In the eventful life of Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation, some days are remarkable and indelible, irrespective of the prevailing circumstances or storms around her. One of such days is January 5th, her birthday. The wealthy proprietress of Sea Petroleum and Gas turns 51 today. But balloons and streamers will not festoon her corner of the world. There will also not be gaudy festivities and felicitations. In fact, we gathered that one of Nigeria’s controversial ministers has perhaps instructed her aides and associates, friends and families, minister colleagues and contemporaries and everybody else that there should be no elaborate advertorials placed to celebrate her birthday in the newspapers. This frugal disposition, we hear, is hinged on her recent plethora of woes.
There was the embarrassing statement credited to her estranged husband, Dr. Chris Ogiemwonyi, a former Executive Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and immediate-past Minister of State for Works, that he had not seen his estranged wife since 2011. If the ensuing media attention on her broken marriage rattled her, Ms. Oduah rallied back nicely, concentrating instead on revamping and renovating Nigerian airports.
Then came the sordid details of her alleged approval of two BMW armoured cars valued at N255million for her personal use. The unrelenting media scrutiny of the controversial BMW cars, the recommendation by the House of Representatives that she should be sacked and the attendant public opprobrium the allegation has raked can be rankling. It is perhaps not to escalate her problems that she has decided not to celebrate her birthday. Information from Ms. Oduah’s circle, however, maintains that regardless of all that has happened, a small celebration, a private dinner affair actually with a few friends and associates in attendance, would hold later this evening.