forthrightness, and as everyone can see, you are indeed a dogged fighter. May the good Lord continue to be with you, guide and protect you all the days of your life,” he said, adding “this is the reason why our heavenly Father had deemed it fit to protect you and your dear wife, the first lady of Lagos State from all your seen and unseen enemies.”

Turning to Ani, the chairman of the occasion, Okogie said: “I thank you very much indeed, for going down memory lane. There were some points I thought you would have left out because of our present positions. It is true we grew up in Lafiaji and we are very very proud of it. Indeed, a lot of people who had gathered here this evening had known part of my secrets, all because of you.

“If it were not the kind of profession that I find myself in, I would have considered suing you. But all the same we thank you very much indeed. May God continue to bless you”. The cardinal who said he was visibly surprised at the magnitude of the anniversary month-long celebration, thanked Ani, the authors of the book, the reviewer and all that had contributed to the success of the entire programme.  

On the book itself, Okogie said Nigerians do not read books, therefore anyone setting out to publish a book on any subject is taking a great risk, at least in Nigeria. “In the case of these young men, led by Victor Ayeni, they took even a greater risk because there are already four books written on us in circulation. I wonder what new things they could have said about us but each author seemed to have taken one side of us and then developed it. Thank God their efforts had not been in vain. May God bless them,” he concluded.
About N10 million was realised at the book launch.
English Cardinal Okogie at 70: Those who license churches aid criminals
Jun 12, 2006
Recently, His Eminence, Olubunmi Anthony Cardinal Okogie turned 70. The occasion of his birthday was that of sober reflection in the events of his life, his calling and his country.

(, June 10, 2006) Known for his frank views and fearless disposition to national issues, Cardinal Okogie takes you down the memory lane of his 1966 ordination as a priest, his regrets for Nigeria, persisting crises in the Niger-Delta region, clamour for the 2007 presidency and how things should be done to pull the country away from the precipice. It is vintage Okogie. Enjoy it.

Congrats on your 70th birthday. How has it been with you?

Well, everyday that I live, I take it as my own new year and I try as much as possible to spend it as if God is going to call me up. I don’t see much difference in the way things have been going.
Would you say you have achieved all your aspirations in life?

I achieved my aspiration in life on the 4th of December 1966 when I became a priest. I thank God for it. Perhaps, what I did not achieve was my father’s aspiration for me. He wanted me to become an engineer. But my mother who was very prayerful encouraged my priesthood aspirations. I thank God.
What were the other things you could have loved to do which you did not do?

Well, as an archbishop, there are other things I would have loved to do to change this nation especially our youths. When I was younger, things were better for the youths. The elderly ones took care of us. They showed us good examples. They were friendlier, more charitable but as time went on, the elderly ones became more selfish. Everybody is running after money.

I would have loved to see our elderly ones improving on what we are handing over to the youths but unfortunately, it is not so. Everybody is running after money and money has become the god of so many. I would have loved to see a Nigeria that is so blessed with natural and human resources. But things are not the way they should be.

Politics, tribalism, dichotomy, back-biting have taken over. The whole nation is now corrupt. Now, who is going to bail us out? The fault is not just on government but on the people. What kind of example are we giving to the people? The other day, I read about a religious leader who is now becoming a super businessman. Another one is trying to become a super politician. So, where do we now draw the line? Are we really serious in this nation? There are churches in every corner of the country but it doesn’t portray us as religious. All shops and warehouses have overnight been converted to churches. What is our government doing about it?

You don’t really blame the people who are going into it but the government has to checkmate them. The government caused it by starting to license churches. It’s wrong. It only portrays to the government that these churches are business centres. In any civilized nation, they don’t do that. That is why these people cannot be controlled. When they began to license churches, they had given room to all kinds of things. Church is not a business enterprise. So, all these people who are licensing churches are aiding and abetting criminals. Unless government sits back to give  Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, there will be no sanity in this nation.

So, should these licensed churches be made to pay tax?

It’s not right. It’s now coming to tell you that these  are not churches. They are business centres. If you now want churches to pay tax, why not the NGOs too? And very soon, it would come to that. A good number of NGOs have become business centres. Look at all those that are becoming first ladies; all these NGOs they own are money-making machines and they die as soon as the first lady is removed from office. Who is going to bring sanity to this nation?

Now, the debate for third term in office for governors and the president has been lost, what do you see ahead? How do we move ahead?

As far as I’m concerned, I was one of those who rejoiced. Honestly, I thank my Heavenly Father for giving those people courage to debate aright. Only God knows the future of this nation. Ninety-nine per cent of all those in the National Assembly should begin to examine their conscience. They should begin to project the interest of the people who put them there. Some refused to take bribe. Others did. I read one of them in the papers saying that some got their fifty million naira. How can a taxi driver elope with 30 million cash as published in the papers? Where did he get 30 million from? Where was the owner of the thirty million going to with the money?

INEC has published the election time-table and the Catholic Church seems uncomfortable with it because it falls within the period of Easter...

As far as I’m concerned, this nation is supposed to be a nation that is placed under God. We started getting our priorities wrong with the composition of our national pledge which says “I pledge to Nigeria my country...” As the (then) president of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, I went to the then Head of State at Dodan Barracks to kick against the wordings of the pledge; that it’s too American.

You don’t pledge to your country, you pledge to your God. Americans pledge to their country, they are all having fun. The idea of God is innate in Africa. It is born with us. We fear God. Once anything involves God, we are afraid. Our mission to Dodan Barracks was simple; place the nation under God. The man at Dodan Barracks just looked at me and said: ‘If you have not learnt it, go and learn it.’ And he got up and began to walk around, reciting ‘I pledge to Nigeria my country...’ He asked if I had any other thing. I said no and he asked me to leave.

Look at what is happening in Nigeria today: No respect for God, nothing. But nobody can cheat God. If they like, let them put the elections on Easter Sunday. God is going to have His way. You cannot cheat God.
Look at our law courts, we swear with the Bible and the Quran and we lie under oath. But give that person a piece of iron and tell him to kiss it, he will not. But no one can make foolery or mockery of God. You can’t mock God. For how long can you do that? Things are going wrong in this country. Because of the under-current, people do things their own way. For how long will that go on?

How do you see our democracy and those in power seven years after?

As far as I am concerned, it is wrong to say that the President (Obasanjo) has not done much. He has done a lot. But most of the things that were done were all sugar-coated. What is democracy? Are we having democracy in Nigeria? The quashing of third term is the very first time we experienced something like democracy because the people refused. Why the attempt to shut down AIT?

Because they were showing the truth and tomorrow, they would say they have free press. Are we serious? You can’t cheat God. One day, God will speak His Own. Whatever we think we are, God would always have the last say. You cannot deceive God. Our body is a composite thing made up of spirit and matter. Your spirit judges your action. And God is the ultimate judge.

For sometime now, the  Niger-Delta region has been restive. It’s been one kidnap after another of foreign oil workers. How do we restore peace in that region?

Let me tell you one thing, you and I are still saying the same thing. Nigerians don’t fear God anymore. They think money is the ultimate thing and don’t give a damn how they get it. The essence of all these kidnaps is the ransom being paid to rescue them. It is about money. There is so much happening in the Niger-Delta region. Oil spillage, vandalisation, poverty. Why is the government keeping quiet?

These militants are simply telling government that it is not doing its job. How can you come to my own place and say you cannot respect me because you are somebody above and then you want to control me? Then, I will look for a way to tell you that I own the place. All these are happening because law and order have broken down in the country. We should not deceive ourselves. And they will continue to give Nigeria a bad name as long as they are getting money by foul means. We are exporting our best human resources abroad. That is not good for us.

The other day, they showed Nigerians making fake drugs in India. They are frustrating (Prof. Dora) Akunyili’s office. Nigerians are funny. If you get them in one way, they find another way of perpetrating evil. We should be serious.

The 2007 general elections are approaching. There is heated debate between the North and South for the presidency. Factions are emerging in different political parties. Now, how do we handle the polls to make sure that we have credible elections?

Unless Nigeria gets serious with democracy, things will remain as they’ve been. And that means, they must allow Nigerians to choose their leaders, not parties choosing the leaders or godfathers sending the persons they want. These are the things that destroy our country and if they are not stopped, then the problems would continue. Look at what is happening in Oyo State and what happened in Anambra State. If these were not properly checked, other states would take cue and the problem deepens. We get worse. This nation needs prayers but again, God helps those who help themselves. We should help ourselves.
English NEW YEAR : Okogie, others task leaders on service
Jan 16, 2006
Nigerians yesterday trooped to different places of worship to usher in the New Year which has been described by various clergymen as a crucial year  for the nation’s democratic experience. Churches across the country were full with the young, the old, men and women, particularly for the New Year eve services, if  only to thank God for His mercies over the preceding year.

(Vanguard, January 02, 2006) LAGOS — At the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, again called on the nation’s leaders to use the  opportunity of the dawn of a new year to remodel themselves along the path of Jesus Christ.

Okogie, while responding to a controversy among Jesus disciples on who was the greatest, Jesus said: “Let the greatest among you be the least,” adding that our  leaders have given us the impression that they are masters and not servants.

“This attitude of the leaders has resulted in disrespect of the led,” Okogie who was assisted by Rev Fathers Gabriel Osu, Julius Olaitan and another priest said,  adding: “Are our representatives at the state and national levels really representing the people?”

Okogie said the true meaning of leadership is “caring deeply about the people we serve/lead, and being willing to sacrifice our own convenience to meet their needs.”  He said the nation’s image abroad was very bad, adding: “We are cutting our nose to spite our face,” and urged the Federal Government to do “everything possible  to protect the constitutional rights of the people at all times and not tailor it according to the whims and caprices of selfish and opportunistic people.”

The cardinal said the people were suffering and smiling while the leaders wallowed in affluence, adding that the gap between the rich and poor was widening on a  daily basis.

He, therefore, urged government to address the perennial problems of the masses of the nation. According to him, every situation in the last few months in the country  points to only one direction: change and urged all Nigerians to have a change of heart in the new year to attract God’s blessing, wisdom and courage to reign this  year.

The Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo of the Anglican Communion preaching the first sermon of the year, said Nigerians needed the strength of God, not only to face the  challenges of the new year, but to use their God-given talents on creative ventures. The Archbishop of Province One and the bishop of Lagos Diocese assured  Nigerians that God would give them fulfilment in the new year.

The cleric commended President Olusegun Obasanjo for setting up a committee to investigate the aviation industry, stressing that the committee should be a  permanent one because most times, Nigerians act on the spur on the moment and most times things do not work out.

He urged Nigerians to be humble, especially the leaders because, according to him, it is God that puts leaders in the place of authority. According to him, the key  word for the church this year is KLS—Know the Lord, Love the Lord and Serve the Lord.

In his New Year message, the Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Father Gabriel Osu, admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit  of tolerance, patience and endurance in the new year.
English Okogie Warns Against Religious Politics
Sept 03, 2005
Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, weekend warned against the divisive tendencies of religious politics, but urged the country's political leaders to behave responsibly to avert an imminent crisis in the country.

This Day (Lagos, August 14, 2005) Delivering a homily at the priestly ordination of Rev. Peter Babatunde Awo-Bolaji at St. Joseph Cathedral, Ilorin, Kwara State, Okogie told politicians to stop playing politics with religion.

The Catholic cleric, who said his charge was informed by allegations that Christians especially Catholics, were being denied of the right of professing their religion and holding public offices in some parts of the country, said it was unfortunate that such thing was happening in any part of the country.

"That is quite unfortunate in a country, where the authorities keep on telling everyone that we are all one and that we should all try to be one in spite of our religious and ethnic differences," he said.

He said there was no way the country could remain one when "adherents of a particular religion are being singled out for persecution and denial of their fundamental rights as citizens of this country."

Okogie said if the trend is not checked, it could plunge the country into a large-scale destruction that the country might not be able to curtail.

"History has shown that such conflict can be most destructive and the most difficult to stop when it begins. Our political leaders owe it a sacred duty to all Nigerians to spare that act of calamity. May that kind of calamity not befall this nation.

"For your own part my dear brothers and sisters, I urge you to stand firm. Do not allow yourselves to be intimidated by anyone. This country belongs to all of us. We have no other place that you can call your own. Therefore, you are not going anywhere, let them do anything they like, your home is your home, you will remain here and you will hold firm that your right to profess and practice your religion without threat or hindrance by the grace of God," he said.

He said apart from the fact that such rights were guaranteed by the nation's constitution, it was also enshrined in both the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights in which Nigeria has signed to uphold.

"Therefore our political leaders cannot come home to deny the rights they have subscribe to on the world page."

He sermonised the newly ordained priest to allow his ordination to bear spiritual fruits and avoid those things that could tarnish his image and that of the church.

He said priesthood was not a place to pursue worldly agenda, or to cultivate dubious truancy or seek cheap popularity; rather, Okogie said the priesthood "is a life of selfless service to humanity."

"You will be popular because you are a priest but please do not run after it,"

He said many priests had failed in their responsibility because of their inability to match their belief with actions.

He urged the congregation to always pray for their priests adding that it was through such prayers that they could succeed.

The Catholic Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Ayo-Maria Atoyebi and some priests, assisted Okogie at the ordination mass.
English Okogie Condemns Police Siege
Jun 11, 2005
Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie has condemned the ongoing police siege on 1004 Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Daily Champion (Lagos, June 6, 2005) "I am totally against the government's action. What is the idea of sending police there? The style and manner the police went there was very, very uncivilized, undemocratic and intimidating," Okogie said in a statement in Lagos yesterday.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls policemen were deployed to take strategic positions within and outside the estate.

The estate has been a subject of dispute between the Federal Government who sometime last year sold it to the highest bidder and consequently asked its occupants who are mostly civil servants to quit.

Okogie, according to statement signed by Rev. Fr Gabriel Osu, wondered who the government was protecting by its action.

"The citizens or for personal gains or politicians and government officials, why deceiving the world?, it added.

He said that reports reaching him indicated that "those who publicly dissociated themselves from acquiring such houses were now secretly going back to re-possess them. Who is fooling who?", he asked.

The spiritual leader recalled a statement cradited to the Works Minister, Sen. Adeseye Ogunlewe, that government would not use force to eject residents and insisted that the pronouncement be respected.

"If a soul is lost there (1004 flats), I will not hesitate to call for civil disobedience and beckon the international community against this government," he warned.

On the seven private universities recently approved by the government, Okogie accused government of promoting private education at the expense of public education.

"They are subtly killing education in this country and making same costly for parents. The federal government has problem with Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) which has not been resolved, we have incessant strikes in schools; the existing universities are struggling to survive. Why putting cart before the horse?' he queried.

The Cardinal also took a swipe at the federal government for the presidential library and called on the government to take the welfare of the people seriously.
English A critic of the military dictatorship
Apr 17, 2005
The Nigerian Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Archbishop of Lagos, 67, made international news in 2001 when he offered his life to save a Muslim woman sentenced to death for adultery.

(The Tablet, 23 April 2005) The cardinal explained at the time that he decided to make the offer as a Church protest against Shariah law. It was a gesture typical of a man regarded by Nigerians as a fearless advocate for human rights, religious freedom and democratic rule.

Cardinal Okogie was a critic of the military dictatorship that controlled Nigeria for 16 years, and has not hesitated to criticise President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration for moving slowly in implementing reforms to help Nigeria's poor.

Along with other Catholic Church leaders in Africa, he refuses to endorse the use of condoms to fight the spread of Aids.

The Archbishop of Lagos since 1973, he lives on Lagos Island in a simple house alongside the cathedral, where, he says, he is "available to anyone who wants to see him".
English Okogie Creates Parishes, Redeploys Priests
Dec 06, 2004
"Emphasis should be placed on spiritual preparation of the feast of Christmas," he commanded all his priests.Cardinal Okogie asked his priests to organise retreats, novenas, penitential services and other devotions for the spiritual upliftment of the faithfuls.

(, November 30, 2004) Archbishop of Lagos Catholic Archdiocese, His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, has created three more new parishes and effected the posting of 19 priests.

In a statement made available by his Director of Social Communications, Reverend Father Gabriel Osu, names of the new Parishes include, Saints Alphonsus Catholic Church, Aboru, Theresa's Catholic Church, Epe and Anne's Catholic Church, Itire.

Okogie also announced new postings for 19 priests and will ordain four new priests on December 4.

Meanwhile, as Christians begin the advent season, commencing the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, Okogie has tasked reverend fathers and lay faithfuls on the need to be spiritually prepared for the season.

Okogie, in his monthly bulletin urged reverend fathers across the metropolitan ArchDiocese of Lagos to prepare the faithfuls ascetically and liturgically.

"Emphasis should be placed on spiritual preparation of the feast of Christmas," he commanded all his priests.

Cardinal Okogie asked his priests to organise retreats, novenas, penitential services and other devotions for the spiritual upliftment of the faithfuls.

Describing December as an important month for Christians, he urged Catholics to prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Lord, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as well as the feasts of Saint Stephens, St. John The Evangelist and the Holy Family.
English Lack of Faith in Youths and Elders and the Fight against it
Oct 21, 2004
In a Catholic bulletin issued recently, the Cardinal bemoaned lack of faith in youths and elders adding that by the lack of knowledge and confident their faith has brought about less spirituality.

(Source unknown, Aug. 12 2004) Consequently, he mandated parish priests to embark on accelerated catechesis and evangelisation so as to reverse the trend.

He equally suggested that the Catholic monthly forum for questions and answers should center on the Catholic faith as well as making the 2004 Catechetical Week booklet available to the faithful especially catechists and catechumens.

According to the Cardinal, the booklet will help deepen their understanding and practice of the faith Another adding that they should equally establish Basic Christian Communities (BCCS).
English Riches at the Expense of the Soul Lead to Eternal Damnation
Oct 21, 2004
The archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie said recently, that storing up earthly treasures at the expense of one's soul is like building a castle in the air adding human beings are pilgrims on earth who must give account of their earthly sojourn someday.

(Source unknown, Aug. 12 2004) The cardinal said storing up earthly treasures at the expense of the soul will lead to eternal damnation at last, adding that if this must be avoided, people must both resist the spirit of greed and also watch the kinds of friends they keep because many people have been led astray by bad friends.

The Cardinal emphasised that good and hard work are always rewarded if not by man it will certainly be by God, noting that what ever any one sows in the world, he will reap it from God.
English Nigerian Catholics told to be modest
Sept 09, 2004
Traditional Nigerian dress is preferred. Modesty is a big issue in Nigeria these days. Universities are introducing dress codes for their students. The country's Muslims in particular are going to greater lengths than ever to be seen to be dressing modestly.

(BBC,9 August, 2004) Muslim women newsreaders appear on television swathed in scarves.

Schoolgirls in the north, who would previously just have worn a small cotton headscarf with their uniform, now go to school in waist-length hijab, in somewhat Indonesian style.

Now the Catholic Church has joined the debate.

In his latest circular letter to parishes, the Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, under the heading "nudity", calls on priests not to allow in church what he calls "fashions promoting lust and immorality".

He says that any of the faithful wearing "clothes which reveal sensitive parts of the body such as the bust, chest, belly, or upper arms, transparent clothing or dresses with slits above the knees" should be "quietly asked to worship outside".

As for boys, it says there should be no "jerry curls [long curly hair], tight jeans or earrings".

Traditional dress

A Sunday morning visit to the Church of the Assumption, in the Ikoyi district of Lagos, showed the Archbishop's recommendations were being well observed.

Apart from one boy in tight jeans, everyone was looking very modest. Most women said they liked to wear traditional Nigerian dress to church - a blouse, wraparound skirt and some form of head-dress.

Many Catholics come from south-east Nigeria, and Sunday best for Ibo women means a lacy white blouse, a wrapper of fine woven cloth and an elaborate head-tie of stiff brocade or taffeta.

It's very, very wrong... Especially the ones showing the boobs - you don't do that in the presence of God

Many young girls wore an updated version of Nigerian dress - a long skirt and a nicely tailored, matching blouse. The most devout covered their heads with black, lacy scarves. Some of the men were in loose, pyjama-style Nigerian suits, others in western clothes.

Everyone I spoke to had heard of the Archbishop's campaign for modest dressing, and said they were wholly in agreement.

I heard outspoken condemnation of people who come to the house of God half-naked, diatribes against tight trousers, skimpy tops and "spaghetti straps".

Bride barred

Several women said they believed they should imitate the Holy Mother, Mary, and cover their heads, since she always appears in images with a veil.

And several of the congregation raised the issue of wedding dresses and the current fashion for brides to wear strapless, low-cut, evening-dress style outfits.

"It's very, very wrong," one woman told me. "Very, very wrong. Especially the ones showing the boobs - you don't do that in the presence of God." In fact, the wedding dress problem may have been the start of this whole campaign.

I was told that in a particularly notorious case, the parish priest in one Lagos church had refused to let the bride into the church for her own wedding.

He said he would wait for her all afternoon if he had to, but she would have to go home and put on more clothes.
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