Cardinals are very close advisers to any Pope and each of them stand a chance of becoming pope if the reigning pontiff were to die.

They are also the ones who choose new popes.

In Nigeria, there are only three of them – Cardinals Francis Arinze, Olubunmi Okogie, and John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan.

So, on Sunday, Pope Francis promoted 14 archbishops to the high rank of cardinal but did not name any new one from Nigeria.

The pope who made the surprise announcement on the new cardinals during his weekly Sunday address, said the ceremony to elevate the nominees, known as a consistory, would take place on June 29.

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According to Vatican News, the men who will receive their red hats from the Pope include bishops from Iraq, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Italy and Japan.

Pope Francis said their nominations “manifest the unbreakable bond between the See of Peter and the local Churches throughout the world”.

Alongside them, Pope Francis also nominated to the College of Cardinals, a retired archbishop of Mexico, a retired bishop of Bolivia and a priest from the Claretian order, all of whom, he said, “have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church”.

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