Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, says the state will not pull down the statue erected in honour of Jacob Zuma, former President of South Africa who resigned on Thursday after his party threatened him with impeachment.
Okorocha made this known through a statement issued on Friday by Sam Onwuemeodo, his Chief Press Secretary, explaining that the decision to honour Zuma in Imo State had nothing to do with politics.
He maintained that as a man who never received formal education and yet got to the peak of leadership in his country, Zuma’s life is enough inspiration for many.
“On the Jacob Zuma’s Statue in Owerri and the resignation of the man few days ago as President of South Africa, the statue will not be pulled down,” Okorocha stated.
“The statue was erected when the man was a sitting president. We should also be keen in his life story. For instance, a man who didn’t receive any formal education but rose to play a major role in the freedom of his people and also became president of one of the leading African nations calls for sober reflection. He also resigned honorably.
“And after his coming to Imo where he spoke against the killings of Nigerians in South Africa, the situation came under control to a large extent.”
Okorocha stressed that Zuma’s visit to Imo State was to partner the Rochas Foundtion and not for political purposes.
“Zuma came to Imo to partner Rochas Foundation College for Africa. He didn’t come for politics. And even after his departure as President, he would still go ahead to make his contributions to the education of the less privileged children in Africa,” the statement read.
This seems to contradict earlier remarks by Imo State government officials that Zuma’s visit, and the state honour, were purely developmental strategies by the Okorocha-led administration, aimed at exposing the State for more foreign investment opportunities.
“In case these ‘Galatians’ do not know, if all we need to do to attract good things or investments to Imo is erecting statues, then, we have no option than to erect as many of such structures as possible,” Okorocha’s Chief of Staff said at the time.
“We owe no one apology. Rochas made a promise to open the doors of Imo to the rest of the world for good, and he is doing that; we cannot be deterred by these enemies of our people.”