While the furore generated over the poorly delivered statue of Chief Obafemi Awolowo at Awolowo Road Ikeja is yet to settle down, another joined the fray, courtesy of Governor Mr Rochas Okorocha.
This time around Okorocha is not honouring the late Governor-General, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, a man that gave his best for the growth and development of the Eastern Region of Nigeria.
Rather, Okorocha chose to honour his business partner from South Africa, Mr Jacob Zuma – the President of the country.
The statues in Lagos and the one in Imo have some similarities and differences and we will take time to compare and contrast.
To start with, the one in Lagos is a poorly delivered job, as it has been condemned by art critics and public opinion moulders. Awolowo protégés have described it as a poorly delivered job that doesn’t represent the late sage well. Its same as the one in Imo.
The statue of Jacob Zuma is a poorly delivered job as many art critics have described it. The image didn’t look like Jacob Zuma at all. The Zuma statue appeared as that of a hungry man with flat cheek and oblong face.
Coming to taxpayers fund commitment. The one in Imo was made for a princely sum of N520 million while the one in Lagos was made for an unknown price as it is the norm with Lagos state projects.
Moving forward to the intention behind these statues. The one in Lagos was built by an attention-seeking individual that wants the love of many despite his decision to hide himself from the voters. Akinwunmi Ambode wanted an image-boosting opportunity and found that in the Awolowo statue.
He never expected the backlash of criticism that came as a result of the statue but, rather finds a way to rationalise it as he claimed he directed the artiste to make sure Awolowo sits and looks at the performance of “his children” – an irony of sorts. What is there for Awolowo to see? Backlogs of salaries in Southwest states, poor educational standard, hidden budget, corruption e.t.c. – that he might not have accepted during his time?
In the same vein, the one in Imo too was built by a man that will always create attention for himself even if it causes suffering for other individuals.
Okorocha has no worries. He embarked on such ignoble act to draw attention to himself from South Africans but today, he is licking his wounds inside his room.
Construction of statues are meant to immortalise people and preserve their memories, however in a situation where it is done for politically motivated reasons, it loses its purpose.