Imo Governor Rochas Okorocha has sparked quite an outrage in Nigeria over a statue.
Chief amongst them being Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha who has unveiled this imposing statue of Zuma right in the heart of the city.
Zuma also got a road named after him, bagged a chieftaincy title and carted a merit award in the bargain.
Nigerians have been expressing how they feel about Okorocha’s gesture across all social media platforms.
And snide remarks have not been in short supply as well.
“It’s unthinkable”, wrote Egba Ken on Facebook.
Blogger and influencer Najeeb Bello wrote: “Imo State makes giant strides in infrastructural development as Governor Rochas Okorocha unveils a 20-foot statue of South Africa president Jacob Zuma. Congratulations”.
South African Rudolf Sebyeng considers Nigeria quite clueless for the honour done Zuma. “A statue of Jacob Zuma was unveiled in Nigeria. I never thought Nigeria is such a clueless country”, said Sebyeng.
For Oladapo Hassan, Zuma’s statue is symptomatic of the leadership crisis in Nigeria. “While Rochas was unveiling Zuma statue, Governor Wike led Rivers exco to Spain to watch La liga”, he wrote.
It’s a view shared by Twitter user, Femi Lee. “I wanted to start 'yabbing' Rochas and I quickly remembered that my Governor is Rauf Aregbesola”.
Writer and UK based economist, Feyi Fawehinmi, said: “Can someone put my mind at rest by telling me Rochas didn’t just put up a statue of Zuma in Owerri?”
It could however get worse for everyone who doesn’t fancy Okorocha’s choice of statues and monuments. On the day Zuma’s was unveiled, there were at least six more still draped in different national colours and waiting to be unleashed.
Columnist and satirist, Rudolf Okonkwo, thinks he knows what lies behind one of the statue coverings.
“If you think building Jacob Zuma's statue was outrageous, wait until Gov. Okorocha unveils the statue next to Zuma. It may be Nkiru Slyvanus”, said Okonkwo who is famously known as Dr. Damages.
Nkiru Sylvanus is a Nigerian actor who took up a job in the Imo State government.
There were other social media commenters who considered the statue a money laundering scheme.
“Is Jacob Zuma helping Rochas Okorocha of Imo State launder money? Hmmmmm, I am digging!”, wrote Jackson Ude.
For Ferdinand Burmese Tyga, “for a couple Rands....Rochas Okorocha just sold our birthright to South Africa. Who saw this coming?”
“Gov. Rochas Okorocha has 6 more statues to unveil and more African leaders to honour. The Jacob Zuma statue is just 1. Nigeria is in trouble”, wrote Twitter user Ogbeni.
For some, Okorocha has effectively swung the endless social media war in South Africa’s favour. “How can I now win banter with South African guys when Rochas Okorocha already gave us strong L?”, asked a Twitter user who identified herself as Genius Joker.
Blogger and social media influencer, Japheth Omojuwa, was just as gutted. “Rochas Okorocha should have just stayed a benevolent billionaire. A statue for Jacob Zuma is the height of insanity at a time like this”.
A social media user who calls himself Umeh, had this to say about the Zuma statue: “Rochas Okorocha is the type of father to use his children's school fees to play Nairabet”.
Niarabet is a betting platform in Nigeria.
“Won't be suprised if Rochas Okorocha brings Jacob Zuma to Abuja and rename Zuma rock to Jacob Zuma rock”, wrote another Twitter user.
However, Okorocha said he honoured Zuma because the South African president fought for the liberation of his people.
“We have chosen to identify with this great leader who meant well for his people, who had to toil, struggle and fight for the liberation of his people, not minding the consequences thereafter. This to me is courage. This to me is strength of character.
"Very importantly, Mr.President, you are a man with uncommon history. One who never saw the four walls of a classroom and who in the course of struggling to liberate his people, lands in prison for 10 years and still counting,” Okorocha told his host soon after the unveiling.
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The Governor added that; “Your love for education to us is the connection between you and government and the people of Imo State. The only industry we have and we can truly be proud of is education in Imo State. This is another reason why we have chosen to honour you”.