Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha has finally revealed the cost of the controversial 8 statues of African presidents erected in the state. Special Adviser to the Governor on Electronic Media Ebere Nzeworji stated that between N400,000 to N500,000 was spent on each statue.
Beyond the cost
While the costs are much lower than the N520 million that had been earlier bandied about, the money could have been put to much more productive uses. Imo state currently owes its pensioners billions of Naira and was one of the 35 states that received N800 million as bail out loans from the Federal Government . Figures from the 2017 State of States report by Budgit also show the state’s debt profile has quadrupled under his watch from N7.3 Billion in 2012 to N28.9 billion in 2016.
Why did it take the government so long to reveal how much was spent ? The visits by the South African President Jacob Zuma and outgoing Liberian President Ellen Johnson-SIrleaf were to schools run by the Rochas foundation and not of direct benefit to the state.
Not the first time
Governor Rochas Okorocha isn’t strange to controversy or the blurring of the line between affairs of the state and organizations linked to him. Etha Ventures Limited, a company to the governor had in September this year acquired shares in Niger Insurance Plc which were owned by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).