Following the attacks coming his way over the effigy of Jacob Zuma in Owerri now that the immediate past South African president has resigned, the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha has insisted that the statute would remain as Zuma is not the first public office holder to resign from office.
Zuma had in a televised address on Wednesday, resigned as President of South Africa following calls on him to do so by the ruling African National Congress, ANC. Zuma, who survived half a dozen no-confidence votes has been under criminal investigations and allegations of corruption culminating in his stepping down.
But Okorocha insists that his government has no reason to pull down the statute of the man erected in Owerri, the state capital, reminding all who care to know that Zuma was still president when the statute was put up in his honour, and that the South African president was not impeached but voluntarily relinquished power.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Sam Onwuemedo, in a telephone conversation with DAILY POST, said, “Opinions can be divided. There are those who are calling for it to be pulled down, there are those who are calling for it to stay. So, it depends on which one government listens to. We have no reason to remove what we have erected, simple. We have done it, we have done it.
“Before we erected the statute, Zuma didn’t resign, and he resigned, he wasn’t impeached. He is not the first person to resign in this world. People in government have been resigning. I don’t want to start mentioning the names of people who have been resigning before Zuma. If he is the first person to resign in the world, we take off from there. Zuma is not the first person to resign from office, is he the first?
“You have to conduct random sampling before you can say Imo people want the statute pulled down. I am an Imo man. If you go to the streets now to ask 20 people, 10 people may approve what the government has down; that is society for you. So, in every issue, some people will support, some people will be against.”
When asked by the reporter what benefit the statute is to Imo people, Onwuemedo retorted, “Do you know why the man was brought here? He was here in connection with education. When we heard the history of how the man got educated, that he didn’t go to school but was able to get education as a private man and went on to become the president of south Africa – the story is an attractive one.
“People should be able to look at certain aspects of human beings. Zuma didn’t receive formal education, yet he was educated and rose to become the president of South Africa. It’s enough to be attracted. We honoured the man because of his background in education, we didn’t bring the man here for fun,” the chief press secretary said.