Ms. Oduah is at the centre of a certificate forgery scandal
Despite overwhelming evidence of certificate forgery and financial recklessness against her, Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, said her troubles are caused by “entrenched interests in the aviation sector” bent on vilifying her.
According the Vanguard newspapers, the troubled minister sounded defiant as she spoke to reporters in Abuja saying the unnamed interests have been profiting from the sector in the last 38 years and had stifled development in the sector.
“For the over 38 years that our airports were a damning commentary on our status as part of the civilised world; or when our airspace existed without the requisite navigational facilities to make the airspace safe; these category of persons saw no evil and heard no evil while they happily clapped their ways to the banks,” she said.
In recent months, Ms. Oduah has been enmeshed in a series of scandals following her purchase of two armoured BMW cars for N225 million.
Earlier this month, news website, Sahara Reporters, published an expose that the minister lied about her claim that she received a Masters degree from St. Paul’s College, USA.
The institution had denied having a graduate school or issuing a post-graduate degree.
Few hours after the story was published she scrambled to edit her Wikipedia page deleting sections that claimed she has a Bachelor and Masters degrees from St Paul’s College, USA. A similar editing was also done on the official website of the Ministry of Aviation.
The scandal was followed by another damning revelation by PREMIUM TIMES about the minister’s claim to a doctorate degree from another U.S. institution, Pacific Christian University, Glendale.
The American National Centre for Education Statistics told PREMIUM TIMES the institution does not exist.
Every Delarosa, a spokesperson for Hope International University in Fullerton, which used to be known as Pacific Christian College-the closest name to what the minister claimed- also insisted Mrs. Oduah could not be referring to Hope University because the institution changed its name from Pacific Christian College in 1997 while Mrs Oduah claimed she was awarded a doctorate in Business Administration 1998.
The Hope University official also explained that the institution, even when it was known as Pacific Christian College, had never had a campus in Glendale. She said the university was based in Long Beach city at the time.
“We do not have any records of any candidate by the name Stella Oduah or related names,” Ms. Delarosa said, after pouring through the university record. “Whether now that we are Hope University and in the past when we were Pacific Christian College, we did not give any such person a degree here.”
In her remarks to the media-one of her first since the scandal broke- Ms. Oduah refused comment on both revelations, and allegations of financial impropriety against her. She however accused unnamed persons of “throwing decency and honour overboard, lying and misleading the Nigerian populace.”
“For this category, that is the entrenched, corrupt and profligate individuals and entities who have caused the serious rot in the aviation sector, I owe no apologies,” she said. “All I owe them is to further inform them that the current generation has seen through them and are no longer willing to tolerate their antics.”
She said the “transformation agenda” of President Goodluck Jonathan has changed the way things are done in the aviation sector. She also added that the nation has made considerable improvement in the area of infrastructural deficit.
“The massive investment and the aggressive prosecution of this agenda in this regard have seen the aviation sector being transformed. Today, 22 airports owned by the Federal Government are at various stages of becoming decent and world-class terminals.
”Nigeria’s airspace has become one of the safest in the world with the deployment of modern navigational equipment and infrastructures. The oversight capacity of the whole sector has been strengthened with the relevant regulations in place and the training and retraining of personnel.”