COURTESY VISIT TO HIS EXCELLENCY, GOVERNOR SIMON BAKO LALONG
A speech by the Apostolic Administrator of Jos Archdiocese and Coadjutor Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius A. Kaigama, during the courtesy visit to His Excellency, Governor Simon Bako Lalong and the blessing of his office at the Government House, Little Rayfield, Jos, on Monday, June 3, 2019
In the days preceding Pentecost Sunday, i.e the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles (cf. Acts 2), we of the family of God in the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos represented here this morning by the children, the teenagers, the youth, the men and women and key leaders of our Archdiocese have come to express our spiritual and moral support and our prayerful solidarity as you begin your second tenure as the Executive Governor of Plateau State.
Accept please, our hearty felicitations on your electoral victory. It is yet another opportunity you have been offered by the people of Plateau State to lead them to greater peace, prosperity and progress. We know that this can only be possible by the special grace of God and so we pledge our fervent prayers to God and our loyalty to you and your administration and we assure you that we will always cooperate with you in whatever is beneficial to our people as you try to provide effective and good governance to the people of Plateau State. Your choice as Governor is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight. Equally, your election as the Chairman of the Northern Governor’ Forum is a wonderful testimony of your political progress and an opportunity for you to contribute in tackling the worrisome issues of poverty, violence, illiteracy, youth idleness and their involvement in crime and violence – factors which have greatly retarded our progress especially in Northern Nigeria.
It is our earnest prayer that the Lord will increase your capacity as an instrument of peace and social transformation in a way that these last four years of your administration will be characterized by remarkably improved good governance with attendant positive fruits seen in interpersonal harmony among the people, infrastructural development, social cohesion and security.
We wish you and your collaborators the grace of office and so we call on everyone you will invite to join your administration to give you very honest support and to always remain faithful and reliable as you try your best to implement your policies and plans so that people will feel even a greater impact of your administration than in your first tenure.
We have come in compliance with the scriptural injunction that we should pray for our leaders, since all authority comes from God. We are called to recognize, respect and obey constituted authority (cf. Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13-14, Titus 3:1). In an electoral contest there will be winners and those who don’t win. Once the constitutional requirements have been met and winners are officially declared, it is our individual and collective civic responsibility to give unalloyed and unconditional support to whoever leads the administration that is in place. Politicians in Plateau State whether in the ruling party or in the opposition, should avoid the temptation to antagonism, bitterness, hostility or engineering divisive tendencies. Instead, they should give one another the right hand of fellowship so that together, we can climb the highest height.
We have come here to pray with you, to bless and to entrust you and your team of collaborators to God Almighty to guide your affairs to the greater glory of God and the common good of the people on the Plateau. We encourage you to be spiritually fortified in Christ, find strength and grace through prayer and the sacraments for good stewardship from God whom it has pleased to choose you to serve as Governor of our dear State. In a dream at Gibeon, Yahweh asked King Solomon to request whatever he wanted and Solomon chose the virtue of wisdom to govern his people and that saw him blessed beyond measure (cf. 1 Kings 3:5ff). We assure you that as you submit your choices to God, you will always get the best and enduring results.
We humbly ask you to be proactive and to sustain honest efforts in tackling the socio-economic challenges on the Plateau and those divisive factors that breed mistrust, hatred, violence, insecurity, polarization and tension as you strive to deliver on your electoral mandate. We encourage you to be relentless in building a formidable Plateau State where violence is subdued by forgiveness, hatred is replaced with love and compassion, foes become friends, and the spirit of dialogue, peace and harmony permeates everything we do.
All of us on the Plateau have a moral responsibility in building an inclusive, tranquil and true home for ourselves and for future generations. The elections have come and gone but we hope that our politicians will grow from political opponents to political collaborators and see to the consolidation of the structures and institutions needed to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the citizens in order to realize our full potentials. As alluded to during your inaugural address, we affirm that we should all think Plateau, build Plateau, and defend Plateau.
It is difficult to think of the future of Plateau State without the active participation of her citizens in such a way that their dignity and integrity is acknowledged and guaranteed through access to quality education, jobs and social amenities. We wish to reiterate our call for the return of and support to missionary, private and other voluntary agency schools as promised by past administrations so that we could train our children according to the much desired moral, social and intellectual standards in order to meet the present multidimensional challenges of our contemporary society.
Your Excellency, I thank you very sincerely for welcoming us to your office, and I express to you and to all those government officials here present, and those you will appoint soon, our prayerful and best wishes for a purposeful service of the common good for the progress of the entire people of Plateau State. We entrust you, your family and your administration to our Lady, Queen and Patroness of Nigeria, for her fervent intercession. May the face of God shine on you as you lead an inclusive and united Plateau State to greater heights.
Thank you for your kind attention.