For making reference to the Pope while defending his acceptance to serve as the Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, some members of the Catholic Church in Nigeria have called for the immediate suspension of Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State from the church.
Lalong had on Wednesday told newsmen at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that as a Catholic and papal knight, the Pope had not told him that it was wrong for him to lead the Muslim-Muslim presidential campaign team of the APC ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Some aggrieved members of the church, following the governor’s comment, blasted him for dragging the Church into disrepute and also dragging the Pope into the politics of the country.
Lalong has explained that it is not disregard for the Pope, Catholic Church, or Christianity as a whole. He expressed displeasure that part of the interview had been excised and used by politicians for propaganda and misinformation about his personality, faith, and political persuasion in order to give him a bad name.
It would be recalled that Dr Ben Amodu, the President of the Concerned Catholics in Nigeria (CCN), at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, opined that Lalong must tender an apology for maligning the name of the Pope and Christianity.
According to him, the leadership of the Catholic community in Nigeria must ensure that the governor was made to atone for his blasphemous statement about the Pope and the Catholic Church in public to serve as a deterrent to others.
“The fact that Governor Simon Bako Lalong, a practicing Catholic who supposedly knows that the Catholic Church is not involved in partisan politics, but still went ahead to insinuate that the pope is in support of his decision smacks a mockery of the revered Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world,” he said.
He condemned Lalong’s conduct as it is not reflective of the stance of the Pope and the Catholic Church in Nigeria and around the world concerning the political permutations in Nigeria.
2023: Catholic faithful call for Gov Lalong’s suspension over Pope comment