Plateau Governor Simon Bako Lalong has said his reference to Catholic Pope Francis on his appointment as Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Council was out of reverence and not disregard for the Holy Father, Catholic or Christianity.
Lalong on Wednesday told State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa that as a Catholic and Papal Knight, the Pope cannot tell him it is wrong to accept the appointment.
The Governor said it was unfortunate that part of the interview has been excised and used by politicians for propaganda and misinformation about his personality, faith and political persuasion.
According to him: “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 stressed he has the highest regard for Christians and Church authorities and will continue to work hard in promoting the interests of Christians and adherents of other religions based on love, justice, equity and fairness which are encouraged in the Holy Bible and the Constitution of Nigeria.
He said the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was not on religious basis as even Christians voted for him during the APC primary.
Lalong, in a statement by his spokesman, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, however, appealed to Nigerians irrespective of religious persuasions to unite and work towards addressing the major challenges of the nation by actively participating in the political process and ensuring they push forward their interests rather than allowing religious sentiments to override their desire to assess issues from a wholistic perspective.