The Nigerian President praised the new Pope as “the beloved champion of the underprivileged…”
President Goodluck Jonathan has, on behalf of himself, the Federal Government and all Nigerians, congratulated the new Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, on his historic election on Wednesday as the first Pope from the Americas and the 265th successor to the Chair of St Peter.
A congratulatory message signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Rueben Abati, stated that with Cardinal Bergoglio’s glowing antecedents as a great scholar, teacher, Catholic philosopher and very humane leader of the Church, Mr. Jonathan welcomes his election as successor to Benedict XVI as a divinely inspired choice by the College of Cardinals and an unequivocal testimony of God’s abiding presence in His Church and the world.
The statement said President Jonathan joins Catholics in Nigeria and other countries of the world in praying for God’s blessings and Divine guidance for Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis as he assumes the papacy, trusting that he will put his acclaimed qualities and devoutness to the best possible use in resolutely guiding the Church through the many challenges it currently faces.
It said President Jonathan and the Federal Government look forward to further enhancing the already cordial and excellent relationship between Nigeria and the Vatican under the leadership of Pope Francis, the beloved champion of the underprivileged and renowned crusader for global equity and social justice.
“The President also looks forward to collaborating with Pope Francis and the Holy See in working towards the realization of a much more secure, peaceful and just world order.
“As he prepares for his formal installation and ascension to the Papacy on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, the President prays that God Almighty will grant Pope Francis continued good health and strength, and the even greater knowledge, wisdom, understanding and divine insights he requires to successfully maintain the positive traditions of the Catholic Church and discharge the sacred Petrine Mission entrusted to him.
“He wishes Pope Francis a blessed and successful tenure” the statement read.