Friday, April 5, 2019

Statues of corruption: Overheard phone conversation between Rochas Okorocha and Jacob Zuma

Statues of corruption: Overheard phone conversation between Rochas Okorocha and Jacob Zuma
October 23
10:54 2017


“His Excellency, good evening. It is me on the phone. Owelle Rochas Anayochukwu Okorocha, Executive Governor of Imo State of Nigeria.”

“Governor Roaches, glad to hear from you. How is Mmo State?”

“Ah! His Excellency! My name is Rochas not Roaches. And the name of my state is Imo State and not Mmo State.”

“Sorry, Governor Rochas. But you should pardon me if I mispronounce your name. It is not an English name and I don’t speak your local language.”

“Rochas is not my local language. And it is not difficult to remember and pronounce.”

“I know. The first time they mentioned your name, I realised that the closest thing to the name in English is Roaches. So I decided to always use Roaches to remember it. Sorry I called you the particular name I was supposed to use and remember your actual name.”

“Rochas is my name, his excellency. Using Roaches for my name sounds demeaning and offensive.”

“So sorry. And on the issue of names, please don’t call me his Excellency. Such names are elitist loved by the likes of Thabo Mbeki. My name is Msholozi. Call me Msholozi.”

“I can’t pronounce it. What does it mean?”


“Msh … I can’t pronounce it! What does it mean?”

“It is my local name. My preferred name. I thought you said you read a lot about me before deciding to honour me. And you never came across my favourite name, Msholozi?”

“Okay, his Excellen – Sorry Msh …”

“How is Msholozi too difficult for you to call? Okay. Just call me JZ. A lot of my people call me JZ. It’s a name I loved so much before Beyonce’s husband appropriated the name. So no more his Excellency. Just JZ so that I would no longer call you Roaches.”

“Okay, JZ. Please any name for me but Roaches. My detractors in Nigeria have been spreading an image of my head with the body of a cockroach on social media. I have not been sleeping well since I saw that image.”

“Someone showed it to me yesterday. It looked quite creative. You said you are losing sleep because of that?”

“Not just sleep. I’m losing my mind. JZ, I’m in serious trouble. The condemnation over your visit and the statue has been upsetting. I have been everywhere in Nigerian news for the wrong reasons. In my country where every issue is reduced to political, ethnic and religious schisms, no one is coming to my defence. None at all. I am finished.”

“What of President Buhari? What is he saying about it?”

“The president has refused to pick my calls since the day we unveiled your statue. I was thinking that his illness has returned and he was too ill to speak to me. But I got across to one of his aides who told me that the president was rejoicing over a recurring ear infection that made him too indisposed to accompany you for the award ceremony and the unveiling of the statue.”

“What of the former Nigerian president that handed the award over to me?”

“Obasanjo’s reaction doesn’t matter. He is beyond embarrassment in Nigeria. The man can dance naked in the streets of Lagos and Nigerians would not be surprised. That must be why none of those criticising the statue and the award has ever mentioned the fact that he was present during the events.”

“It is unfortunate that things are turning out this way for you. And you just unveiled one statue. What would happen when you unveil the other ones?”

“Hmm. Unveil what? I can’t unveil any other thing. If unveiling just your statue can attract so much uproar and opprobrium, the sight of the other ones may lead to a riot.”

“Who are the other six people beside my statue?”

“No need to mention them. You are far better than them. With this kind of reaction over a statue of the president of the Republic of South Africa, how would they react when they see that one of the statues is that of a Nollywoood actress from my state who happens to be my one-time girlfriend?”

“This is serious. So you actually erected the statue of your girlfriend to stand shoulder to shoulder with that of Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Msholozi Zuma, President of South Africa; recipient of the Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership at Washington D.C. USA and recipient of the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath from the United Kingdom. That was an insult, Governor Roaches.”

“Please don’t see it that way. She is not really an ordinary person. Her name is Nkiru Sylvanus. She has appeared in more than 500 Nollywood movies, meaning that her face is recognisable all over the world. And in her movies, she interprets the weeping role more than any other actress in the African continent. We are blessed that she hails from my state. She is no ordinary person.”

“But I don’t know her. I haven’t heard her name before. I haven’t seen her before. Why didn’t you introduce her to me?”

“JZ, she was all around during the ceremonies. We deliberately hid her from you. She is married but some people in your country told me that you make no distinction between married and unmarried women. And I haven’t forgotten that before you came to Nigeria, you mentioned that the trip might provide you an opportunity to take a 7th wife.”

“And you disappointed me. You never gave me an opportunity to familiarise with the array of beautiful ladies everywhere in your state.”

“Haba, your exce – JZ! My wife was of the opinion that you should make do with your four current wives, one ex-wife, and numerous concubines since you aren’t getting younger. And she also mentioned your wife that committed suicide. It would be unconscionable for us to put any of our ladies in jeopardy.”

“Jeopardy? You can’t be serious. Even if I don’t want to touch my personal wealth, I have about $1.5m in my official budget as president for spousal support. And one of your ladies would have become my choice wife for official engagements. It was a missed opportunity for the ladies in your state. So aside from your weeping actress lady, who are the rest five statues?

“No need to discuss them. You may be upset when I mention them. Well, the rest of the statues may never be unveiled.”

“How? Why?”

“Can’t you see the furore the unveiling of your statue created? I’m afraid I’m damaged politically. Then I go ahead and unveil the statues of those that have worse moral standing than you. That would be political suicide.”

“What gives you the impression that I have deficient moral standing?”

“Everyone knows about the reinstated 800 count criminal charges. You were really unfair to me. Why didn’t you tell me that they were about the reinstate the charges when we were discussing the award and the statue?”

“Who told you there are 800 count charges? It is not 800. The actual number is 786.”

“786 count charges! My God! How did you commit 786 offences?”

“Mr. Governor, they are politically motivated charges. From what I have read about you since this statue controversy, you might be charged with more than that number of charges in future.”

“His Excellency, I must tell you the truth. If I knew that the charges were about to be reinstated, I would have thought twice before bringing you to my state.”

“Mr. Roaches, if I knew that you are regarded as an embarrassment to governance in your country, I would not have stepped a foot in your state. They said you don’t pay the workers their wages. That you use their wages to build huge, useless Christmas trees and organise shameless Christmas carnivals.”

“Lies! Who told you these lies from the pit of hell?”

“It doesn’t matter. They also said that you force pensioners to forfeit their entitlements. That you destroy people’s houses and markets at will and killed a little boy when they protested. That you erect fake hospitals. That you build substandard roads. That you and your family forcefully acquired obscene number of properties in your state. That you want to install your son in-law to succeed you in order to cover up your atrocities.”


“Let me stop at that for now. So don’t mention the 786 politically motivated charges again. I only wanted that statue badly to exorcise the haunting memories of The Spear painting.”

‘The Spear painting?”

“You really don’t know me. Are you the only person on this planet not aware of the painting by that idiot Brett Murray, which he called The Spear? The painting that had my genitals exposed, which was shared globally.”

“I think I now remember the picture. It looked disgusting. It wasn’t funny at all.”

“Do you know how it feels to see your image with your sacred object of supreme power and ultimate joy being cruelly exposed? Do you know the number of sleepless nights I had then? I jumped at your idea of a statue because I hoped it would give me a final relief from the trauma of that image.”

“But what do we do now?”

“Do about what?”

“How do we get the controversy to go away? How I wish President Buhari can just fall ill again and be flown to London. Then Nigerians would have something else to talk about. So that we can see less of Zuma and statues on social media.”

“First things first. What do you intend to do about the rest of the statues?”

“That is no problem. This is Nigeria. I am the governor of Imo State and a top member of the ruling party. I will arrange with some people and they would go at night and vandalize the statues in such a manner that no one would know the original people on the veiled statues. The next day we will blame it on the opposition PDP and get the police to arrest some of their leaders. To remove the remaining statues is no problem.”

“I hope they would not touch my own statue?”

“They may have to vandalize that one too. It may help the controversy to die down. There is no way that statue would stand there and I would have peace. When you are acquitted of the 786 count charges, we shall re-erect it.”

“That is an insult. You are beginning to sound like a coward.”

“This is beyond cowardice, his Excellency. I have stood against the interest of my people to please the people from the northern part of the country because as I once told you, I hope to run for the country’s president in future and the votes of people of northern Nigeria are crucial. Now with just your statue, everything seems to be crumbling.”

“The statue doesn’t really matter. You can use my life story as an inspiration.”


“You know that once in life, I faced a rape allegation, a serious corruption allegation and the belligerence of the country’s president. All at the same time. But what would ordinarily finish a politician and land him in long term imprisonment only propelled me to the South African presidency.”

“I read about them. I also read about the rape incident. That you took a shower after sleeping with the HIV-positive woman to cleanse yourself from possible HIV infection. And that it happened at a time you were head of South Africa AIDS Council. You seem to have cast a spell over the whole of South Africa. How I wish I can have such luck with Nigerians.”

“There is nothing strange with having sex with HIV-positive ladies. Who doesn’t have sex with HIV ladies in my country? We have 3 million ladies living with the virus here. If men are to avoid having sex with them, do you want all of us to become homosexuals?”

“Please let’s leave matters of sex for now. You seem to love this thing hidden by the skirt a lot. At the age of 75 and with 21 children, you are still fixated with women. The woman you were accused of raping was a daughter of your fallen comrade. You have had children with the daughter of your family friend. You don’t seem to have boundaries in matters of sex.”

“You seem to have done a lot of research on me. Yet you didn’t know about Msholezi. You are not really as smart as you claim.”

“My smartness doesn’t matter at this point. Please how can you help me to quench this uproar? Can you get South African Airways to fly directly to Imo Airport? Or move the South African Embassy to Owerri? Or get MTN to move their headquarters to Owerri? Or get Shoprite to open a mall in all local governments in Imo State? Or get DSTV to give free subscription to all citizens of Imo State? Pease do something for me to justify the statue. I am really in trouble.”

“You are really desperate. Most of the things you mentioned are undoable. I can’t allow South African Airlines to land at your decrepit airport. I was told that the most striking thing about the airport was a billboard you erected there showing you shaking hands with Obama. How stupid of you. Having our embassy at your state would be a senseless gamble. I don’t want to risk our embassy being set on fire the next time South Africans kill some of your unrepentant drug pushers in our cities.”

“But you can do something else beyond the so-called collaboration between Rochas Foundation and Jacob Zuma Foundation. No one in Nigeria seems to see the benefit of the partnership to my state.”

“You should do better to sell the person behind the statue. Tell them that your state is now blessed with the statue of Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Msholozi Zuma. The President of South Africa. A man with no formal education who fought apartheid, was imprisoned but rose to become president of the richest country in Africa. A man who shared a prison room with Nelson Mandela at Robben Island. Once a referee of a football match at Robben Island Prison in which Nelson Mandela was one of the players. A great man.”

“It doesn’t seem your own people like Julius Malema remember all these.”

“Julius Malema is a big fool. He is just an empty barrel. Mr. Governor, what my people remember doesn’t matter now. What matters now is your ability to convince your people that they are lucky to have my statue in your state. If they refuse to be convinced, tell them Lethu Mshini Wami!”

“What does that mean?”

“Bring me my machine gun. You really don’t know much about me. Go and carry your cross or rather statue. I have 786 crosses to carry. Goodnight, Governor Roaches.”

Mayor Ikoroha is a blogger and is on twitter as @tellthemayor


WHATSAPP 08113975334
TWITTER @thecableng
Copyright 2019 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.

Social Comments


No Comments Yet!

Let me tell You a sad story ! There are no comments yet, but You can be first one to comment this article.

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *





Exchange Rates

April 01, 2019USDGBPEUR
NOTE: The black market rates represent the most prevalent. They could be slightly higher or lower among different sellers.