Onaiyekan, John Olorunfemi
Order in College: Cardinal Priest
With Title: San Saturnino
Native Country: Nigeria
Appointed by: Pope Benedict XVI on 24 November 2012
Ecclesiastical Office:  Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria 
Papal Elector: Eligible; Ineligible on 29 January 2024

Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan was born on 29 January 1944 in Kabba, Nigeria. In 1963 he entered Sts Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Bodija. Two years later he went to Rome to complete his formation at the Pontifical Urban College of Propaganda Fide and that same year, 1969, he was ordained a priest on 3 August. He taught at St Kizito s College, Isanlu, and was Rector of St Clement Junior Seminary, Lokoja. He earned a licence in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute and a doctorate in biblical theology at the' Pontifical Urban University. In 1977 he became Vice-Rector and, in 1979, Rector, of Sts Peter and Paul Major Seminary. In 1980 Fr Onaiyekan was appointed a member for five years of the International Theological Commission and also of the International Commission for Catholic-Methodist Dialogue. On 10 September 1982 John Paul II appointed him titular Bishop of Thunusuda and Auxiliary of the Diocese of Llorina. Pope Wojtyła conferred episcopal ordination upon him and 13 other bishops in St Peter's on 6 January 1983. He thus became the youngest bishop in Nigeria. On 20 October 1984 the Pope named him Bishop of Ilorin, and, six years later, Coadjutor Bishop of Abuja, to which he succeeded as Bishop in 1992. From 1992 to 2006 he served as a member of the inter-denominational Faith and Order Commission. On 26 March 1994, when the Pope established Abuja as a Metropolitan See, he became its first Archbishop. That same year he was elected Vice-President of the Bishops Conference of Nigeria, of which he was President from 1999 to 2006. He welcomed John Paul II on his Apostolic Visit to Nigeria in 1998 and played a major role among the African bishops and in organizations for interreligious and ecumenical dialogue. He was President of the Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa and from 2004 to 2007, served as President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar. A member of the Nigeria Interreligious Council, he served as Co-President from 2007 to 2010. He was Co-President of the African Council of Religious Leaders and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria of which he had been Vice-President from 1996 to 2003. He played an important part in various Synods and was appointed by Benedict XVI to serve as a Synod He served as a father at the recent Synod on the New Evangelization. He is well known for his tireless work for peace in Nigeria, and, especially in the face of the recent escalation of violence, has always appealed for understanding between the members of the various religions, and in particular for dialogue with the Muslims. He has received decorations at home and abroad, including, last 31 October, in Brussels, the Pax Christi International Prize assigned to people combat violence and injustice today. He was also a candidate for the Nobel Prize, together with a Muslim exponent of Nigeria, with whom he promoted a series of initiatives against fundamentalism.