By Lawani Mikairu
The Governor of Plateau State and the Director General of the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation, Simon Lalong is set to use his new position to promote unity in diversity, which is what Nigeria needs now.
Plateau State Commissioner of Land, Survey and Town Planning, Yakubu Dati who disclosed this said that Lalong is rallying critical stakeholders from every part of the country to work together in pursuit of harmony, peace and togetherness, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) push to win the Presidential election in 2023.
According to Dati , by taking the appointment of Director General of Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation Lalong wanted to provide a counterforce against the divisive interpretation of the well-calculated political decision, which would benefit the ruling party, knowing that beyond politics, religion is meant to promote peace, love and unity, but could be manipulated for political purposes, which is happening now to overheat the system.
“Governor Lalong is rising above the fault lines of religion and ethnicity to project religious tolerance and steer the nation away from plunging into the tenterhooks of war, to setting the building blocks for harmony and peaceful coexistence. Lalong would shun what divides citizens, drawing from his personal experience where his kith and kin are made of a fine mix of Christians and Muslims living in harmony, to build on this long desired unity,” he said.
The Governor was in the Villa on Wednesday to appreciate the President for approving several projects in Plateau State including over N3 billion Cancer Centre for the University of Jos and the establishment of an orthopaedic hospital in Jos.
In response to a question at the Villa about his acceptance to lead the Tinubu/Shettima campaign, the Governor used the analogy of the most respected Vatican potentate to underscore his proud religious heritage to promote the cardinal attribute of peace, saying “I hold a Papal knight 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 is bad, as a catholic, we take that direction.”
Dati frowned at the attempt to misconstrue the message contained in his response and said that the attempt by conflict merchants to confuse his metaphoric reference to his Knighthood of KSGG, is being weaponized for political mileage with the intention of plunging the most populous African country to war.
He further explained that the Catholic Church has over the years made it a policy to explore ways of opening avenues for interreligious harmony and the reference by Governor Lalong is an enunciation of this pursuit and his belief in peaceful coexistence.
“As one whose worldview is shaped by unity in diversity, the Governor is driven to replicate this win-win experience for national cohesion. Therein lies his motivation to defend peaceful coexistence and promote the Tinubu/Shettima APC presidential ticket without fear or intimidation. While his political traducers resort to exploiting the Freudian slip to ply their trade, men of goodwill will dig deeper and appreciate his internal train of thought that means no harm,” he said.
He urged that Nigerians should not overheat the country with religious and ethnic polarization, knowing that insensitive religious insinuations could ignite crisis that may go out of control.
“According to research, there exists about 4,200 religions, churches, denominations, religious bodies, faith groups, tribes, cultures, movements and ultimate concerns, which at some point will be countless in Nigeria. The Rwandan genocide that led to the slaughtering of about 800,000 persons in just 100 days, according to a BBC report, was traced to the exploitation of existing fault,-lines between the Tutsi and Hutu. So rather than use ethnicity and religion as fault lines to divide, they should form the basis for integration and peaceful coexistence, which should be championed by all men of goodwill.
The President at the Villa also approved the establishment of a Federal Medical Centre in Wase; the Federal Polytechnic Shendam, the conversion of the Federal College of Education, Pankshin, to a Federal University of Education; establishment of another Federal College of Education in the state and the establishment of a zonal campus of the Nigerian Law School for North-Central in Jos.