Election of new Pope - As Nigeria's estimated 20 million Catholics join their counterparts around the world to celebrate the emergence of a new Pope, the Nigerian media Thursday gave a big play to the election of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as the new head of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
The 76-year-old Bergoglio, who will be known as Pope France I, was elected in the fifth round of ballot at the Vatican on Wednesday night, becoming the first South American to occupy the exalted position.
'Argentine, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is new Pope' was how the Vanguard newspaper reported the emergence of a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned last month on health grounds.
Argentine Bergoglio emerges new Pope' was the headline in the Punch, while The Nation reported: 'Pope Francis: Pray for me.'
'Pray for me, Pope Francis tells....' (Sun); 'Francis is peoples' Pope' (Guardian) and 'Argentina's Francis I is new Pope' (Peoples Daily) were some of the other headlines,
Meanwhile, in one of the earliest reactions to the election of the Pope, the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, has congratulated the new Pope.
“We are excited that we have a new Pope. We have been praying that God will give us a man according to His own mind and heart. We believe that God has answered our prayers and whoever is there is God’s own plan for the church.
“He (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) began his ministry by praying with the people and asking them to pray for him too. That shows that he is a man of faith. He talked about evangelism and we are truly delighted that God would use him to expand the church,” he said
Asked whether he expected an African Pope to emerge, Martins told the Guardian newspaper: “I was expecting the best person to emerge and God has given us the person He wants to be there, so we are happy.”