Recent online reports had it that the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, had hosted with pomp and royalty the embattled South African President, Jacob Zuma, in Owerri.
Zuma, on a two-day working visit, had arrived Owerri last weekend and was received by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other Imo State senior citizens and businessmen. He was honoured with a chieftaincy title (Ochiagha Ndigbo), and a street was named after him in the capital city. And a huge statue of himself was unveiled and commissioned to make the visit a remarkable one indeed!
According to the chief host, the visit "was part of his government effort to attract foreign investors to the state, adding that Zuma was principally in the state to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Jacon Zuma Educational Foundation and Rochas Foundation College of Africa". The justification of the controversial visit followed social media criticisms trailing same. Governor Okorocha declared in a statement that he owed no apology to anyone for inviting the South African leader to his state blaming the PDP opposition party for manipulating the outcome.
First and foremost, it was curious that a sitting President could have paid an official visit to a state capital without stopping over in the federal capital for a courtesy call on the President of the country he is visiting. More curious the ruling party (APC) is Okorocha's party! Secondly, why celebrate Zuma lavishly as if he was a good Democrat, a good President or a man of honor? For one, Zuma as a chronic polygamist cannot lay any claim to a connubial role model for any generation -- including ours.
For another, Zuma and corruption are best of 'friends' in South Africa. There are still outstanding issues of state graft against him --- the Gupta family power scandals, obscene funds ($23 million) expended on the renovation works carried out in his country home in Nkandla hinterland. And for yet another black (especially Nigerians) resident in 'Zumaland' had been targeted, attacked and killed in a xenophobic show of shame without a proportionate intervention of the Zuma-led administration. At best a Minister or security Chief would always rise to condemn such barbaric acts but the President himself had never acted strongly by words or actions against such demonstration of black-on-black hatred.
When one combines these negative happenings in and around the Zuma presidency you understand the popular outrage that greeted the Zuma Imo state visit. Jacob Zuma has demonstrated, times without number, that he is an embodiment of mediocrity, hypocrisy and conjugal irresponsibility; he is about the worst President post-Mandela to have presided over the great Rainbow nation. Leadership is more than dancing very well to the local music or marrying more wives to satisfy one's insatiable executive libido! It entails honour, integrity and credibility, none of these Zuma possessed!
While we concede that Zuma has proven to be a political survivalist having survived a no-confidence vote more than once in the national parliament the ANC ruling party is more polarized than ever before and the opposition is mounting (even within the ruling party) for Zuma to be officially pushed aside. When you add Juluis Malema and his rabble-rousing crowd to the mix then Zuma has a multiple of problems at home to contend with. So the Okorocha distraction could be seen as at home to be just a temporal relief.
A governor honoring a foreign leader is in order. But it is scandalous when that governor in question is performing below average, pauperizing those he is supposed to be lifting out of poverty. We have heard enough scandals involving the governor bordering on nepotism, graft and godfatherism. Pray, does Okorocha have any business or investment interests in South Africa? Or was Zuma planning to retire in Owerri as a fugitive after he must have fallen from power? Or was Okorocha eyeing Pretoria or Cape Town as destination point at the expiration of his second mandate as governor? Something must be behind this obscene episode in Owerri!
If Governor Okorocha could afford to erect a monumental statue worth millions of Naira for a visiting foreign Head of State then he must clear up the outstanding wages of workers in his state. If he could afford to reward Zuma of all Presidents with the "Ochiagha" (Warrior) prestigious title then he must honour the little boy (Somtochukwu) killed by soldiers he brought in during the ill-fated demolition exercise in Owerri. If he could name a street after Zuma then we may conclude that Nnamdi Kanu deserves one too and the detained Evans the kidnapper as well! And why not, on a more serious note, a befitting statue for the late Sam Mbakwe or other great Imo sons, dead or living?
Given the overflowing (yet undeserving) show of solidarity, hospitality and 'love' towards Zuma and his entourage in Owerri it could be argued, in the final analysis, that if Owelle Rochas were a woman Zuma could have proposed 'her' marriage as his fourth or fifth wife! And Okorocha would have accepted in the spirit of 'love'. And such indecent proposal cannot raise any eyebrows from any quarters in both Jo'burg and Owerri given the fact that both the bride and bridegroom share something in common: cupidity. They are both corrupt morally and administratively. They are kleptocrats united by family corruption and personalisation of power!
The major problem with the Imo State governor is that he suffers wilfully from gubernatorial hubris, if not megalomania. He remains a glorified 'victim' of executive pride and hypocrisy. Again, as an 'aboki' (some uncharitable critics call him 'Okoro-awusa') born to a northern parent in the north Okorocha cannot claim any ignorance of what 'yan-daudu' means. So homosexually speaking they (Zuma and himself) could be compatible but the consummation of the abnormal 'homo' union can only take place in South Africa since it is legitimate and legal yonder! In Nigeria, the abominable act is outlawed and punishable by imprisonment even though we know it is rampant a practice in the northern parts of Nigeria.
Governor Rochas Okorocha (55) would be remembered, long after his guber passage in Imo, as that Chief Executive that took his people for a ride -- calling them fools in his infantile paranoid mind. Yet he must have succeeded in fooling some Imolites some of the time but not all of them all the time. It is not possible anywhere in the world (even in North Korea) to fool all the people all the time!
The governor may have owed the Imo state workers backlog of salaries; he may have succeeded in enriching himself, his wife and other family members and cronies yet his major achievements must include the demolition of the popular Ekeukwu market in Owerri, the generous sharing of his life-size portraits to the indigent citizens of his state during his recent birthday bash, the erection of billboards bearing his images in and around the city, some celebrating nonsense and others exposing his penchant for showmanship.
And now, more importantly, the naming of a street after Zuma and the unveiling of a statue in his honor or dishonor! What megalomania!
Ladies and gentlemen, the unbiblical Jacob from the Rainbow nation had fallen in 'love' with the unBiafran Rochas from 'Naija'. Or better still, Governor Okorocha 'loves' President Zuma! Let the marriage, no matter the degree of infamy, happen, therefore, in earnest!!