Pandemonium over Zuma Statue in Owerri

By Sylvester Ikechukwu Onyema
GOVERNOR of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha recently unveiled one of the seven statues standing alongside each other in Owerri, and the uproar is deafening. My guess is that he unveiled the least controversial of them, which happens to be a statue of our own dear Jacob Zuma, the world renowned saint president of Imo country, who ruled the country between 1905 and 1961. It was he who brought free education..erh..emm..ehh..

Oh, what gibberish, I'm sorry; I think my knowledge of history is on the decline. Please can someone remind me who Jacob Zuma is please! Is he the present president of South Africa? Is he the one that the former president of his nation, Thabo Mbeki was recalled for by the ANC National Executive Committee in charges of corruption? The same one involved in Schabir Shaik's conviction for corruption and fraud? The same one that the Constitutional Court (South equivalent of our Supreme Court) unanimously held to have failed to uphold the constitution of his country, resulting in a call for his resignation and an impeachment attempt? Space and time will fail me in listing the criminal charges standing before the person of Zuma, but albeit, those are not relevant in this instance and therefore are not in issue.
Fundamental issues are; what Jacob Zuma represents to the Imolites in particular and Nigerians in general; the Governor's motivation to have so honoured him with a statue in the state, and lastly, who do the rest of the six statues represent?
In ascending order, it doesn't take rocket science to make a good guess at who the rest of the statues represent; one American, one Ghanaian and three Nigerians judging from the national flags with which they are covered with, although the personalities are yet to be revealed. As for his Excellency's motivations, I think we can only make a good guess at the unveiling of the rest of the statues, at which the link will become clearer and probably definite.
My suspicion is that the unveiled, JZ, is the least controversial of them all. And as for what JZ represents to the Imolites and the Nigerians?  Well, he is an everyday African politician in faraway South Africa.  The most a typical Imolite remembers about the nation in personality is the man Nelson Mandela and in times is the time of the apartheid. Another thing the Nigerian readily remembers is the xenophobic killings that razed up properties and lives of Nigerians in that country in the current administration of Jacob Zuma.
Our memory in Imo and possibly Nigeria fails us in exactly identifying definite steps taken by JZ, the president to put a stop to the menace, except the regulars. Possibly, he represents a great deal more to the Governor Okorocha, although the Governor would have done well to honour him by erecting such statue in his country home or his private residential quarters. But how do you blame the Governor, isn't the whole state his constituency and the resources whimsically at his beck and call.
Our pleas to our political leaders have become so monotonous and regular that there's also now, a course in *the act of ignoring the people and their voices* that one must pass before he becomes a politician. From the workers unpaid salaries to the deplorable state of the roads, neither the recurrent nor the capital projects are in shape. But at will, the Governor will unilaterally sink state resources in erecting statues just after he threw a flamboyant birthday bash with resources from the same source. The irony is, whether the rest of the workers get paid or not, the first state worker, the Governor gets paid lavishly and promptly too. 
Again, the people are only good in analyzing the polity in lengthy write-ups like I'm just doing, scribbling quirky lines like some others do, or just reading both, like you are doing now, all on social media, print media, visual media, audio media and the likes. Give it time, they'd entertain us with some other bizarre drama and the current one immediately falls into the oblivion of the annals of our undocumented history.
But like the previous slaves ‘in chains’ broke free, the present slaves *in political ignorance* will also break free. And when the freedom days come, they shall do more than analyze. Their votes shall speak, unequivocally, and the malicious course of ignoring the people's voices will go into extinction. Until then Imolites, should just wait to be entertained with the remainder of the statues. It's the nation we inherited.
Onyema, a political activist writes from Lagos (08032436809)

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