President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday joined the rest of world leaders in congratulating the new Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina on his election as the first Pope from the Latin America and 265th successor to the Chair of St Peter.
A statement by the President's Spokesperson, Dr. Reuben Abati, observed that: "With Cardinal Bergoglio's glowing antecedents as a great scholar, teacher, Catholic philosopher and very humane leader of the Church, President Jonathan welcomes his election as successor to Pope Benedict XVI."
The President stated that his election was "a divinely inspired choice by the College of Cardinals and an unequivocal testimony of God's abiding presence in His Church and the world."
Jonathan, who joined Catholics in Nigeria and other countries in praying for God's blessings and divine guidance for Pope Francis 1, as he assumed the papacy, said he believed that the new Pope would put his acclaimed qualities and devoutness to the best use in resolutely guiding the Church through the many challenges it currently faces.
He added that Nigeria and himself look forward to further enhancing the already cordial and excellent relationship between Nigeria and the Vatican under the leadership of Pope Francis, who he described as "the beloved champion of the underprivileged and renowned crusader for global equity and social justice."
The President also noted that he was looking forward to collaborating with Pope Francis in working towards the realisation of a much more secure, peaceful and just world.
While praying that God should grant the Pope good health and strength, and the even greater knowledge, wisdom, in discharging the sacred Petrine Mission entrusted to him, President Jonathan, however, wished him a blessed and successful tenure.