Former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, has said the state was put on the map due to the statues his administration built at Heroes Square.
Some of the personalities with statues at the square include Nigeria’s first President, Nnamdi Azikiwe; former Prime Minister, Tafawa Balewa; former military governor of the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria, Ikemba Ojukwu; first democratic governor of Imo State, Sam Mbakwe; former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma etc.
In a post on his official Facebook page on Tuesday, Okorocha said he and his family have been under attack due to the false narratives and misconceptions that greeted the building of the square.
“For years I have endured hordes of lies and slander against my personality, and attacks on my family members because of the false narratives and misconceptions about the statues built during my tenure as governor of Imo State.
“For years I chose to stay silent, but I strongly believe that the New Nigeria must be built on truths and facts, not on misinformation and propaganda,” he wrote as the caption to a video titled ‘Here are the Myths and the Facts about the Statues story (Part 1).’
In the video, Okorocha said, “The statues are innovations that I’m proud of. The innovations put Imo State on the map.”
The former governor said before he came into government, if an Imo citizen staying in America were to describe his state, he would cite its proximity to Rivers State because the state never had an identity.
He said, “We never had an identity because there was no tourism, there was absolutely nothing.
“Then I came with the ingenuity of tourism and I developed a place called Heroes Square. The statues are just in a part of the entire square.
“The statues brought President Zuma to Imo State, beating the entire protocol of Imo not having an International Airport.
“Nana Akufo-addo flew from Ghana to Owerri without passing through Abuja, because of the statues.
“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf flew all the way from Liberia as a sitting president. In fact, she came from America.”
Okorocha said the statues brought lots of tourists to Imo, adding that “there’s no Christmas without thousands of people gathering around those statues.”