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Kevin Joseph Aje

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Kevin Joseph Aje (born 25 April 1934) served as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Nigeria, from 1985 to 2011.

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Bishop Kevin J. Aje was born on 25 April 1934 in Amper District in Pankshin Division (now: Kanke Local Government Area of Plateau state). Aje received his elementary education in Amper, Pankshin, Kwa and Shendam respectively. After his elementary education, he trained as a local teacher and practiced for a year before proceeding to study for the Catholic Priesthood. Aje studied for his Secondary School Certificate in St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, Oke-Are, Ibadan.

Priesthood[edit | edit source]

Aje further studied Philosophy and Theology in the prestigious Saints Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija, Ibadan. On completion of his formation, Rev. Kevin Aje was ordained a Catholic Priest on June 12, 1966 in Jos, by Bishop Reddington, SMA for the Diocese of Jos.

As a priest, Aje served as the Education Secretary of the Diocese of Jos, Coordinator of Justice and Peace, and the Diocesan Secretary. In the Civil Society, he served as a member of the Plateau State Education Board and Plateau State Scholarship Board. In 1977 to 1983, he also served as a member of the Plateau State Teachers Service Commission.

Episcopate[edit | edit source]

In 1977, Aje was appointed the Cathedral Administrator of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Cathedral, Jos. In 1982, he was elected as the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto. He was ordained to the episcopate by Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1983 in Rome to succeed Bishop Michael James Dempsey OP. He was officially installed the Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto on April 28, 1985; thus becoming the third Bishop and first native Nigerian Bishop of Sokoto Diocese.[1][2] On 11 December 1988 during a Catholic conference in Sokoto, Aje launched a "Mobilaity Programme", encouraging Catholic laypersons to take a more active role in their pursuit of religious salvation.[3]

During Aje's episcopacy, Nigeria regained democracy, and also elected its first Muslim president. Prior to the Nigerian general election in 2007, Aje and other Christian leaders urged Nigerians to vote "for a president willing to accommodate all shades of religious views against the diverse background and ethnic composition of Africa's biggest nation".[4] Aje encountered difficulties in trying to build new churches in a predominantly Muslim state,[5] but was enthusiastic about Pope John Paul II's desire for the Legion of Christ to make a special effort in Europe to recover the faith that had done so much good elsewhere.[6] Throughout his tenure he appealed to the Sokoto and Zamfara state governments for a land grant that would allow the Catholic Church to construct a hospital, but his requests went unheeded.[7]

Retirement[edit | edit source]

Bishop Kevin J. Aje served as the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto for twenty six years before his retirement in 2011. During his Episcopacy, he served as the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Sokoto State Chapter for 10 years.[8] On September 8, 2011, Aje was succeeded by Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah (former Msgr. Kukah).[9] In 2016, Bishop Emeritus Aje celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination.[2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Former Bishops | Catholic Diocese of Sokoto". catholicdiocese-sokoto.org. Retrieved 2016-11-15. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Pioneer African Bishop Of Sokoto Dioceses Celebrates 50 Years Of Priestly Ordination". Nigerian News. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2018. 
  3. Ojo 2004, pp. 103–104.
  4. Minchakpu, Obed. "Nigerian Christian leaders seek 'accommodating' Muslim president". Africa Files. Retrieved 12 November 2018. 
  5. Agbo, Francis (3 November 2003). "Nigeria: Stifling the Faith". All Africa. Retrieved 12 November 2018. 
  6. De Velasco, Jose Martinez (2014). "1.4: Maciel espía a los opisbos". Los documentos secretos de los Legionarios de Cristo. Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial España. ISBN 9788490199169. Retrieved 12 November 2018. 
  7. Ojo 2006, p. 327.
  8. Eyoboka, Sam (11 June 2010). "Elections: Sokoto CAN alleges intimidation". Vanguard Nigeria. Retrieved 12 November 2018. 
  9. "Bishop Mathew Kukah | Catholic Diocese of Sokoto". catholicdiocese-sokoto.org. Retrieved 2016-11-15. 

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

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