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Much ado about Zuma’s visit 


By Chioma Gabriel 

Has the meaning of democracy changed in the dictionary? What kind of government is being practiced in Nigeria today? How come it doesn’t seem to have a semblance of what the dictionary defined democracy to mean?? I see oppression, intimidation, suppression , anything but government of the people. I’m not from Imo State and ordinarily would say what is happening in Imo is the cup of tea of the people but that was until a friend of mine based in the United States decided to come home to contest guber election in Imo State. He told me on phone that a delegation of Imo citizens came to visit him in his base in Texas with a plea that he returns home to save the state from its calamities. I got rattled and warned him to be careful and demanded to know the names of the people that came to Texas to meet him and he sent the names. President Jacob Zuma of South-Africa, Governor Rochas Okorocha (1st right), Mrs Jacob Zuma (1st left), and chairman Jacob Zuma foundation Mrs Dudu MYeni when the Jacob Zuma foundation and Rochas foundation college of Africa signed MoU in owerri on Saturday , October 14, 2017. 

I won’t mention any name here but I had them checked out and was able to verify that although these are local politicians in Imo State, they don’t have the clout to make him a governor. I also warned him to be careful with his pockets before politics drains it. Now, my friend is a scientist and deals with facts and not fiction. I warned him that science does not have the razzmatazz of politics and to look before he leaps. Then my friend shocked me by saying that God has already spoken to him and concluded that he is the next governor of Imo. 

Now, who am I to contend with what God said? God had decided the fate of many people but I worry about people who say God said. I can never doubt God but a man who has a bout of malaria can also see visions and dream dreams. But my friend is a scientist. This Nigerian, Imo state born American , a professor of Science Medicine Research, in 2010 discovered a new heavenly body tagged 2010 TL 78. 

In a release then by Dr Patrick Miller, President of the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) & a Professor of Mathematics & Astronomy at Harding-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, USA, said my friend made the discovery on September 15,2010 and it got confirmed later with due credit to the discoverer. In his congratulatory statement on Dec.9,2010 to the Nigerian medical researcher, Harding-Simmons wrote, “Now, keep in mind the discovery won’t be numbered for 3-10 years. Additional observations will be made over the years until the orbit is fully refined. It is at that point that the discovery is numbered and placed into the world’s official catalog. Your discovery is now in the provisional stage, and being monitored by the Minor Planet Center.” The Nigerian American is a big man in the United States and comes often to Nigeria to do one thing or the other either with government or with organizations. Perhaps it was at that point he saw how things are done in Nigeria and then God spoke. When I met him several years ago, he came to Nigeria and tried to start a medical practice but he was born before his time. 

His style of medicine was way above what Nigerians were familiar with. Then he developed a method of working with men in government as their personal physicians including a former head of state. He was also very close to professor Adeoye Lambo and would use unconventional means to treat an ailment. He was very successful in that. He had an NGO that was tracing children born overseas and forgotten by Nigerians and linking such children to their families at home. We used to pay a lot of visit to the Oba of Badagry over his NGO works but then, duty called he went back to the United States. When he started nursing an ambition of becoming a governor of Imo State, I worried and alerted him about how politics is being played in Nigeria but he was vehement. So, recently, he came home to participate in the voter registration exercise. He was still in the southeast when IPOB was reigning and witnessed its proscription. He saw a bit of operation python dance display and called me one morning to say he had a project in Dubai and another in Washington and quickly took off. Another thing I warned my friend about is Imo politics. 

I told him that an outgoing governor like Okorocha would already know those that will never succeed him and that any outgoing politician voted into office in Nigeria likes to plant someone that would cover his tracks. I spoke from experience but he quickly reminded me that the out gone former president Jonathan couldn’t do that and he was right. I worry about his political ambition and his chances in the face of what is happening in Imo State. The recent visit of Zuma, president of South Africa is still raising dust. 

The Igbo have an adage that a visitor should not create problems for his host so that when he is going, he won’t develop a hunchback. But Zuma visited Imo and ever since, things have not remained the same in Imo. Governor Okorocha is on the cross for honouring a foreigner in whose country Nigerians are being butchered and at a time, Nigerians were just killed in South Africa and as if that was not enough, he squandered the tax payers money to erect a statue of this man at a time he is owing salaries and pensions. Then, he feels he owes nobody an explanation It is indeed something to worry about that despite Nigeria’s role in ending apartheid regime in South Africa, Nigerians are still being killed in the country on a regular basis, and Zuma had done nothing to check the disturbing trend and he is even under serial investigation for corruption at home. So, what was this honour for? As if that was not enough, Zuma was decorated with an uncommon chieftaincy title in Igboland, “Ochiagha” meaning Warlord, a title popularly associated with late Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, evidently for his stand for freedom for the Igbo race. 

Did Zuma lead the Igbo race in a victorious war in the past to have earned an instant chieftaincy title on his first visit and citizens of Imo state are asking Governor Rochas Okorocha to juxtapose the title given to Zuma and the xenophobic incidents in his South Africa country. The South African president is not a Nigerian or an Igbo patriot, he has not contributed in anywhere for the well being of Imo State or welfare of Imolites or Ndigbo. Did Rochas Okorocha deliberately subverse the collective interests of the Igbo and Imo people in both political and socio-economic issues in Nigeria, Africa and the globe at large. Is the act not treacherous and demeaning? Great men and women who have contributed positively to the development of a state deserve honour but what must have informed the choice of Jacob Zuma at this time that Nigerians are being killed in South Africa? Indeed , what has been erected in Imo is the statue of corruption and a national disgrace especially when billions are spent on meaningless statues while pensioners are owed months. 

At this stage, more people would receive from God to contest governorship election in Imo. J’espère que tout ira bien ( I hope all will be well) 

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