Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha has plans to erect 10 more statues in the state, despite the controversies that have trailed them.
Okorocha has already unveiled statues of South African president Jacob Zuma and Liberian leader, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson.
According to The Punch, Okorocha is planning statues for first Nigerian President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe; former Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa; late sage, Obafemi Awolowo; and Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo.
A soruce told the newspaper: “The governor is interested in celebrating those who have contributed to the development of mankind, especially on the African continent. In the years to come, these leaders will be no more but their statues will keep them evergreen in the minds of the people.
“With the statues, they have been inducted into the Imo Hall of Fame and have received the highest award in the state called the Imo Merits Award.”
The statues have drawn a lot of criticism for various quarters, including former Imo state governor, Ihedi Ohakim.
Ohakim said, “Should I praise Okorocha because civil servants now receive half of their salaries instead of 100 per cent? Should I praise his government for owing pensioners for over 30 months and recently issuing dud cheques to them? What exactly are those good works for which I was supposed to be showering praises on the governor?
“The fact is that no right-thinking Nigerian can praise Rochas. Our biggest industry, education, is in a free fall. Youth unemployment has risen to an unprecedented height. Executive promises are discarded like used napkins like the promise of conducting local government area election, which has been made eight times but discarded eight times.
“Quality and due process have been relegated to the background, leading to an unmitigated infrastructural disaster like roads collapsing within 90 days. There is also a deliberate strategy to destroy our judicial system.
“Court orders are hardly obeyed, judicial quarters are bulldozed with recklessness and as of today, judicial officers are being owed 11 months’ salaries, while monuments costing hundreds of millions of naira are being mounted for foreign dignitaries and whereas our children are killed in their countries.”