Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong has reaffirmed his loyalty, commitment, and faith in the Catholic Church as well as the desire to always be a good ambassador wherever he finds himself.
Governor Lalong was speaking at the 19th General Assembly of the Archdiocese of Jos held at the St. Louis Parish Jos with the theme ‘‘The Eucharist our Strength Towards a Better Nigeria”.
The Director of Press and Public Affairs to Lalong, Dr. Makut Simon Macham revealed in a statement, Tuesday, revealed that the governor who spoke about the importance of the Eucharist in his life said he continues to draw strength and inspiration from his relationship with God, as well as the teaching and upbringing he has received from the Catholic Church since childhood.
He, therefore, said the events of the past week relating to his utterance which generated controversy should not be used to judge his love, respect, and loyalty to the Catholic Church which strongly teaches forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, and repentance.
He said “When there is unity, love, and continuity, we can do better and greater than things for the Lord. 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 State and Nigeria as God’s field and God’s building where we can all play our roles in fulfilling His purpose”.
Lalong also said his roots as a Catholic have shaped his thinking and enabled him to see governance as a duty to serve the people irrespective of their differences and affiliations. Love, justice, fairness, and equity he said are his principal considerations at all times when decisions need to be taken, particularly difficult ones.
“We need this more than before in view of our elections coming up in 2023. I urge the Church to continue to pray for the success of the elections and also encourage the people to participate actively and peacefully. Staying away will only give room for the emergence of bad leaders that may not be suitable for the challenges of nation-building”.
He expressed the appreciation of his Government to the Archbishop and entire Catholic ArchDiocese of Jos for not only partnering with Government in several areas, but also offering encouragement, advices and prayers at all times.
Catholic Archbishop of Jos Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Ishaya Audu in his homily stressed the significance of the Eucharist which he said makes provision for Christians to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and work towards sacrificial service as well as being honest, diligent and kind.
Speaking on the apology tendered to the Catholic Church by Governor Lalong, the Archbishop said, “Your apology is accepted. As you know from our President of the Catholic Bishops Conference, has already accepted your apology and so it goes for all of us. We have accepted it and let be sincere”.
He said since the Church encourages its members to go into politics, the intention is for him to work at making a difference in his political endeavour in line with the mandate of the church to its members who are in politics.
While assuring him that the church will not disgrace him or allow him to fail, Archbishop Audu asked the Governor to advise the ruling party on the need for unity, national integration, and carrying all segments of the country which is the major concern being expressed by Christians on the Choice of the President and Vice-Presidential Candidate.