Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, has been condemned for referencing the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, as justification for accepting the role of APC’s campaign director general.
Lalong had told journalists on Wednesday, after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, that as a Catholic, the Pope had not told him it was wrong to take the
However, National convener and president of Concerned Catholics in Nigeria, Dr. Ben Amodu, described the statement as “maligning the name of the Pope for his advantage and that of his party.”
Amodu expressed shock that Lalong would elect to throw caution to the wind by insinuating he had the support of the Pope.
He said citing the Pope in a purely local political matter was “to the detriment of the collective sensibilities of other Catholics in Nigeria and around the world.”
“The reference to the Pope in his statement for accepting to serve as the Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council was made in poor taste and a puerile attempt to drag the Catholic Church into a matter that has no bearing with the Pope…Concerned Catholics in Nigeria condemns such despicable conduct as it is not reflective of the stance of the Pope and the Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world concerning the political permutations in Nigeria..
“The desperation of the APC in forcing its Muslim-Muslim ticket down the throats of Nigerians is alarming, and more curious is the fact that Governor Simon Lalong, a practising Catholic who supposedly knows that the Catholic Church is not only involved in partisan politics, but still went ahead to insinuate that the Pope is in support of his decision smacks a mockery of the revered Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world…Governor Lalong must consequently tender an unreserved apology to the Catholic community in Nigeria for dragging the Pope into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. It remains unjustifiable and as much condemnable.”
However, Governor Lalong has clarified that his reference to the Pope was a mark of reverence and high esteem and not disregard for the Catholic pontiff, the church or christianity.
In a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Macham, the governor said he was misunderstood and misrepresented by many.
“My reference to the Holy Father, the Pope was to emphasise that as a Christian born and raised in the Catholic faith, accepting the assignment given to me by my party the APC of which I am a founding member, does not in any way remove my faith in Jesus Christ or my commitment to the Church in Nigeria and universally.
“Those who know me can attest to my respect for the church, christianity and spiritual fathers of all denominations. They know my modest contribution to the growth of the Church in Plateau State, Northern Nigerian and Nigeria at large and can testify to it,” he said.
Source: National Pivot