Stella Oduah: Her Traducers and their Hedonism By Sufuyan Ojeifo

Date:

Cart13SEPT-018c Anyone who has visited our country in the past weeks, who has been reading newspapers, visiting internet news sites and blogs, would naturally come to the conclusion that Stella Oduah, the aviation minister, is perhaps the greatest villain who ever lived.

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Yes, this is so because the media, encouraged rather furiously by the opposition and civil society, have gone into overdrive in sensationalising and feasting on the alleged wrongdoing by the minister over the purchase of 2 BMW armoured vehicles by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Lurid pictures of overly corrupt transactions entered into between NCAA and motor vehicle dealer, Coscharis, have been painted just to taint, humiliate and have Oduah pushed out of office by her enemies and traducers.  In many public circles, the minister has been verbally lynched, condemned and even put away before she had the chance to tell her own story.

The opposition, media, civil society and, of course, enemies of the minister who have sworn to see her back as the aviation minister have mounted unprecedented pressures on the government to have the minister sacked.  She has been accused, abused and called names by people who even do not understand what the issues are so much so that one is forced to ask, what has Stella Oduah really done?

Indeed, the genesis of the minister’s current travails could be traced to the recent air crash involving a private airline, the Associated Airlines.  The tragic plane took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos en-route to Akure, the Ondo State capital; but unfortunately crashed within minutes of its take-off, killing fifteen persons or thereabout of the persons on board.  The public anger, as always when such an event happens, was generally visited on the government and specifically on the aviation minister. Some of the players in the industry whose toes have been rightfully stepped on by the minister in the public interests as part of the ongoing reforms in the sector saw an opportunity to strike back at her.

Thus, they did their best in trying to hang the air disaster on the minister by claiming, rather mischievously, that she was more interested in profit than in aviation safety.  When the minister made what seemed to be an inopportune statement too soon after the air accident that the crash was an act of God, it became the ammunition her enemies were waiting for.

And didn’t they grab the weapon with both hands and start firing dangerously at her direction?  That ill-timed statement by the minister portrayed her before the public as an unsympathetic public servant, which in any case is a wrong picture of the soft-spoken woman.   Yet, listening to many commentators after the Associated Airline’s plane crash, one fact that came out forcefully was that Stella Oduah has made enough enemies in the sector she supervises, especially among airline operators.

Who wouldn’t make enemies with the level of transformation and infrastructure renewal and development taking place in our airports all over the country?  Those benefiting from the rot over the years in the aviation sector, including past aviation minister(s) who now feel disgraced with what the current minister has achieved in the sector, especially the remodelling of the airports and the provision of safety equipment, in their embarrassment, are asking: how dare you?

It is also possible that the Stella Oduah has also hurt some people in the parliament, in her party and even among the cabinet she serves as a member. There have been mutterings about her alleged high-handedness and condescension when she served as director of finance in the Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation.  She survived the cloak and dagger politics then.  But the knives are out for her and there appears to be a few shoulders for her to cry on!

Yet, is it proper to condemn someone just on the basis of sentiments, unfounded public outrage and perhaps, inopportune statement about the Associated Airline plane crash being an act of God, which her publicist, Yakubu Datti, said was taken out of context?  What exactly has the minister of aviation done that enemies seem to want her head on a platter even before she got the chance to defend herself?

I think that Stella Oduah has been unjustly hounded and clobbered as expected by the opposition politicians, the media and the civil society in a deliberate voyage to discredit President Jonathan and his administration. The right questions that the media should be asking on the Stella Oduah matter are: was there any need for the two armoured vehicles purchased?  Were they budgeted for?  And was due process followed in approving their purchase?  Unfortunately, the focus is on how to get the minister fired by any means!

Listening to the presentations made by the staff members of NCAA before the House of Representatives Committee that investigated the matter, and the minister’s reply to the query from President Jonathan, there is no iota of doubt in my mind that the purchase of the two BMW armoured vehicles was captured in the 2013 Appropriation Act as provision was made for the procurement of specialised equipment (including operational vehicles) to complement, and in some cases, replace obsolete ones.

Moreover, a transparent bid process was observed both in the choice of responsive bank(s) to finance and in the award of the contract to Coscharis.  It is rather unfortunate that the presidency bowed to pressures from the opposition and the media to set up a panel of inquiry over this matter, which is very open and clear.  I pray that the panel will not pander to the whims and caprices of vested interests and ethnically-induced bias to recommend the resignation or dismissal of the minister or any harsh or near harsh sanction.

Although the presidential committee has turned in its findings and recommendations which are still kept under wraps, what has happened in the media and the legislature in which there seemed to be an obvious thirst for the blood of the aviation minister as a result of the pressures coming from the uninformed public gives little hope that the minister will get justice.  My fear is that the misguided public bashing and politically-motivated harangue of the minister could strengthen the hands of those who do not like her guts in the legislature and the presidential panel to put her on the spot in their recommendations.

I expect that the Senate intervention would be measured and mature when it eventually takes on the matter.   Wise counsel and pacific gesture should flow from its bosom rather than puerile grandstanding because Stella Oduah, that seemingly powerful woman, is involved and she must be presented to the world as bad and programmed for public odium.  Whatever is the case, President Jonathan must be firm and realise that the aviation minister is one of the few ministers that have renewed public confidence in his government and his transformation agenda through the reforms she initiated in the aviation sector.  It is not proper to crucify Stella Oduah simply because a section of the public does not like her courage or perhaps her personal failings.  She has done nothing against the law.

Those hounding her are doing so for selfish purposes and out of wrong public perception.  It is politics of pull-her-down-and-out of Jonathan’s government, which feeds on the hedonism of her traducers.  President Jonathan should deflate their sense of self-gratification.

Written By Sufuyan Ojeifo

Anyone who has visited our country in the past weeks, who has been reading newspapers, visiting internet news sites and blogs, would naturally come to the conclusion that Stella Oduah, the aviation minister, is perhaps the greatest villain who ever lived.

Yes, this is so because the media, encouraged rather furiously by the opposition and civil society, have gone into overdrive in sensationalising and feasting on the alleged wrongdoing by the minister over the purchase of 2 BMW armoured vehicles by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Lurid pictures of overly corrupt transactions entered into between NCAA and motor vehicle dealer, Coscharis, have been painted just to taint, humiliate and have Oduah pushed out of office by her enemies and traducers.  In many public circles, the minister has been verbally lynched, condemned and even put away before she had the chance to tell her own story.

The opposition, media, civil society and, of course, enemies of the minister who have sworn to see her back as the aviation minister have mounted unprecedented pressures on the government to have the minister sacked.  She has been accused, abused and called names by people who even do not understand what the issues are so much so that one is forced to ask, what has Stella Oduah really done?

Indeed, the genesis of the minister’s current travails could be traced to the recent air crash involving a private airline, the Associated Airlines.  The tragic plane took off from the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos en-route to Akure, the Ondo State capital; but unfortunately crashed within minutes of its take-off, killing fifteen persons or thereabout of the persons on board.  The public anger, as always when such an event happens, was generally visited on the government and specifically on the aviation minister. Some of the players in the industry whose toes have been rightfully stepped on by the minister in the public interests as part of the ongoing reforms in the sector saw an opportunity to strike back at her.

Thus, they did their best in trying to hang the air disaster on the minister by claiming, rather mischievously, that she was more interested in profit than in aviation safety.  When the minister made what seemed to be an inopportune statement too soon after the air accident that the crash was an act of God, it became the ammunition her enemies were waiting for.

And didn’t they grab the weapon with both hands and start firing dangerously at her direction?  That ill-timed statement by the minister portrayed her before the public as an unsympathetic public servant, which in any case is a wrong picture of the soft-spoken woman.   Yet, listening to many commentators after the Associated Airline’s plane crash, one fact that came out forcefully was that Stella Oduah has made enough enemies in the sector she supervises, especially among airline operators.

Who wouldn’t make enemies with the level of transformation and infrastructure renewal and development taking place in our airports all over the country?  Those benefiting from the rot over the years in the aviation sector, including past aviation minister(s) who now feel disgraced with what the current minister has achieved in the sector, especially the remodelling of the airports and the provision of safety equipment, in their embarrassment, are asking: how dare you?

It is also possible that the Stella Oduah has also hurt some people in the parliament, in her party and even among the cabinet she serves as a member. There have been mutterings about her alleged high-handedness and condescension when she served as director of finance in the Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential campaign organisation.  She survived the cloak and dagger politics then.  But the knives are out for her and there appears to be a few shoulders for her to cry on!

Yet, is it proper to condemn someone just on the basis of sentiments, unfounded public outrage and perhaps, inopportune statement about the Associated Airline plane crash being an act of God, which her publicist, Yakubu Datti, said was taken out of context?  What exactly has the minister of aviation done that enemies seem to want her head on a platter even before she got the chance to defend herself?

I think that Stella Oduah has been unjustly hounded and clobbered as expected by the opposition politicians, the media and the civil society in a deliberate voyage to discredit President Jonathan and his administration. The right questions that the media should be asking on the Stella Oduah matter are: was there any need for the two armoured vehicles purchased?  Were they budgeted for?  And was due process followed in approving their purchase?  Unfortunately, the focus is on how to get the minister fired by any means!

Listening to the presentations made by the staff members of NCAA before the House of Representatives Committee that investigated the matter, and the minister’s reply to the query from President Jonathan, there is no iota of doubt in my mind that the purchase of the two BMW armoured vehicles was captured in the 2013 Appropriation Act as provision was made for the procurement of specialised equipment (including operational vehicles) to complement, and in some cases, replace obsolete ones.

Moreover, a transparent bid process was observed both in the choice of responsive bank(s) to finance and in the award of the contract to Coscharis.  It is rather unfortunate that the presidency bowed to pressures from the opposition and the media to set up a panel of inquiry over this matter, which is very open and clear.  I pray that the panel will not pander to the whims and caprices of vested interests and ethnically-induced bias to recommend the resignation or dismissal of the minister or any harsh or near harsh sanction.

Although the presidential committee has turned in its findings and recommendations which are still kept under wraps, what has happened in the media and the legislature in which there seemed to be an obvious thirst for the blood of the aviation minister as a result of the pressures coming from the uninformed public gives little hope that the minister will get justice.  My fear is that the misguided public bashing and politically-motivated harangue of the minister could strengthen the hands of those who do not like her guts in the legislature and the presidential panel to put her on the spot in their recommendations.

I expect that the Senate intervention would be measured and mature when it eventually takes on the matter.   Wise counsel and pacific gesture should flow from its bosom rather than puerile grandstanding because Stella Oduah, that seemingly powerful woman, is involved and she must be presented to the world as bad and programmed for public odium.  Whatever is the case, President Jonathan must be firm and realise that the aviation minister is one of the few ministers that have renewed public confidence in his government and his transformation agenda through the reforms she initiated in the aviation sector.  It is not proper to crucify Stella Oduah simply because a section of the public does not like her courage or perhaps her personal failings.  She has done nothing against the law.

Those hounding her are doing so for selfish purposes and out of wrong public perception.  It is politics of pull-her-down-and-out of Jonathan’s government, which feeds on the hedonism of her traducers.  President Jonathan should deflate their sense of self-gratification.

Written By Sufuyan Ojeifo

– See more at: http://thewillnigeria.com/news/opinion-stella-oduah-her-traducers-and-their-hedonism/#sthash.NDS9RyGV.dpuf

Babatunde Akinsola
Babatunde Akinsolahttps://naija247news.com
Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

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