ABUJA – In what appeared a formal endorsement of
the reported N520 million statue erected by the Imo
state government in honour of South Africa’s
President, Jacob Zuma, the ruling All Progressives
Congress APC has hailed the state governor, Rochas
Okorocha for bringing the South African leader to the
At a meeting of its National Working Committee NWC
with its 24 state governors and principal officers of the
National Assembly, APC National Chairman, Chief
John Odigie-Oyegun said Okorocha’s efforts at
attracting foreign investment to the country is highly
“Let me use this opportunity to congratulate you
(Rochas) on your birthday…young man, where I was
very powerfully represented and for your feat in
bringing some of the significant figures from the
African continent”, said Odigie-Oyegun in a brief
introductory remark before the meeting dissolved into a
closed session. Welcoming participants to the meeting,
Chief Odigie-Oyegun thanked God for safely bringing
back President Muhammadu Buhari from his medical
sojourn in London.
“I welcome you to the sixth of the series of our
consultative meetings which has proved to be
extremely useful not only in stabilizing the party but
also contributing immensely towards handling various
challenges that have appeared before us as a nation
and as a people. “The meeting got so productive that
we decided at last meeting to bring in our National
Assembly leaders to joins us in the deliberations which
I have said earlier have been found to be very
productive and useful indeed. I thank you for coming
to this first meeting since the return of our dear
President for his medical leave. On your behalf, I want
to formally welcome him and thank the Almighty God
for the wonderful healing that has been performed
because since he came back there has been no
question at all”, he stated.
Though the Senate President was represented by the
Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan, his counterpart in the
House of Representatives, Speaker Yakubu Dogara,
was also absent but reportedly represented “by a
member from Rivers state”. Out of its 24 governors,
only seven as well as four deputy governors were
present. Those at the meeting included the Govs. Nasir
el-Rufai (Kaduna), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi),
Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas
Okorocha (Imo), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and Abdullahi
Jibrilla Bindo (Adamawa) who was attending the
meeting for the first time. Deputy Governors of Ondo,
Kano, Kogi and Nasarawa states were also in
Okorocha’s decision has continued to attract a wave
of backlash from both Nigerians and South Africans
who have described the statue as meaningless. Unable
to pay pensioners, some Nigerians had queried the
governor’s decision especially as it also came few days
after another Nigerian, Jelili Omoyele, a 35-year-old,
was killed in South Africa, adding to a long list of
Nigerians to have been killed in the former apartheid
The governor has however accused the opposition
People’s Democratic Party PDP of sponsoring the
attacks saying the party never attracted any
meaningful personality to the state when it held sway.
“If it was in the days of PDP, Schools and Markets
would have been shut down and roads closed because
President Zuma was coming. But none of such thing
was done because Rochas and his government have a
human face. The PDP for the 12 years they held sway
never attracted any meaningful visitor to the State
except PDP NEC members who were coming to loot the
State. “And in case these “Galatians” do not know, if
all we need to do to attract good things or investments
to Imo is erecting statues, then, we have no option
than to erect as many of such structures as possible.
We owe no one apology”, the state government had