Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the former Catholic Archbishop and now Apostolic Administrator of Jos, has cleared the air on his recent appointment as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese.
A Coadjutor is a bishop who assists a diocesan bishop and often has the right of succession.
Kaigama, who addressed a news conference on Tuesday in Jos, said his appointment as Coadjutor Archbishop followed the retirement of John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of the See of Abuja.
Pope Francis had on March 11 appointed Kaigama as the apostolic administrator of Jos, where he served as its chief Shepherd in the last 19 years, and to also oversee the affairs of the Abuja Archdiocese.
According to the prelate, his appointment does not stop Cardinal Onaiyekan from exercising authority over the archdiocese, adding that he (Onaiyekan) remains the Archbishop until the Pope appoints a substantive chief Shepherd for the archdiocese.
He said: “You will recall that on March 11, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, appointed me as the Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese.
“The appointment of Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja does not, however, mean John Cardinal Onaiyekan ceases to exercise authority over the archdiocese
“In fact, he still remains the Archbishop until the Holy Father accepts his resignation and I am canonically installed in a liturgical ceremony.”
Kaigama also explained that he would continue to oversee the affairs of the archdiocese of Jos until a suitable candidate was appointed to replace him.
He said: “At the same time, the Pope has appointed me the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Jos.
“I will continue my duties of tending to the Lord’s flock in the archdiocese of Jos, meeting all my appointments and schedules and fulfilling all my normal pastoral duties.
“I remain the apostolic administrator, pending the time a new archbishop of Jos is appointed and duly canonically installed.”
Kaigama acknowledged that with the double appointment, the task would be enormous, but added that with the support, prayers and cooperation of his priests and members of the Church, he would surmount any challenge.
He, however, called on Catholics in Jos and Abuja archdioceses to continue to pray for him and all those in positions of authority to succeed.