Rochas, Should Zuma’s Statue Continue To Stand In Owerri?
By Erasmus Ikhide
A few days ago, the statue fame vanity of a governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha was further mocked by his people with the statue of a man supposedly erected and defecating on Douglas Avenue, Owerri. The inscription on the effigy reads: “After una go say APC Governors no dey try. Finally Rochas Okorocha has erected the statue of a man defecating along Douglas Avenue. The statue was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari”.
The caricature of a defecating man in Owerri is in consonant with Imo State people’s rejection of the erection of President Jacob Zuma’s statue and others that guzzled five hundred and twenty million naira of tax players’ money of Imo and other citizens alike. The defecating man’s effigy is a laud denunciation of Mr. Rochas’ unpopular decision to assault the sensibility of Nigerians with the shadow of an unwanted, corruption, sexist and bloodcurdling President of a foreign country, including Imo state’s indigenes resident in South Africa who are being slaughtered on a daily basis, without Zuma lifting a finger against it.
As I said earlier, the statue of a corrupt Africa President in Nigeria perforates whatever anti corruption crusade or posturing of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government under President Muhammadu Buhari and in Imo state, governed by an (APC) governor. It’s smacks of indolence, recklessness, graft and lack of emotional intelligence in a state where the governor has been unable to pay workers salaries running into dozens of months, where pensioners could not draw their retirement benefits running into years!
Even at that, why would Governor Rochas desecrate the land of the noble men like late Sam Mbakwe and many more with the statue of a mysogenistic renegade who has come to symbolize corruption in his country and Africa? What will now happen to the Zuma’s statue in Owerri? Will it keep standing why the real Zuma has been rejected and dethroned by his own people in his own country?
Yesterday, Mr. Zuma, whose reputation has been tainted by claims of corruption, was forced to step down by the African National Congress (ANC) party. His disgraceful exit from power was an ignomious end to his nine years in office occasioned by strong disagreement with deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, his expected successor and the new head of the ANC.
Many graft allegations against him have centred on the three Gupta brothers, who are accused of unfairly obtaining lucrative government contracts and even being able to choose Zuma’s ministerial appointments. Yesterday, police raided the Johannesburg home of the Gupta business family, which is accused of overseeing a web of corruption under Zuma’s rule. Police said three unidentified people had been arrested in investigations into “Vrede Farm” — allegations that millions of dollars of public money meant for poor dairy farmers were siphoned off by the Guptas.
It’s common knowledge that Zuma had been pushing for an exit deal that included covering his potentially ruinous legal fees from prolonged court battles against multiple criminal charges. One case relates to 783 payments he allegedly received linked to an arms deal before he came to power. Zuma’s reign has been marred by slow economic growth, continuing racial inequality, record unemployment that have fuelled public frustration and xenophobic execution of other African migrants engaged in legitimate businesses.
But Mr. Zuma is a hero of some sort in Rochas’ reckoning. He’s Rochas’ corrupt hero in a ruinous continent where corruption is the air political leadership breaths. Curiously, African Uinon (AU) has designated President Muhammadu Buhari as its anti corruption hero — a man with looting credentials that can only be compared with his late principal, the late Gen. Sani Abacha. The national assembly which ought to be calling for Mr. Buhari resignation and prosecution is itself deeply involved in corrupt practices much more than the Presidency itself.
To make matter worse, Governor Rochas is one of President Buhari’s closest confidants. That’s why Governor Rochas had the effrontery to endorsed his son in-law as his successor in next year’s gubernatorial election. Rochas, at a meeting with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Owerri Municipal Council Area, shoved down the decision to impose his Chief of Staff and son in-law, Mr. Uche Nwosu down their throats because he has “the qualities of an ideal leader”.
The goverrnor boastfully exerts arrogantly: “The monumental achievements of my administration will not be left in the hand of any how person. The governor did not tell us whether his Chief of Staff also advised him to build wasteful statue in honour of Jacob Zuma as one of his (COS) “qualities of an ideal leader”. By the way, is Mr. Rochas qualify to talk about the ‘qualities of an ideal leader’ given his failed promised to Imo State people and his earlier pretenses to fix Nigeria’s legion of crises, if voted as president.
Rocha’s governorship has been everything but ‘monumental achievements’. Imo State Stakeholders, under the auspices of Concerned Citizens of Imo State accused the governor of ‘monumental fraud’, tyranny and virtual looting of the state’s treasury. According the group, there is no parts of governance structures that have not been ruptured by Governor Rochas’s destructive and rampaging antidemocratic machine.
As 2019 approaches, Imo people and Nigerians must look beyond innately corrupt leaders or political and minds manipulators who harp on the ignorance of the masses for the enhancements of their personal gains. The people of Imo State have to do the needful at this moment — pull down the roughish Zuma’s statue — since the South Africa people have dethroned Rochas’ idol of corruption. Governor Rochas Okorocha and his company are typical examples of how not to be a leader. They should be dethroned like his idol of graft in South Africa.
Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos