Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau State, on Wednesday, berated Christians opposing his appointment as the Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organisation, saying that as a Catholic with the highest Papal award, the Pope has not told him what he is doing is wrong.
The Governor speaking with State House journalists after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, stated that as a recipient of Knight of Saint Gregory, he remains a staunch Catholic.
He assured that his new responsibility to market a Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, will not reduce his faith in God as a Christian.
Lalong, who maintained that he respects his faith as a Christian, noted that he was elected governor for people of all faiths and non-believers, adding that since politics is about interest, he is a member of the APC and will not engage in anti-party activities.
“As a Governor, I am responsible for people of all religions in Plateau,” Lalong said.
He said when he returned to Jos upon his appointment as the DG recently, the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), welcomed him.
The governor said he is therefore not sure where those who claimed to be Christians and are opposing his appointment as against their faith are coming from.
Lalong said he met the President to thanked him for the approval for several projects cited in Plateau State as well as the Presidential pardon granted to former Governor of the State, Joshua Dariye and his Taraba State counterpart, Jolly Nyame who were recently released from incarceration.
Speaking on the ongoing controversy over the reconstruction of the Jos main market, Lalong berated those opposing the market reconstruction by Jaiz Bank.
He noted that the market which is being reconstructed at the cost of about N10b by the bank, will see an expansion from the current 2500 shops to 4500 shops with car park, Police post and fire service post.
“The allottees will have 40 years grace period for repayment, while the sharing formula is 40/60 in favour of the Plateau State government and Jaiz bank respectively,” he said.
“In business, there is no religious considerations. Those opposing us on this market are not sincere. Aliko Dangote is a Muslim, yet his major investment is in Lagos, similarly, there are Plateau indigenes who are building empires in the far north, investing and developing those communities.”
He noted that the market had been burnt for over 25 years, but successive governments have not been able to rebuild it.
“We put up adverts for the rebuilding the market for six years. One of the new generation banks had approached us with the intention to rebuild the market at the cost of N30b, but asked us to bank guarantee which we couldn’t afford.
“I am here in dual capacity as Governor of Plateau and Campaign Director General of the Tinubu/ Shettima Presidential campaign Council.”
He commended President Buhari for approving a N3b Cancer center, an orthopedic center and a Federal Polytechnic, for the state.
“ We also appreciates Mr. President for establishing the Pankshin Federal University of Education and Zonal Law School for North Central, in Jos, Plateau state,” Lalong said.