Nigerian trade union United Labour Congress (ULC) has criticised the governor of the Imo State, Owelle Okorocha, for honouring President Jacob Zuma with a giant statue of him and naming a street after him.
The union said though it had no problem with honouring “great” men and women who had contributed positively to the development of the state, it felt there was no reason for Zuma to be honoured, not in this way at least.
“Zuma is neither a Nigerian patriot nor has he contributed anything to the Nigerian project nor the Imo state at development. He is definitely not deserving a statue in Imo state talk less of naming a street after him,” it said.
The union said Okorocha’s actions were “highly insensitive”, as they showed he endorsed the killings of Nigerians in South Africa. The statue would serve as a reminder to those who lost loved ones in the xenophobic attacks, it argued.
It further raised Zuma’s corruption charges as another reason he did not deserve to be honoured in such a way, calling for the masses in Nigeria to mobilise and demand the statue to fall. Okorocha has also been asked to apologise to Nigerians for bringing the “national shame and disgrace to them”.
“ULC urges the people of Imo state and indeed join other patriotic Nigerians who feel outraged over this very unpatriotic and treacherous act to immediately demand that Okorocha pulls down the infamous statue. As long as that statue stands, it remains a standing disgrace and shame to the perfidy which Rocha’s government has become to Imo state and indeed the whole of Nigeria.
“Once again the ULC demands that Okorocha removes the ignominious name of Zuma from the streets of Owerri and the ignoble statue dismantled immediately to avoid our mobilising against it and pulling it down ourselves.”
Zuma visited Nigeria’s Imo State on Saturday, and the country had nothing but good things to say to him. He visited Owerri City, Imo State, to “strengthen socioeconomic relations and deepen cooperation in education”.
He was honoured with his giant bronze statue, which was erected in the city, and a street that was named after him. While some South Africans applauded Okorocha for appreciating the president, some said he should keep him.