Abegunrin succeeds Job as Catholic archbishop of Ibadan
Forty bishops and archbishops, and 394 Roman catholic priests, hundreds of reverend sisters and brothers, the governors of Ekiti and Osun states, some deputy governors, senior government officials, monarchs and other traditional chiefs attended on Friday the canonical installation of His Grace, Most Reverend Dr. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin as the new Catholic Archbishop of Ibdan. He replaced retired Archbishop Felix Alaba Job, who has been in that position for more than 40 years. Abegunrin,, 64, ordained a priest for Oyo Diocese in April 1979, became the first bishop of Osogbo Diocese when it was created out of Oyo Diocese in May 1995. Abegun, from Iwere-Ile in Oyo State, holds a doctorate degree in Canon Law.
In his speech at the event, held at the SS Peter & Paul Catholic Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan, and witnessed by over 50,000 people, Job admonished Catholics in the archdiocese to give maximum support to his successor. He told Abegunrin that administering the arcdiocese is not easy but he should look up to God to help him manage it well. “Your journey of faith has just started. Let the good Lord guide you,” he told Abegunrin, and urged the congregation to give him all the support that he needs to evangelise successfully. Job said he had ordained all but two of the about 90 indigenous priests in the archdiocese which has more than 40 parishes.
In his homily, bishop Michael Fagun, the retired bishop of Ekiti diocese, urged Abegunrin not to be afraid of the responsibility of an archbishop as the Lord is with him. He urged him to “intensify your apostolic fervor more and more,” adding that “God will give him spiritual grip in Ibadan” which he described as a city in Nigeria “where no settler is a stranger.” “As the archbishop, the challenge of evangelising is great. It is not an office for pleasure. It is an office that that requires vision, sagacity, tolerance and God’s direction,” he concluded. In his response, Abegunrin, who will still continue to administer Osogbo Diocese till the Catholic Pontiff appoints a new bishop, called on God to help him in his new task. He urged Catholic faithfuls to support him in his new assignmant.