A non-governmental group, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has condemned South African President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Nigeria in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that upheld a lower court’s decision to reinstate corruption charges against the embattled South African president.
During his visit to Nigeria, Mr. Zuma was honored by Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha and bestowed the chieftaincy title of Ochiaga. The Imo State government further honored the South African president by unveiling a statue of him in Owerri.
He also addressed a group of Nigerian youths in the state.
CSNAC argued that honoring Mr. Zuma as such celebrates corruption.
“It is embarrassing that a state government controlled by the All Progressive Congress, which is fighting corruption, could play host to Mr. Zuma, allegedly a corrupt leader in the current assembly of heads of state in the African Union and portray him as a hero before a group of African youths,” CSNAC chairman Olanrewaju Suraju said.
“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? Is Governor Okorocha not aware that Mr. Zuma has also been indicted for allowing an Indian family to influence the appointment of his cabinet members?”
Mr. Suraju decried the APC’s hypocrisy in celebrating Mr. Zuma while championing itself as a party of anti-corruption.
“Is the APC governor [Okorocha] not aware that South Africans are marching on the streets to demand ‘Zuma Must Go’ over his corrupt practices?” the CSNAC chairman queried.
The group called on Mr. Okorocha to issue a public apology to Nigerians for celebrating the corrupt Mr. Zuma.
While acknowledging that the federal government rightly opted to not host Mr. Zuma in Abuja, CSNAC stated that the federal government should have stepped in and advised Mr. Okorocha to not host the South African president.
The group also condemned the content of Mr. Zuma’s speech, in which he stated that an “external conspiracy” has prevented Africa from developing while failing to recognize the role of corruption in underdevelopment.
“He stated that the external conspiracy against the African continent would be effectively tackled when more African children access quality education. But how can young people receive qualitative education when the resources for building schools and equipping them are stolen by African leaders?” the group said.
CSNAC also noted that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was present to greet Mr. Zuma, saying the two have much in common.
“Both of them have used their official positions to acquire obscene wealth as well as many women and children. Both have failed to give qualitative education to young people in their respective countries,” CSNAC said.