Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, has again apologised to the Catholic Bishops over his recent comment on Pope Francis.
He made the apology at the opening Mass for the 2022 General Assembly of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, yesterday.
The governor recently said the Pope endorsed his appointment as Director General of the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket, a comment which angered majority of Catholics and Christians alike.
Lalong, who attended the event as Special Guest of Honour, said his comment was misconstrued to be disrespect to the Pope. The governor, who said he was human and could make mistakes sought forgiveness from Catholics all over the world.
“I have apologised, I hope my apology is granted and I’m forgiven. I feel very fine now and as we go forward, I will be more careful. Anytime I make mistakes, I don’t feel ashamed to seek for forgiveness and this is why in the Catholic Church we go to the priests for confession every Saturday. I’m not perfect and I will not be afraid of making mistakes.”
He urged the church not to relent in supporting government’s policies and programmes and also urged politicians to unite and work toward the progress and development of the state, insisting that such unity was needed for growth of the state.
“May I appeal to my colleagues, my brothers and sisters in politics to take a cue from the example displayed by the Catholic Church by closing ranks and seeing ourselves as God’s workers. That way, we can see Plateau and Nigeria as God’s field and build where we can all play our roles in fulfilling His purpose.
“Speaking for myself, I can say that my roots as a Catholic have shaped my thinking in this regard and enabled me to see governance as a duty to serve the people irrespective of their differences and affiliations. Love, justice, fairness and equity are my principal considerations at all times when decisions need to be taken, particularly difficult ones.”
Responding, Archbishop Matthew Audu of the Archdiocese, told the governor that his apology had been accepted. He said that the church encouraged its members to go into politics to make difference and stand for truth, justice and fairness at all times.
“Since our president has accepted your apology, so goes with all of us Bishops, but let this be a sincere apology and not that you are buying time. Yes, we encourage Catholics to go into politics to a make difference, but where you cannot make a difference, learn to say no. As a leader, learn to consult widely before taking any critical decision.”
Audu advised Nigerians, particularly Catholics to desist from making unpalatable statements against the governor and urged them to pray for him at all times.
On the APC Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, the archbishop advised politicians to desist from actions that would further tear the country apart.