By any standard, an African president, past or present, is worthy of honour in their home country and that includes South African President, Jacob Zuma.

However, the unveiling of a N520 million statue of Zuma in Imo state, southeast Nigeria has left many asking fundamental questions about the thinking of Governor Rochas Okorocha.

One of such – What exactly has Jacob Zuma done in Imo State to deserve this kind of recognition?

Valid question that really needs answers, but there are many more questions.

Are there no Igbo sons and daughter deserving of such three-fold honour, even ahead of JZ?

How many Igbo legends have the current administration named a primary school classroom after, let alone a street or having their giant statue erected?

Zuma Statue: 4 Ways Okorocha Could Have Better Spent Imo Tax Payers’ N520 Million

Igbo people are rich in human resources. So, Bounce News highlights a few personalities that have lived a life worthy of the highest honour in Nigeria.

Ironically, all four are dead but could that be the reason Imo government did not consider them for the biggest statue in the country?

Nnamdi Azikiwe

The story of South Africa is incomplete without the likes of Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki and others who struggled alongside Papa Africa, Nelson Mandela.

But Nigeria has a very different story to tell.

Ghanaians will never forget Kwame Nkrumah and Indians will never forget Mahatma Gandhi.

Nigerians have their own heroes, to whom they owe their existence as a sovereign nation and one of them is this illustrious Igbo son...more like Igbo father.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was part of the group that fought for the independence of Nigeria from the British.

Armed with quality education, tolerance and respect for humanity, he teamed up with fellow diplomats, Obafemi Awolowo and Tafawa Balewa to ensure Nigeria emerged as a nation in 1960 and eventually a republic in 1963.

Nothing greater can be more deserving of honour than that. 

Chinua Achebe

Talk of the Igbo people and the global popularity of their culture, values and tradition, only few names rival Chinua Achebe in terms of contribution.

Add to that the promotion of western education, he cannot be pushed aside for the role he played in using literature to develop the minds of the youths.

The novelist, poet and critic is best known for his award-winning novel, Things Fall Apart. It is considered the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Achebe has been called "the father of modern African writing" and Africa's greatest storyteller, and many books and essays have been written about his work over the past 50 years.

In addition to this, Achebe lived his life untainted by politics and corruption, a feat that has become difficult in this generation.

If anyone deserves to be immortalized, Chinua Achebe is the one to remind us of the good old culture we are fast eroding and the values we once held in high esteem.

Dora Akunyili

She represents the strength and genius of the Nigerian woman. Fearless, relentless and a true patriot.

She was a pharmacist and public servant who gained international recognition and won several awards for her work in pharmacology, public health and human rights.

Like a real African mother bent on protecting her children, Akunyili fought against the production and importation of counterfeit drugs and unsafe food in Nigeria.

Before her assumption of office in NAFDAC, fake and substandard foods and drugs were sold in Nigeria without any form of regulation.

She was disheartened that "so many of (her) countrymen and women (were) fighting killer diseases like malaria and tuberculosis with little more than sugar syrup and chalk tablets, cynically packaged to look like the real thing”.

In spite of the significant risk to her personal safety, she took on the dangerous counterfeit drug cabals.

She epitomizes all that Nigerians are still dreaming to have in their public officials.

Odumegwu Ojukwu

The Biafra warlord is a symbol of bravery.

Irrespective of what bitter taste the war left in our mouths, the story of Nigeria is only complete when Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu features.

A man who stood for the liberation of his people, he fought a war 50 years ago to actualise the breakaway Republic of Biafra.

His method and approach can be described as fruitless but his dream of a people with true democracy cannot be ignored.

Yes, he failed in this mission, but he lived the rest of his life trying to make sure the Igbo nation remains relevant in the national scheme of things.

He also never shied away from an opportunity to preach the need for the continuous existence of Nigeria as an indivisible unit.

It is on record that he was briefly imprisoned for humiliating a white British colonial teacher who assaulted a black woman.

That was how far he went to defend his people.

Perhaps, he is already the most respected of the four on this list but no honour can be too much for Ojukwu in Igbo land.