Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Pope Not Against My Tinubu’s Campaign DG Offer – Lalong

Muslim-Muslim Ticket: Pope Not Against My Tinubu’s Campaign DG Offer – Lalong

The Director-General (DG) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organisation, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, has said that the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, was not opposed to him serving as Director General of APC’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. 

Lalong said he remains a staunch Catholic despite his decision to accept to lead the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket campaign of the APC. 

The governor had been attacked by many groups opposed to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. 

Some even “disowned” him on the grounds that he ought to have joined the league of those calling for a Muslim-Christian ticket in APC.  

But Lalong said on Wednesday that he was unperturbed.

He stated this while fielding questions from State House reporters after a closed-door with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. 

Tinubu had since picked a former governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate. 

Lalong said that as a born, baptised and confirmed Catholic, who has the highest award from the papacy, Knight of Saint Gregory the Great, the Pope has not told him that it was wrong for him to lead the Muslim-Muslim presidential campaign team. 

He said; “As a Catholic, everything we do, we send the advice to the Pope. The Pope has not told me that what I am doing is bad to accept the director general (offer). As a Catholic, we take that direction,” he said. 


‘CAN endorsed my appointment’ 

Lalong said the Plateau State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) came to the Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos to welcome him after his appointment as the APC presidential campaign DG.

He, therefore, said that he was not sure where those who claimed to be Christians but opposed his appointment as against their faith were coming from. 

Recall that three Christian groups in Plateau State had disowned Lalong for accepting his nomination as APC campaign DG. 

The groups, under the aegis of the Concerned Christians on the Plateau, consist of the executive, women and youth wings of CAN. 

The governor, who flayed some Christian leaders asking him to reject the appointment because of the condemnations that trailed the APC Muslim -Muslim ticket, said the selection was strictly a party affair and had nothing to do with religion.

Lalong, who said he respects his faith as a Christian, stated that he was elected governor for people of all faiths and non-believers as well.

He added that since politics is about interest, he is a member of the APC and will not engage in anti-party activities.

Lalong said that he was at the Presidential Villa to thank the president for approving numerous infrastructural projects and for granting presidential pardon to the former governor of the state, Senator Joshua Dariye as well as a former governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame.

He said; “The president is chairman of the campaign Council. Therefore, as DG, I will come regularly to brief him on certain things that we are planning.”

Writing on the back and forth on the emergence of a Muslim-Muslim ticket, Professor Usman Yusuf said it was about political interest and nothing more.

“Although a presidential candidate emerges through a party’s primary election, choosing the vice presidential candidate is the prerogative of the winner of that ticket, not the party’s.

“So, if anyone has any problem with APC’s vice presidential choice and the bogus, almost insulting reason given for that choice, you know who to blame instead of vilifying your favourite scapegoats; the Hausa-Fulani, Muslims and Islam. Doing so as is being done by the leaders of the “APC Northern Christians” group is uncharitable and a big political miscalculation.”

According to the professor of haematology-oncology and bone marrow transplantation, “I am yet to meet or hear of a northern Muslim, Muslim cleric or traditional ruler that is celebrating the fact that both the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the ruling APC party are Muslims. One thing I know for sure is that no Northern Muslim presidential candidate of any political party would even contemplate attempting this lopsided ticket.”

The professor said beyond mundane persuasions, “This time more than ever before, Nigeria needs a leader who is physically and mentally healthy, someone with integrity, vision and boldness. One that can assemble a competent team, listen to wise counsel and govern with a milk of human kindness. Above all, we need a leader that can heal our wounds and reunite the country.” 


Caution your supporters – Tinubu tells Peter Obi

The APC Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, Wednesday, called on his Labour Party opponent, Peter Obi, to caution his supporters to desist from spreading fake news. 

A report emerged online a few days ago that Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo wrote a letter to Asiwaju asking him to step down and support Obi and take care of his health. 

However, the Ghanaian president via his official Twitter handle debunked the report, calling it fake news, stating that it was a product of deliberate mischief with the intent to deceive the public. 

Condemning the purported story, the Director of Media and Communications of the Tinubu Campaign Organisation(TCO), Bayo Onanuga said that the supporters of Obi have been disseminating fake news to the general public, damaging the reputation of the APC candidate.

He, therefore, asked Obi to tell his supporters who are employing fake news against the former Lagos State governor to stop. 

“We have come to a point where it becomes imperative to tell Obi to show leadership and disavow his supporters who are employing fake news and disinformation as deliberate tools to deceive and poison the minds of unsuspecting Nigerians,” Onanuga stated.


It’s not true – Obi

Responding to the allegation in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Valentine Obienyem, Obi said some of his opponents originated fake news, published them under false names and ascribed them to him or his supporters.

Obienyem said if supporters were mindful of this, some articles published in some newspapers against Obi would not have been published, including those with offensive titles. 

“Nigerians know the truth and that such gimmicks used to deceive them would no longer work,” he added.


By Muideen Olaniyi, Abbas Jimoh & Abdullateef Salau