Simon Lalong, DG of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organization, has stated that he will not step down from his position.
Even Pope, according to Lalong, is not against his appointment.
Lalong, a devout Catholic and the governor of Plateau, claimed that the Pope had not informed him that opting to head the Muslim-Muslim APC presidential ticket went against Christian principles.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), certain organizations held protests in Abuja to urge Lalong to decline the offer to lead the APC presidential campaign organization.
But the governor insisted that he wouldn’t turn down his new post only to appease some people or organizations.
”The Pope is not angry with my decision to be the DG of the Muslim-Muslim presidential campaign.
“I came back home and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) welcomed me at the airport.
”The next day I addressed stakeholders of Plateau and I told them why I’m accepting and then there was jubilation, all of them accepted.
“So, if you see people talking about me rejecting, I have accepted already – is not an issue. Some of them have already keyed into it – I’m a Christian. If you watch my TVC interview I saw, I was born a Catholic, baptized a Catholic, confirmed a Catholic.
“Today, I went through missionary schools. I was taught by missions I respect my being a Christian.
“I have been given the highest award by the Pope, I still hold that award – the highest Papal Award, I want people to know, Knight of Saint Gregory the Great, I have it and one day if you want I will wear my uniform and come here. So those who are talking it I don’t even know where they are.
“I hold a Papal night and as a catholic everything we do, we do it and send the advice to the Pope.
“The Pope has not told me that what I’m doing (to accept Director General) is bad – As a catholic, we take that direction.
“But, generally as a governor of a state, I’m not responsible to only my faith. I’m responsible to other people who belong to other faiths, who are not even Muslims or Christians’’.
He challenged Nigerians to move past their racial or religious prejudices.
Lalong asserted that since he had already agreed to the position, no one could stop him from carrying out his duties.
Lalong claimed he was visiting the Presidential Villa to express his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for pardoning Joshua Dariye, the former governor of the state, and for approving the University of Jos as a national cancer center.
According to him, the people of Plateau will remain grateful to the president for delivering a lot of democratic dividends to the state.
“My visit to the President is to come and show him appreciation because of what he has done for Plateau State in the last few months.
”Just a week or two ago, we just got approval to make the University of Jos a Cancer Centre.
“I saw over N3 billion approved for the institution as a special centre for cancer. So, it’s not a small achievement.
“Recently, the President approved the establishment of an orthopaedic hospital in Jos, Plateau; the only one in North-Central.
“He also approved the establishment of a Federal Medical Centre in Wase. Another one is the Federal Polytechnic Shendam, which is almost starting this year in October to be precise.
“The president has also approved the conversion of the Federal College of Education, Pankshin, to a Federal University of Education and immediately approved the establishment of another Federal Vollege of Education in the state.
“We were just celebrating that one then we also heard of the establishment of a Zonal campus of the Nigerian Law School for North-Central in Jos.
“We cannot have all these achievements and not come and show appreciation to the president,” he said.