Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong has again apologized to the Catholic Bishops for his recent comment on Pope Francis.
He apologized during the opening Mass of the 2022 General Assembly of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos yesterday.
The governor recently said the pope had endorsed his nomination as the presidential campaign manager of the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a comment that angered the majority of Catholics and Christians.
Lalong, who attended the event as a special guest of honor, said his comment was misinterpreted as disrespecting the pope. The governor, who said he was human and could make mistakes, asked forgiveness from Catholics around the world.
“I apologized, I hope my apology is granted and I am forgiven. I feel very good now and as we move forward I will be more careful. Whenever I make mistakes, I don’t have shame to ask for forgiveness and that is why in the Catholic Church we go every Saturday to the priests to confess.I am not perfect and I will not be afraid of making mistakes.
He urged the Church not to slacken its support for government policies and programs and also urged politicians to unite and work for the progress and development of the state, insisting that such unity was necessary for the growth of the state.
“May I appeal to my colleagues, my brothers and sisters in politics to be inspired by the example displayed by the Catholic Church by closing ranks and considering us as workers of God. In this way, we can see the Plateau and Nigeria as God’s field and build where we can all play our part in accomplishing His purpose.
“For my part, I can say that my roots as a Catholic have shaped my thinking in this regard and allowed me to see governance as a duty to serve people regardless of their differences and affiliations. Love, justice, justice and fairness are my main considerations at all times when decisions have to be made, especially the most difficult ones.
In response, Archbishop Matthew Audu of the archdiocese told the governor his apology had been accepted. He said the church encourages its members to get involved in politics to make a difference and stand up for truth, justice and fairness at all times.
“As our president has accepted your apology, so do all of us bishops, but let it be a sincere apology and not a stall for you. Yes, we encourage Catholics to get into politics to make a difference , but where you can’t tell the difference, learn to say No. As a leader, learn to consult widely before making a critical decision.
Audu advised Nigerians, especially Catholics, to refrain from making distasteful statements against the Governor and urged them to pray for him at all times.
On the Muslim-Muslim APC presidential ticket, the Archbishop advised politicians to refrain from actions that would further tear the country apart.