Gov. Lalong apologises to Catholic Bishops for slurs.


For his "blasphemous" comments regarding Pope Francis, Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State and the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Campaign have issued an apology.

He offered the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria an unqualified apologies (CBCN).

He acknowledged that it was a mistake on his behalf to link the Catholic Pontiff with Nigeria's politics and pleaded for pardon and understanding from the Catholic Church via the Bishops' conference.

Even as a Papal Knight of St. Gregory, some Catholics had before expressed disapproval of his choice of language and demanded his immediate expulsion from the Church.

In a letter titled "Letter of Apology" and dated August 12, 2022, Governor Lalong assured of his continued commitment to the Catholic faith and promised to keep upholding the banner of the Christian faith in public life. The letter was addressed to the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

"I have followed the reactions that have followed my appointment as the Director-General of the Campaign Council for the Presidential Candidates of our Party, the All Progressive Congress, APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Ibrahim Shettima," said Governor Lalong. "I have been shocked and deeply regretful."

He continued by saying that the appointment, predictably, elicited a range of responses from the Christian community, who really felt wronged by the party's choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

He continued by saying that while many applauded him for the appointment and saw it as a means to fight for their own interests while still being part of the system, others criticised it on the grounds that their faith had been disparaged and disrespected.

According to Governor Lalong, several of his opponents used this as a political talking point, spreading rumours and casting doubt on his qualifications as a Catholic and a Papal Knight.

"In trying to make my case," he said, "I have given interviews to support my belief that the appointment did not in any way undermine my commitment to the Catholic Church," adding that during the week, he had occasion to mention his qualifications as a Catholic and a Papal Knight in the course of defending himself.

He claims that he now understands that he may have overreached himself in attempting to defend his individual decision to accept the appointment, and that the reference to the holy father was not meant as an act of disrespect to his exalted and revered position. He claims that it has caused some level of concern and even embarrassment to many, especially the members of the family of Papal Knights to which he belongs.

By means of this written letter, Governor Lalong said, "Your Grace, I wish to tender my unreserved apologies and ask for their understanding and forgiveness from my brothers in the Catholic faith and, via you, the full members of the Bishops' Conference, our Fathers and our Leaders."

Governor Lalong went on to say that he would continue to uphold the banner of his faith in public life as he has over the years, highlighting that in the last five or so years. He added that his commitment to the Catholic faith to which he belongs remained unreserved and undiluted.


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