Zuma's Statue, a question on the limit of personal interest in Governnance

Zuma’s Statue: of State benefit or Governor’s scam?

[09:02, 10/18/2017] Moderator: Good morning honourable members of the house, I welcome you all to today’s debate on TALK-AM platform, please feel free to share your views and thoughts and proffer constructive  solutions in other to make our great nation a better place. It’s a glorious Thursday morning, my name is Hon. Onuoha C. Chibuike, it’s a pleasure to moderate today’s segment of our 24hours debate on the impact of President Zuma’s Statue to the people of Imo State, and to all of us I say WELCOME!


Just last week, the governor of Imo state Governor Anayo Rochas Okorocha unveiled the statue of the president of South Africa President Jacob Zuma in Imo state.  The governor claimed that the motive behind this is not political but social, he further said that the best gift and legacy that can be given to any child is free, quality and quantitative education. Addressing the children, Okorocha said the purpose of the visit of the South African president to Nigeria is not for politics but for the children.

President Zuma is not here in Nigeria for any social interaction or any political reasons, he is in Nigeria for Humanitarian reasons. he said.

All of these comes to bare following an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the Jacob Zuma Foundation and Rochas Okorocha’s foundation to provide free quality education for under privileged children.

interest aggregate, State or Personal interest
Rochas okorocha and Jacob Zuma

Furthermore, It was learnt that the statue cost the state a whopping five hundred and twenty million naira (#520,000,000) plus a new road was also commissioned in honour of the South African president. All of this is happening in a State were civil servants are being owned several months’ salary, pensions are not paid, grass root education is a mess, exiting road are deteriorated and so many state projects are abandoned. Few months ago the controversial governor demolished a major market in the state, in the name of sanitizing the state capital.


  1. Considering the economic situation of the country, is this collaboration priority at this time?
  2. What economic benefit does this add to the state and the people therein?

CAUTION: No fowl languages, attack the issue but do not take it personal, be brief and straight to the point, others are entitled to their views and opinions and may the most articulate men and women lecture us.



[09:43, 10/18/2017] Eghosa: Zuma’s statue has no significant impact on the people of the state, rather Rochas did it for his own political popularity beyond the shores of Nigeria. It is embarrassing that  Mr. Zuma, allegedly a corrupt president was honoured by the state government.

Is Governor Okorocha not aware that Mr. Zuma has been found guilty of corruption by the courts in South Africa and has been ordered to refund the $500,000 stolen from the public treasury to expand his private house to accommodate his many wives?

I can’t say what economic impact Zuma’s statue will generate for the people, if okorocha himself couldn’t analyze any during its unveiling ceremony.

[09:45, 10/18/2017] Eze: Is it a gold statue?

[09:46, 10/18/2017] Eghosa: Nay. But the cost is outrageous!

[09:46, 10/18/2017] Eze: Then the price is exaggerated, and some news can be overly sensational.

[09:48, 10/18/2017] Eghosa: We’re not deliberating price at the moment, but its impact to the development of the State and how it benefits the ordinary man.

[09:49, 10/18/2017] Eze: But the price was put, because it’s form there we are talking about misplaced priority. I don’t see anything wrong with anything honouring someone with a statue but I have a problem with the money put as the price of the statue. Who even came up with that price I wonder?

[09:52, 10/18/2017] Eghosa: Yeah, reasons been that the statue is causing embarrassment to the people of Imo, am sure the people wouldn’t have blinked an eyelid, if it were Nelson Mandela statue.

[09:52, 10/18/2017] Eze: 520,000,000 statue😂😂😂😂😂😂😂, even if it were Obama, it’s still a statue which is a gift honouring a guest. If the statue is an embarrassment the Imo pple can pull it down

My concern is how true is it that a statue that is not gold or silver or titanium can be built for 520,000,000 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂. Please Mr. Moderator how did you come about the figure?

[10:02, 10/18/2017] Mark Placid: The figure has been within the public domain and the Governor never denied same. He said he owes nobody apology and that he will build more.

[10:06, 10/18/2017] Ikechukwu: Good morning Mr. Moderator and members of this great group, it is quite unfortunate that it’s only in Nigeria that those at helm of affairs or the political leaders do things without thinking what the effect will be on the Masses, the coming of Jacob Zuma to Imo state and his statue does not add any value to ordinary citizens of the state rather the governor just used the tax payer’s money to enlarged his political popularity and his foundation.  The amount he spent on the status should have been used to offset some of the worker’s salary or even for others vital projects in the State and even when he was asked look at his response “I have no apologies for anybody “, so I think it’s high time public office holders start doing things in favour of the masses rather than their private gains or enrichment .

[10:43, 10/18/2017] Francis: Good morning Mr. Moderator and fellow Comrades, today’s topic is one of those that begs for analysis, though it might appear cheap at a first glance. First I would employ us to look at the contents of the MoU signed between both parties before taking any sides of the divide.  I understand that it was actually a collaboration between the Jacob Zuma foundation and Rochas Okoricha foundation, to provide free and quality education to the under privileged children of Africa.

This is a good venture in spite the fact that it is laced with both leader’s personal endeavours. We ought to be looking at the end rather than the means. Zuma’s dwindling popularity in his own country doesn’t stop him from venturing into some good if he feels it’s some form of penitence for his past deeds. I watched the last graduation from the Rochas Okoeocha’s foundation and I must say that I was impressed. Over 3,000 African Children (majorly Nigerians) were graduating from University. It was a great spectacle, and I for one was truly impressed. At that point I failed to question the intent of Governor Rochas. So on that note I feel the MoU is solving a serious problem, politics aside.

But the crux of the matter is the statue and the price used for it. The price is in the public space, even Sahara reporters quoted same. That presents a negative impression to the minds of the citizens more so with the prevailing economic situation in the Country. Also the Governor’s response worsens the matter. His response portrays his lack of concern or regard for the people he was elected to govern and that present him as being despotic.

But on a serious note, what I think we should look at is the fact that a Governor has made a bold stride to initiate an International collaboration. This should be a pace for other State governors to take cue from and perfect the imperfect in Rochas’ collaboration. That is, rather than make it a personal thing, they should make it a State affair.

For instance State A should go out to collaborate with Kenya to export their legumes and in turn Kenya sends bla bla bla to the State A. I think this is a much better approach to this issue, other than that, we will just engage in fighting ourselves, which is far from Mr. moderator’s intention for putting out this topic.

[11:18, 10/18/2017] Ibaba O.: Good morning comrades and Mr. Moderator such an awesome topic, ladies and gentlemen, I have not confirmed the authenticity of the figure used for the statue so let us not over react, what we have seen in the public domain is the work of the media, moreover the DG Imo state government promised to give us the figure.

The south Africa president’s visit to Imo state was in two phases public and private, on the public perspective he came with business men from his country and they met with the Imo business morgue, the likes of Innoson and the rest this I think it is in the right direction because it is right to engage in trade relations even as a State or Country.

The private perspective has to do with Rochas foundation but why am worried is the money allegedly used  in erecting the statue of someone, a leader who is found guilty of corruption  by a court of competent jurisdiction, that clearly indicate that we celebrate criminality and encourage corruption but I am not surprised because it’s not peculiar to Imo state, it was still in this country that Yuweri Messoveni was given a red carpet reception by this current administration, so our leaders give corruption a  deodorant treatment in this country.

But my take is this, what is the welfare of civil servants of the State in question? Pensioners and what have you, but most a time I blame the citizens because we keep repeating the same mistake every four years, so not until we stop selecting those who will represent us and start electing leaders for effective representation and Democratic consolidation – Good morning.

[12:10, 10/18/2017] Ikechukwu: But @Mr. Ibaba sir, how do we ascertain the mindset of our leaders before voting them in, because prior to Rocha’s second tenure he was a good leader and someone with the interest of his people at heart but since he was reelected under the umbrella of APC he has changed completely, so I wonder how the citizens are responsible for such misconduct.

[13:02, 10/18/2017] Chris Obi: @Mr. Ikechukwu, you can’t read the mind of Politicians. What binds a politician and voters is his party manifesto. Unfortunately this has no meaning in Nigeria or Africa.  But democracy guarantees one thing, the freedom to protest and even sack leaders. The problem remains with the electorates who do not use their constitutional rights. We necessarily do not need to bother ourselves about what a politician holds in mind but what his party manifesto is and how he or she intends to implement it and how prepared we are to hold them accountable to it. This is where political awareness and sensitization comes in. We need to educate and sensitize voters on this key gap in our democracy.

[13:16, 10/18/2017] Chigozie: Good day comrades, am so delighted to embrace today’s debate once again. Mr. Governor of IMO state is only but seeking a cheap political popularity outside the shores of this nation,  am not only concerned about the large resources which was used in erecting  this statue  when the workers are being owned,  when the Imo State capital is a no go area once there is a heavy  down pour, but the image of what this stupid  act would depict on the image of not just Imo  State but Nigeria, we have once been tagged a fantastically  corrupt country and when our leaders run out of ideas on how to sell themselves  politically, and has to go as far as immortalizing  one of the most corrupt president in the history of South Africa is just a sign that this our leaders  are truly fantastically corrupt

South Africa under the watch of President Zuma has launched several attacks against Nigerian  citizens , including xenophobic,  illegal and wanton killings of helpless Nigerians at a slightest provocation by both the security agencies and citizens,  and the only way we can propagate or pursue the interest of Nigeria or Imo State is by using the State fund to build a statue of the man whom under his watch, the citizen of Nigeria has been slaughtered  like Christmas  cow.

[13:19, 10/18/2017] Scott: Good day comrade, it’s a pleasure joining this debates today. To the topic of discussion, I commend the efforts of Governor Rochas Okorocha for this step he took to partner its foundation with that of the South African President, Jacob Zuma. Though at first when I saw the news, I was bitter about what he did by erecting a statue of Jacob Zuma, while salaries are not being paid to workers, no meaningful development etc. But when I settle down to read the reason behind his actions, I was glad, and I pray that this one step will open doors for meaningful development in the State. I employ other state government to emulates this giant step

[13:21, 10/18/2017] Ikechukwu: But in Nigeria that will not happen because a politician can promised you a whole lot because he or she needs your vote but after using the electorate’s as ladder he dumps them, secondly on the issue of the electorate’s exercising their constitutional rights through peaceful protest how can that be achieve when the same politician will use his office machineries against them.

[13:25, 10/18/2017] Scott: About the money he used in erecting the statue, we all know that, it is far outrageous.  Na their work shop, na where man dey work, man dey chop. To me this move will bring development to the state.

[13:38, 10/18/2017] Ibaba O.: @Ikechukwu in advanced democracy opinion polls are held before the general election, so in our own context and as the people how do we welcome this idea of calling our leaders for a political debate before the general election  in order to ascertain their level of credibility?

[13:45, 10/18/2017] Ibaba O.: Well said @Chigozie, but let us not look at the president’s visit in a single perspective, because I heard that he was accompanied by business men from South Africa and they were in tet-a-tet with Imo state business men, how do you react to this sir?

Jacob Zuma road, a place where personal interest lie
Commissioning of Jacob Zuma Road

[14:42, 10/18/2017] Chigozie: I love the phrase you used sir “I heard that he came”. Even at that,  it does not justify the erection of that statue of over half a billion naira at this point in time when the States are again demanding for bailout funds from the federal government,  as a people and a nation,  we must be able to define our priority,  the ability to define our priorities is what defines us, besides  that,  I don’t  think it is the statue that will compel or propel them to invest in the State,  it is the willingness on their path and not the statue


In this case I think a law should be enacted to make it mandatory and a law to be subjected to a national debate if you are to vie for any political office in the country

Talk am Moderators  is a wonderful platform to pursue  this agenda or course as a political platform,  we can write to the National Assembly or pay a visit to the national assembly to project this course.

[14:43, 10/18/2017] Scott: The visit of President Zuma, according to Imo State government, is for the signing of an MoU between Rochas Foundation with the Zuma Foundation.  There was a robust engagement between the business community and the South African delegation, led by its President, where mutual agreements were reached in the power and gas sector, as well as the agriculture and hospitality. The South African President approved the setting up of a consulate in Owerri. This means people travelling to South Africa from the Southeast can process their visas and other related business documents directly in Owerri with much ease. “The President also approved a partnership between the South African Airline and Imo International Cargo Airport, the establishment of a payment Centre in Imo State, where all business payments are made and credit card obtained. This can be used for business transactions in South Africa.  You can imagine the volume of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) that will accrue to the State and the number of jobs that will be created.”

[14:54, 10/18/2017] Chigozie: @Mr. Scott, we must be very skeptical  of this our politicians, Prof Claude Ake called them “masqueraders”, this men are never accountable to either you or the society  at large and therefore cannot be held responsible  or accountable for their words or promises,  if words we’re always  transform to reality or actions, Nigeria would have been a better place.  Let’s hope all said is done.

[15:21, 10/18/2017] Ibaba O.: @Mr. Scott and Mr. Francis, haven listened to your robust submissions and being proponents of Zuma’s visit to Imo state, South Africans have reacted to the erected statue of their number one citizen by Imo state government, some took to social media to lash out their anger on the governor for honoring a man who is facing over 700 corruption charges in his home country most of them insinuated as thus:

 klass Happy Marlboro Even top criminals respect Zuma for his crooked ways.

Lisa Shosha  Can they take him and make him a permanent citizen.

Phiri James Gordon. The most corrupt country in the world honors one of their own.

Antonella di cicco stop wasting your money on nonsense and feed your people.

How do you react to this, do you see it as an assault on the entire Federation and as the highest mistake by the governor or as dividends of democracy returning to the people?

[16:24, 10/18/2017] Chigozie: The implications  of this act is not just worrisome because of the wasted  resources but how this affects the image of Nigeria negatively in the International  Community,  this man in question is one of the most corrupt President  in the history  of South Africa, being honoured and celebrated in Nigeria like Christ, even in the midst of the so called corruption campaign.

[17:58, 10/18/2017] Scott: Thank you @mr. Ibaba, regardless of all these comments/reactions by citizens of South Africa, is Jacob Zuma still not the president? Can he not go into agreement with a government or individual? The answer to these questions are yes, they should impeach him and let him face the charges if really he is guilty.  To me, all these reactions do not stop him to relate or do business with other countries.  Thank u.

[18:01, 10/18/2017] Francis: @Mr. Ibaba it’s hard producing any logical argument in favour of Zuma with such comments coming from his own country men and women, but like I said earlier, I don’t see any rationale behind the statue, as for the amount that is a discuss for another day.

However, I still stand by what I said earlier, the cause is noble and solving a major problem in Nigeria primarily and Africa at large.

[18:29, 10/18/2017] Ibaba O.: Hello, good evening ladies and gentlemen such wonderful and awesome debate a big thank you to our able moderator haven listened to reactions and counter reactions both home and in South Africa over actions of the Imo State gaffer governor Rochas Owelle Okorocha, with some persons saying it is the right step taken by his excellence and other State governors should emulate him to engage in such relations so as to bring government closer to the people via infrastructural development, quality education, poverty cum security challenges, some are saying the governor has done the worst mistake of the year 2017 owing to the fact that the warm reception given to Mr. Zuma came at the backdrop where Imo State is facing security challenges, civil servants are being owed for donkey months, pensioners in the State are dying of hunger and starvation, monkey pox is within the neighboring States of Imo, flooding in the State just a month ago, that the governor would have used the money in tackling such things instead of lavishing on a man who is facing over 700 corruption charges in his home country.

Also over time xenophobic attacks have been carried out on Africans mostly Nigerians and the casualties are mostly predominantly Igbos under the watch of Mr. Zuma who was highly honored in Imo state.

While contacted, the governor his excellence Rochas Okorocha said he owes “no apology to anybody”

Now if you are the governor of Imo State will you say the same thing, if not, what will be your position to convince Imo citizens, Nigerians, Africa and indeed the world at large?

Do you feel differently about our views, please use the comment box below.

END – Join our debate forum by clicking here.