London - Nigerians across Europe have welcomed the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis I, describing him as "God's own choice".
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pope Francis 1, the 266th Pope, was elected on Wednesday evening at the Vatican following an intense process which began on Tuesday afternoon.
Speaking on the development, Mr Collins Nweke, Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora (NIDO) Europe, said: "There is a divine angle to the choice of Pope Francis I."
The NIDO chairman said if Bergoglio was not destined to be Pope, someone else would have emerged given the tight contest which characterised his election.
He, however, expressed hope that an African would someday emerge as a Pontiff.
In a similar vein, Mr Peter Agbo, member, Central Association of Nigerians in UK (CANUK), said the Pope's election was a “historic moment, as he is the first non-European Pope"
"I am particularly happy with his choice. As a Catholic, I had joined other faithful the world over in prayers for God's will to prevail in the election.
"Thank God for this choice. Latin America has a large concentration of Catholic faithful, and aside from that, we are similar culturally," Agbo said.
He said the coming of an Argentine as a pope was an indication there was hope for an African in the future.
Others who spoke to the Western Europe Correspondent of NAN also expressed optimism that the new pontiff would sanitise the Catholic Church.
They based their hope on the fact that the Catholic Church had been associated with homosexuality and corruption, among other claims in recent times.
Pope Francis I, is a 76-year-old, and the first non-European to be elected for almost 1 300 years and the first-ever member of the Jesuit Order.
He replaces Pope Benedict XVI who resigned on Feb. 28 at the age of 85, as a result of ill health.