Mrs Oluremi Oyo, the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), is now a ‘Dame’ of the Catholic Church.
The honour was conferred last May on her and two other Nigerian women by Pope Benedict XVI, with the investiture done today at Our Lady of Fatimah Catholic Cathedral, Kano.
Mrs Aminat Yakowa, wife of Gov. Patrick Yakowa and Prof. Esther Oyeyi were the other two conferred with the Papal Dames of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI.
It is the highest recognition the Catholic Church can accord any Lay Person.
She expressed delight at the honour, saying it was “unbelievable’’ that she could be accorded the greatest recognition by the Catholic Church.
“I give glory and honour to our Lord Jesus Christ and our Mother Mary for all her intercession for me and the members of my family.
“ I am proud of the Catholic pedigree that my late parents; Mr Gabriel Oke and Mrs Julianah Oke, gave me.
“And I see my recognition by the Catholic Church in line with what my husband said today as a testimony to the work that my father, who was a carpenter, was employed to do for the Catholic Church in Ilorin, Kwara State in those years.’’
Oyo also said that she was happy for the Christian and Catholic faith tutelage that her mother gave her while growing up and her staunch belief in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
She also expressed appreciation to her parents-in-law, her husband, children and grand children who are also grounded in the Catholic faith.
Oyo said that all those contributed to strengthening her faith in the Catholic Church doctrines and teachings.
“If I have a thousand tongues, they will not be enough to praise God Almighty, more today that I am a recipient of the highest honour in the Catholic Church.’’
She said that the Grace of God saw her through secondary school in Kano.
“This happened when, as an 11 year-old girl, I got admission to St. Louis Catholic Secondary School, Kano, which was so far away from Ilorin, where my parents and myself were domiciled.’’
Oyo also thanked God for using the Reverend Sisters of Saint Louis to nominate her alongside two other old students as the recipients of the Papal Dames’ Awards.
She expressed appreciation to Bishop John Niyiring of the Catholic Diocese of Kano, who nominated them to Pope Benedict XVI for his apostolic approval and blessing.
“We can not thank His Holiness, Benedict XVI enough for bestowing these awards on us.
“It remains for me to pledge once again as I did in Church during the mass that all the days of my life, I will continue to serve God and propagate the Catholic Church’s faith and teachings.’’
She also promised to champion the cause of the girl-child and ensure that they occupy their rightful place in the society.
“I have seen what it is to educate a girl and I know that when you educate one, you educate a whole nation and as I had been committed to their cause before, I will continue with the same zeal.’’
Bishop John Niyiring, (OSA) of the Catholic Diocese, Kano performed the investiture.
He presented each of them with the insignia of office and the booklet containing their duties and responsibilities to the Catholic Church.