If there is one thing Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State has succeeded in doing during his tenure in office, it is the institution and speedy completion of bogus projects.
Most recently, an unveiled statue of South African president, Jacob Zuma, has torn hearts apart as to how misplaced this state governor’s priorities are.
Okorocha is a showman. Born without a silver spoon and made to eke out life on his own, sometimes it might seem that he is slightly drunk on finally being able to wield money having realised how powerful a tool it is. Just yesterday, Okorocha once again did what he knows how to do best by erecting an about 6-feet statue of South African president Jacob Zuma.
It was to commission a road project which we are uncertain if it has been completed or not. From the pictures circulating social media, Zuma has some companions who are yet to be unveiled.
We will not be surprised if Zuma’s long standing ally, Robert Mugabe, is standing with him right in the heart of Owerri as workers battle to feed their families amidst unpaid salaries and allowances.
Okorocha has been called many things since the news went out yesterday, from shameless to foolish.
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption described as “embarrassing” the visit and honour of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma by the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha.
“It is embarrassing that a state government controlled by the All Progressives Congress which is fighting corruption could play host to Mr. Zuma, allegedly a corrupt leader in the current assembly of heads of state in the African Union and portray him as a hero before a group of African youth,” Mr. Lanre Suraj, the group’s Chairman said.
To put this in better context, Jacob Zuma is currently facing an 800-count charge before a South African Supreme Court. These charges were even before he became president and involves a $2 billion arms deal that has seen some other culprits end in court.
Since he is president and exercises some powers, he has been trying to use same to slow down or completely halt the trial to no avail.
Zuma has faced persistent corruption allegations since he became president, most recently over leaked emails that suggest his friends, the Gupta family, may have used their influence to secure lucrative state contracts for their companies.
The thought that he might be inching close to being removed caused their currency to appreciate over the weekend.
Then there are the xenophobic attacks, Nigerians being murdered in cold blood most times by the South African police.
These most likely won’t be the last of these killings because both governments have shown no interest in tackling the roots of these killings and bringing them to a halt.
Just so the trip would not be completely considered useless, the state government signed an MoU on child education with Zuma. Of course, Zuma who most likely had met this man, the Imo state governor, for only a short period of time, conveniently had a lot of praises to sing about him – his vision and passion for education, his ‘African heart that beats for the continent’ and a lot of other such nonsense.
It will interest you to note that according to The Economist, South Africa, as at January this year, had one of the worst educational systems in Africa. So please, pray, what sort of understanding and team work were both nations signing?
As a typical, crooked Igbo man, who now knows that chieftaincy titles and even crowns can be bought by money or influence, Zuma was conferred a title, Ochiagha which means ‘warlord’. An honourable Igbo man would have done better.
Oh, but they are leading a war, my friend; an army of leeches that are bent on sucking the continent dry till it crackles like dry leaves in the harmattan and ashens like uncreamed skin.
In 2015, Okorocha decided to gift the state with a N600 million Christmas tree towering high up as the tallest ever in Nigeria with a million and one Christmas lights to complete the spectacle.
At that time, workers and pensioners were reportedly being owed months of allowances and salaries, with no bags of rice and live chickens to feast on.
Okorocha is a celebrity governor. He enjoys the aesthetics, the semblance of achievements which he touts wherever he goes in spite of great criticism. Like a lizard, he beats his own chest if no one else would and goes ahead to continue in the same path.
A ‘Statue of Corruption’ has just been installed in that state and despite the fact that the federal government would not receive or host Zuma, they have let this symbolism of what is wrong with the country, the continent, stand.
Corruption is celebrated. Truth and fairness, transparency, they are not noble any longer.
Chinua Achebe says in his book There Was A Country, that the problem with Nigeria is the problem of leadership. I have never heard a much truer statement.
For those who say that we are thriving in spite of them, the fact that they still control the centre and dine with business men like Dangote who is clearly enjoying a monopoly across various sectors says differently.
For every time this man smiles for the paparazzi, as with so many other of our leaders, the further we sink one inch lower.
Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo; former Jigawa State governor, Saminu Turaki; and Maurice Iwu, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission were among those who accompanied Okorocha to welcome Zuma and unveil the ‘Statue of Corruption’.
Show me your friends and I will show you who you are. I daresay, like Chinua Achebe did, the problem with Africa is the problem of leadership.
Here are some tweets from Nigerians who are as displeased as I am with this showman:
Rochas Okorocha celebrating Jacob Zuma who hasnt done anything tangible to stop Xenophobic attack on Nigerians is shameful. Imo State i hail pic.twitter.com/yaIxS6z1q7
— Bhadmus Hakeem (@Bhadoosky) October 15, 2017
South African social media platforms have been laughing at us for hours. Rochas Okorocha has disgraced ALL Nigerians not just Imo state pic.twitter.com/NoulrI2WGm
— Mr Stanley Nwabia (@MrStanleyNwabia) October 14, 2017
I know today is Sunday & this is probably wrong, but Rochas Okorocha is very mad for this statue of Jacob Zuma He built in Imo State pic.twitter.com/5O0JTIY48x
— Tweeter Active (@_Tweeteractive) October 15, 2017
And there were more than two statues left to unveil.
The Rochas Okorocha statue is not one, he has a lot more to unveil, we will see what will be left when APC is done with NIGERIA. pic.twitter.com/ElXtq66W93
— Oluyemi Fasipe 🇳🇬 (@YemieFASH) October 15, 2017
Teacher: Define Stupidity?
Me: Rochas Okorocha spent 520m on South Africa's president; Jacob Zuma's statue in Imo State, Nigeria
— Made In Ibadan (@UrbanCulture06) October 15, 2017
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