Like a closet gladiator, bursting through her self-woven sheathe of tact and obscurity, Stella Oduah, ex-aviation minister, has decided to confront demons of her past, allegedly responsible for her travails in the political arena. Oduah recently alleged that she was removed as minister of aviation in 2014 at the prompting of Diezani Alison-Madueke, then minister of petroleum resources. Now a senator, Oduah made the allegation in an upcoming book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, written by Bolaji Abdullahi, who himself served as a minister under Jonathan from 2011-2014.
Oduah claims in the book that when the scandal broke over the $1.6 million BMW armoured cars bought for her by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in 2013, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan invited her to defend herself. The meeting allegedly took place with Alison-Madueke, who was perceived to be extremely influential on President Goodluck Jonathan, and Anyim Pius Anyim, who was the secretary to the government of the federation in attendance.
Although Jonathan reportedly seemed satisfied with Oduah’s explanation that there was nothing shady about the acquired vehicle and Alison-Madueke also seemed sympathetic and allegedly promised to urge her friends in the National Assembly and the media “to back down” on the issue, Oduah laments that things still turned awry for her. Alison-Madueke allegedly betrayed her and Jonathan sacrificed her. “I thought she (Alison-Madueke) had my back. I did not know at the time that she was actually fuelling it and orchestrating all the media attacks. I knew all along that Diezani could not deal with having another female around who had the kind of access I had to the president.
“But she went too far. She thought I was the one who leaked the issue of private jet that put her into trouble with the House of Representatives (Diezani was accused of spending N10 billion on chartered jets). For her it was payback time,” Oduah tells Abdullah. The ex-aviation minister reveals that twice, she offered to resign before her sack but Jonathan asked her not to, yet the issue did not go away. Alison-Madueke, who is currently battling fraud and embezzlement charges in British and Nigerian courts, “was paying people to keep the story alive. At the same time, she was whispering in [the president’s] ears that he had to take action,” Oduah alleges.