His Eminence Late Dominic Ekandem

1976-1986
Dominic Ignatius Ekandem (1917 – 24 November, 1995), was a Roman Catholic cardinal and was the first 

Dominic Ignatius Ekandem (1917 – 24 November, 1995), was a Roman Catholic cardinal and was the first West African Catholic Bishop. He also founded the Missionary Society of Saint Paul of Nigeria (M.S.P.).

A native of Akwa Ibom State, Ekandem attended several Catholic seminaries before he became a priest. He was ordained on the 7th of  December 1947, and became the first priest from the old Calabar province. His first assignment as bishop was as auxiliary of Calabar from 1953 to 1963. He was Bishop of Ikot Ekpene from 1963 to 1981; during that tenure, in April 1976, he was installed a cardinal. He then became Ecclesiastical Superior of Abuja, and when Abuja became an Arc-diocese in 1989, he became its Archbishop (personal title).

 

A key figure in Nigeria and in its faith-growth, up to his death in 1995, Cardinal Ekandem was the first Anglophone West-African Bishop – the first of many, and an outstanding churchman of the 20th Century.

He was the first president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), serving from 1976 to 1988, establishing structures for the association, and setting the pace to ensure that Christianity in Nigeria grows from strength to strength.