Temple Chima UbochiThursday, October 24, 2013
Bonn, Germany




You don’t need a Harvard MBA to know that the bedroom and the boardroom are just two sides of the same ballgame (Stephen Fry)

When making a decision, be it small or large, remember that whatever decision you choose will ultimately affect your future (Isaiah Harden)

Stella Oduah is the best thing that had happened in the aviation industry in regards to new looks, renovation, equipment, trainings of staff, among other things in our airports (Niger Delta for Peace, Credible and Visionary Leadership, NDPCVL)

he genesis of this bullet-proof cars scandal engulfing the aviation ministry and its minister has been linked to an in-fighting between the petroleum minister and the aviation minister, and this is predicated on who will have more access to the president or who will have more of the president’s ear. Stella Oduah may not be more corrupt than the other ministers, only that in a war she is fighting against the minister of the powerful oil ministry, she has no chance of winning. Azuka Onwuka wrote that “Today, however, the regular official car for political office holders is an SUV of a special class. From that Olympian height, the official can literally look down on the people he or she is meant to serve. This cuts across the federal, state or local government levels. An elected or appointed political office holder is the boss of the people, not their steward. He is privileged and favoured. He has been exalted. Others pray and hope that one day their time will come to be like such a political office holder. If a political office holder uses a saloon car, it must be such whose price will put fear into the hearts of the common people. For example, last week, the Ministry of Aviation confirmed that indeed two bullet-proof cars worth N255m were purchased for the Minister of Aviation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. Not only that, it was alleged that the NCAA used the amount that should be enough to buy about five cars of such class to buy two. If other ministers are investigated, it will be found out that all of them or most of them have such outrageously expensive cars in a country that cannot provide good health care for its citizens. The same goes for the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the state governors, most of whom have private jets and fleet of luxurious cars. These days, every government official uses insecurity to justify this unacceptable lifestyle”. The Punch wrote that the release of the documents on the purchase of the two vehicles was likely the fallout of infighting among female ministers in the President's cabinet. We are just learning that the minister of aviation is not the only minister that has compromised her position. There’s insinuation that the petroleum minister even bought a private jet which she leases out at outrageous sums per trips made by top government officials. The oil minister might be the person behind the exposing of the aviation minister, because, the former accused the latter of also being behind the exposure of her private jet and the exorbitant leasing fee she charges for government’s official duty (whenever she uses the aircraft to travel for her official duty).

Stella Oduah might be given a soft landing even though that President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated a three-man committee to investigate her matter, as Nigeria NewsDay of Tuesday, 22 October 2013, wrote that “President Goodluck Jonathan may redeploy the Aviation Minister, Ms Stella Oduah, over the controversial bullet proof cars purchased for her by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). A government official explained that the greatest sanction Oduah could be given was her redeployment from the ministry instead of outright removal. In his words: "I have been monitoring the media reports on the bullet proof cars bought by the NCAA. In the first instance, it was wrong of her to fall into such a trap. This is what the senators call 'banana peels'. Look at the timing. We are still mourning those who died in the last plane crash, the second under the woman's watch. And with the cost of the two cars when the National Assembly and the NNPC are still fighting over the Federation Account proceeds. All these are her problems. But let me tell you the bitter truth, despite the deafening call for her sack, that minister might be given a soft landing treatment, not because of who she is, but because of what she has done in the past, especially the role she played during the last fuel pump price crisis. That woman hijacked the Information Ministry and that of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), and educated Nigerians over why the sector must be deregulated. So the worst thing that could happen to her is to be redeployed from that ministry. Don't forget that Oduah played a tremendous role in the election of Jonathan in 2011 through the Neighbour-2-Neighbour campaign group".

Jatin Tanwer said that “It's funny how a single decision can change entire course of your life and it turns you into what you never wanted to be”; Stella Oduah must be regretting, demanding for those vehicles, by now. She may have been unlucky due to her indiscretion, as some Nigerians have praised her for what she has done, so far, for the aviation sector. In defence of the aviation minister, Sufuyan Ojeifo wrote that “The point must be made that contrary to claims in some circles, the integrity of the nation’s airspace has not been hopelessly compromised by these (two) crashes (which happened during her watch). Government’s interventions, facilitated by Stella Oduah, have manifested in the volume and worth of critical safety equipment and infrastructure that have been emplaced. In the last two years, and which was the point Senator Braimoh made during my visit to his house, the minister has demonstrated rare leadership by remodeling airport terminals across the country. She has established the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), which is very effective; the Instrument Landing System (ILS), the Airfield Lighting and Multi-Lateration (MLAT) equipment and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) Doppler Weather Radars. Her leadership has also birthed the Wind Shear Alert Systems, Accident Investigation and Prevention (AIPB) Scientific Laboratory, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) state-of-the-art training equipment and simulators as well as Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) revised aviation policy, all of which are geared towards safety in the nation’s air space. These are multi-billion naira improvement, with great value for money, which is more than mere terminal rehabilitation as paranoid critics would want Nigerians to believe. These are remarkable achievements which future administrations can incrementally build on”.

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