The world stood still on the ides of March when the Chief Shepherd of Kafanchan Diocese, Most Reverend Dr Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, MFR, was committed to mother earth having transited to heaven on Tuesday the 27th day of February 2018. Over 100,000 mourners including about 3,000 Priests and Bishops thronged the Kafanchan Stadium on the 15th of March to bid farewell to this Courageous and highly charismatic man of God of Southern Kaduna extraction, who also was the voice of hope, voice of the voiceless and the voice against the killings and persecution of northern Christians.
Bishop Bagobiri, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Kafanchan was born on 8th November 1957, ordained priest on 11th June 1983 after which he left for further studies. On his return he served in different capacities in Kaduna Archdiocese and later became the first African and youngest Cathedral Administrator of the St Joseph’s Cathedral Kaduna; because of his enviable performance, from there he was posted to Kano as the first Vicar General and Vicar Delegate MISSIO SUI IURIS Kano from 1991 till he was appointed Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese in 1995.
He was the youngest Bishop in Nigeria when he was appointed. Bishop Bagobiri was a Bridge Builder and a rallying point for Northern Christians, Catholics and non- Catholics. He also led the six man CAN delegation to the 2014 National Confab. Bishop Bagobiri was a prayer warrior having been a strong member of the Charismatic Renewal since his seminary days till death. He achieved his life ambition of becoming a Monk when last year , 2017, he moved out of the Bishop’s house to the Monastery he established, to join the Beatitudean Frairs of Mount Fayit there in Kafanchan! He was an Icon of pastoral and socio-economic development.
Some of his accomplishments include, establishment of two Congregations, one for males and one for females, the Sisters of the Beatitudes who as at date have many professed sisters and some finally professed ; Bishop Bagobiri increased the number of Parishes from the 19 he met to 52; the number of Priests from 22 Priests to 120; number of Secondary Schools from two to 28 ; almost every Parish has a nursery and primary school; he also established a seminary and an Institute, the Albertine Institute of Higher Education- a degree awarding institution.
When he became Bishop 22 years ago, there were only two Priests with PhD and others mainly first degree. He turned that around to deliver one of the best set of trained priests in Nigeria, where almost every priest in Kafanchan has a Masters degree with 13 PhDs! Three of his priests and two Reverend Sisters are currently studying Medicine in the United States and in the Philippines.
In the area of economic, health and agriculture , he established a filling station, a bakery, five health Centres, a dialysis Centre, procurement of improved seeds and fertilizer at cheap rate for farmers, sponsor mechanization of farming and lots more. In describing his home Bishop, Bishop Kukah of Sokoto Diocese said, ” he had a larger than life profile. He was a dedicated son of the church, a worthy Shepherd to his flock, and a committed patriot who loved his country and his people. He lived a life of dedicated sacrifice and commitment to a fair and just society.
“ Indeed the Catholic world has lost one of its best, an upright and dedicated Shepherd whom Pope Francis mourns as follows ” I am deeply saddened to learn of the untimely death of the Most Reverend Joseph Danlami Bagobiri, Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese,…. recalling with gratitude his years of devoted Priestly and Episcopal ministry and commends his soul to our Heavenly Father’s merciful love” ADIEU our beloved Bishop.
Rest in the Lord’s bosom.