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Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State, says erecting the statue of Jacob Zuma in Owerri, the state capital, is part of his strategy to draw “good things or investments” to the state.
Okorocha said this in response to criticism by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the honour he conferred on Zuma, whose Presidency in South Africa has been plagued with accusations of corruption and abuse of office.
According to a statement issued by Sam Onwuemeodo, Chief Press Secretary to Okorocha, the PDP should hide its face in shame for not attracting any high-profile visitor to Imo in the 12 months when it was in power.
“If it was in the days of PDP, schools and markets would have been shut down, and roads closed, because President Zuma was coming,” Onwuemeodo stated.
“But none of such things was done because Rochas and his government have human face. The PDP, for the 12 years they held sway, never attracted any meaningful visitor to the state, except PDP NEC members who were coming to loot the state.”
Onwuemeodo explained that the major reason for Zuma’s visit to Imo State was to show support for Okorocha’s humanitarian endeavours and to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Jacob Zuma Education Foundation and Rochas Foundation College of Africa.
The statement added that Zuma’s visit also afforded notable Igbo businessmen an opportunity to meet the South African President face-to-face to discuss business opportunities.
Some of the businessmen who met with Zuma, according to Onwuemeodo, are Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman of Zinox Computers; Pascal Dozie, founder of Diamond Bank and Innocent Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Motors.
Onwuemeodo added that the Imo State government, under Okorocha, is determined to bring development to Imo state and would not be deterred by criticisms from “enemies of our people”.
“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,” he stated.
“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.”