•Criticisms trail erection of N520m statue for S’African leader
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has unravelled the mystery of his visit to Imo State without the company of his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the South African leader, when he told his colleague to accompany to honour Governor Rochas Okorocha, he got the reply that ‘’he (Buhari) was indisposed.’’
Zuma made the clarification yesterday at the palace of the State Chairman of Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Sam Ohiri, during the conferment of the chieftaincy title of ‘Ochiagha’ (war commander) on him.
However, scores have taken to the streets to condemn the erection of a N520 million statue for the South African leader.
The protesters, including the governor’s former aide and one-time member of the House of Representatives, Uche Onyeaguocha, retirees, Advocacy Against Corruption Initiative (AWACI), among others questioned the rationale behind the erection and naming of a road in a choice high brow area of Owerri after the South African president.
AWACI, in a statement, sought commencement of impeachment proceedings against the governor for alleged hosting of the South African leader with state’s resources and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Rochas Foundation College for Africa with Zuma Foundation.
Also, the Unified Nigeria Youth Forum condemned Zuma’s statue.
In a statement yesterday in Kaduna by its president, Abdulsalam Muhammad Kazeem, the body considered the development as a misplaced priority in view of the economic situation of the state where some workers and pensioners had not received their entitlements for months.
But Okorocha had explained that the visit would translate to economic gains to the state.
He mentioned education, Imo Industrial Park, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport among others that would get direct benefit.
Okorocha accused those against what he termed good things coming to the state, as enemies of progress.
Countering the governor, Onyeaguocha, who represented Owerri Federal Constituency, said Zuma had no business coming to Imo, advising him to go back to his country and face the corruption charge against him as ruled by his country’s Supreme Court