Why Jonathan fired Stella Oduah, Orubebe, two others

Some of the ministers sacked Wednesday have corruption allegations hanging on their necks

President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday summoned uncommon courage, firing four of his ministers – three of which have been enmeshed in controversies and corruption allegations.

The sack of the four ministers is the second major overhaul of the lacklustre federal cabinet undertaken by President Jonathan in the last seven months.

The ministers relieved of their appointments are Stella Oduah (Aviation), Godsday Orubebe (Niger Delta Affairs), Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs) and Yerima Ngama (Finance).

Briefing journalists after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Presidential Villa, Information Minister, Labaran Maku, said the president announced the removal of the ministers during the meeting.

“The President announced further changes in the Federal Executive Council,” Mr. Maku said. “He said a number of ministers had been asked to step out from the council to pursue their own interests, some in politics and others in their own private focus. Mainly what the President did today was to allow the Ministers that have indicated interest in pursuing further growth in the economy to be allowed to go.”

Mr. Maku said the Aviation ministry would now be supervised by the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Samuel Ortom. While the Ministry of Niger Delta would be supervised by its Minister of State, Gauis Ishaku , the Ministry of Police Affairs would be supervised by the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Olajumoke Akinjide. The Ministry of Finance would continue to be manned by its minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Showing them the door

While Ms. Oduah was sacked in absentia as she was not at the cabinet meeting, the other affected ministers were in attendance at what turned out their last FEC meeting.

The ministers of police affairs and Niger Delta affairs however left before the end of the meeting.

The sack of the cabinet members came barely seven months after nine of their colleagues were dropped and two weeks after the president sent 12 ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.

The ministers sacked last September were Shamsuddeen Usman (Minister of National Planning), Olugbenga Ashiru (Foreign Affairs), Hadiza Mailiafia (Environment), Ruqqayat Ahmed (Education), Ita Ewa (Science and Technology) and Ama Pepple (Housing and Urban Development).

Others were Bukar Tijani (Minister of State for Agriculture), Zainab Kuchi (Power), and Olusola Obada (Defence).

The new ministerial nominees the president sent to the Senate on January 21 for confirmation are Aliyu Gusau (Zamfara), Boni Haruna (Adamawa), Musiliu Obanikoro (Lagos), Akon Eyakeni (Akwa Ibom), Mohammed Wakil (Borno), Lawrencia Mallam (Kaduna), Aminu Wali (Kano) and Jumilia Salik (Kano).

Asabe Ahmed (Niger), Abduljelili Oyewale (Osun), T.W. Danagogo (Rivers) and Khaliru Alhassan (Sokoto) were also nominated.

Before the removal of the nine ministers nine months ago, two others — Haliru Mohammed (Defence), and Inuwa Abdul-kadir (Youth Affairs) — were dropped while Ali Pate (Minister of State for Health) resigned to take up a teaching appointment in the United States.

Although, Messrs Orubebe and Olubolade are believed to have been fired to enable them pursue their gubernatorial interests in Delta and Ekiti States, respectively, that cannot be possibly be said of Ms Oduah and Mr. Ngama.

Oduah’s bagful of scandals

It is believed that Ms. Oduah was forced to resign because of the various controversies and scandals trailing her.

The former aviation minister was found guilty by two panels, which probed the purchase of two bullet-proofs cars by an agency under her supervision, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, for N255 million in violation of Nigeria’s public procurement and appropriation laws.

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, which held an investigative hearing on the matter, said in its report that the money used in purchasing the vehicles was not covered by the 2013 budget. It also said Ms. Oduah breached Nigerian laws by exceeding her approval limit and signing off over N634 million for the agency to buy 54 vehicles.

The Committee, headed by Nkiru Onyejiocha, then advised President Jonathan to review Mrs. Oduah’s appointment as minister.

“The House urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to review the continued engagement of the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, for having contravened the Appropriation Act 2013 and the approved, revised thresholds by exceeding the Ministry of Aviation’s approval limit of N100 million by the purchase of 54 vehicles valued at N643 million,” the report said in part.

The President panel set up by the Federal Government on the matter equally found Mrs. Oduah guilty for breaching the laws of the land.

The panel was headed by the immediate past Head of Service of the Federation, Bello Isa and had as members the National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki and Dick Iruenebere, a retired Air Vice Marshall.

Apart from the scandal, Ms. Oduah was also involved in a certificate forgery scandal. The former minister was alleged to have claimed in the resume she submitted to the Senate for her confirmation hearing that a university, which was later found to be non-existent, awarded her a phantom honorary doctorate degree.

She also falsely claimed on the website of the Ministry of Aviation that she bagged a Masters degree from St. Paul College, Lawrenceville, Virginia, United States.

However, checks at the institution revealed that it did not award her the degree as it does not run graduate programmes.

Neighbour to Neighbour illegality

Also, the former aviation minister, alongside Mr. Orubebe and others had floated the “Neigbhbour 2 Neigbhour” organisation which campaigned for Mr. Jonathan during the 2011 presidential election, but which was later found to be involved in illegal activities.

The organisation, PREMIUM TIMES investigations revealed, was registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission as an NGO and was not supposed to be involved in any political campaign for any candidate or political party.

The organisation was registered as an ‘incorporated trustee’ on April 14, 2011, and has as trustees Ms. Oduah, who gave her occupation as businesswoman; Mr. Orubebe, a public servant; and Amalate Johnic Turner, a traditional ruler in Ijaw land, who gave his occupation as a businessman.

“We don’t register organisations that have political motives. It is INEC that does that,” Garba Abubakar, Special Adviser to the Registrar-General of the Commission, had told this newspaper.

Orubebe’s corruption headache

In 2012, a group, Anti-Corruption Network, ACN, headed by a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, accused Mr. Orubebe of corruption and abuse of office.

In a petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, the group accused the former minister of accepting gratification of a palatial mansion in Abuja, contrary to Section 12 of the Act.

The group said, “We write this Petition in the interest of our nascent democracy and the entire citizenry at large. It has become an adverse trend in our polity where public office holders under the guise of administrative functions illegally divert funds, contracts and even take benefits/gratifications in the award of contracts to companies whose promise of a reward is highest contrary to Sections 12,13,14, 20,22 and 25 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, Cap. C31, LFN 2010(hereinafter referred to as the Act).

“A classic example inter alia is that of Elder Godsday Orubebe, the Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs (MNDA). By virtue of his standing to influence the award of Contracts, Elder Godsday Orubebe abused his office by accepting a gratification of a palatial mansion on the property allocated to him in Abuja, FCT contrary to Section 12 of the Act.

“As it is from the above Elder Godsday Orubebe has patently abused the use of his office under Section 22 of the Act, Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap. C15 2010, and he is also guilty of an offence of corruption and abuse of office pursuant to Section 98 of the Criminal Code Act.”

The former minister was also variously tongue-lashed by the Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, for poor performance, especially for failing to complete the East-West Road, which is vital to the economy of the Niger Delta region.

Mr. Ngama and his Malabu fraud

Mr. Ngama, on his part was fingered in the messy but famous Malabu scandal as he, alongside the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, allegedly ignored petitions, a court case, and anti-corruption investigations, to hurriedly authorize the transfer of N155billion into accounts controlled by Dan Etete, a former Petroleum Minister, who claimed ownership of Malabu.

The former Minister of State for finance, who hails from Yobe State, connived with Mr. Adoke to move the funds, paid by Shell and Agip for the disputed oil bloc 245, into Malabu’s account controlled by Mr. Etete.

Before his sack, Mr. Ngama, who is believed to be eyeing the governorship seat of Yobe State, had had a running battle with members of the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC.

The Commissioners of Finance and Accountants-General of the 36 states and the FCT, who are members of the Committee had repeatedly protested to President Jonathan over alleged poor management of the affairs of the Committee.

Mr. Ngama also authored the controversial letter from the Ministry of Finance authorising the Nigerian Custom Service, NCS, to widen the scope of beneficiaries of the Export Expansion Grant. That letter is believed to have opened a floodgate of abuse of the customs duties waiver regime.


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  • Ahmed Al Mukhtari

    He, himself, is supposed to be stepping out of the office due to incompetence and embezzlement of societal resources.

    • blogNaija

      “if they ‘take’ their crude oil directly or via the proceed (dollar or naira) why do people call it theft- do you steal what belongs to you?”- Asari Dokubo.
      east-west road is still under contruction for more than 7yrs, gas still being flared in the region, oil spill messing up the environment plus the military task force burning illegal refinery (one wonders who is doing more harm- knowing the main root of the problem but using a sledge hammer to kill mosquito).
      some call yoruba, igbo, hausa, as the enemy; who are they to themselves- local farmers, fishermen in the region, unemployed (law abiding) residents.
      pull the whole resources in the world to Nigeria without solving the rottenness fattened by lack of true leadership, all will end in chaos just like we are seeing; the story of Singapore, South Korea, Maylesia and other countries that have overtaken us gives us the clue.
      it is not about some people- the virus is spreading wildly. not about age.
      i hate hopelessness!

      • redeem

        In the nation states u mentioned there are no-Ibo, Fulani, yorubas tribal leaders–they see themselves as Malaysian–they also had similar problems like ours until they separated-why dont we give it a try–at least we have 6 zones in the country each can fly their own flag at the UN

    • Udegbue Peter

      Haba, Al Mukhtari, you are seriously one of those northerners that hate President Goodluck Jonathan. Obviously you and your northern people don’t like him at all. Is it his face that you don’t like. He is obviously more handsome than any of your past rulers who ruled by the barrel of the gun and still think that the status quo will remain. You must know that whatever you and your people are doing and thinking the next president of this country will never come from the north. Your generation have been feeding fat on the wealth from Jonathan’s backyard and yet you don’t see anything good in the goose that lays the golden egg. You are ungrateful and God will pay you back.

    • redeem

      U call a Jonathan a thief because u are Fulani-and therefore feels u can say anything and get away with it–cause of yr Holy birth-may be-But do we also have the right to demand that CBN be probed based on the contracts that had already been awarded as well as proposed projects by CBN which included N98 billion for International Convention Centre, Abuja; a N14 billion project in University of Lagos; N12. 9 billion contract in University of Maiduguri; N11.3 billion project in Nigeria Defence Academy; N10.2 billion contract in the University of Port Harcourt; N9.5 billion project in University of Jos; and N6.8 billion contract award in University of Nigeria, among several others? Would they be able to throw their tribal dress code away and ask for a probe into the allegations above? I have my doubts. Not in the Nigeria that we all reside in-with APC

      • Sincerely Yours

        You have been going from forum to forum with these. What is your point exactly?. Is it that it is a bad thing, and illegal, if so, why aren’t the authorities doing something about it?

  • Ahmed Al Mukhtari

    I’m constraned to pick up my pen from the ocean of fury and resentment, though, it is an ocean of truth that most Nigerians are reluctant to drink from it.
    The happenings in this country are deliberate, confusing, misleading, disgusting and indeed irritating that all well-meaning Nigerians are much more concerned about.
    This country is indeed sinking into the sea of corruption, uncertainty, social vices, bad governance, turmoil, economic back-ward-ness and spilling of blood of innocent people.
    What makes me puzzled is that, the Nigerian rulers – traditional, political and most of religious are not worried about.
    Let me start by talking about economy which is the backborn and mainstay of any country in the world, the economy of this country is still dounting and backward. Though the GDP is increasing but unemployment is at its pick, there is low level of production due to mal-allocation of societal resources, hence, the fall in living standard of the people.
    The vast majority of Nigerians are left destitute without what to eat, they don’t have access to sound education, uninterrupted power supply, safe drinking water, roads and other social over heads that without which life would be miserable.
    Imagine how souls of the citizens are not respected and considered, how many souls were lost? The blood is shed by snippers and are not brought into justice. Is this how we should continue living?
    There is no peace, order and stability in this county, everyone is afraid and the government has its hands off the issue.
    What the government is for is to draw down the account and the well of the country’s resources. The prospect for the future is uncertain, the youths are left to think for themselves, that’s why they think of being thieves, armed robbers, political thugs, drug abusers, outcasts and worthless, and the government fails to think for them, to provide solutions to their problems and allocate them where appropriate, thus, they will be of importance to their own society.
    In my little knowledge in Economics, was tought that, no economy will boost and revamp without an increase in investment. The investment that I’m talking about is an inverse function of interest rate, i.e when the interest rate goes high, the tendency is that, the investors reduce or stop taking loans from banks, but if interest rate is lowered down, there must be a rush to the banks to have access to loan-able funds, so that, they could maximise profit.
    Amazing as it is when the Central Authority of my Country caused the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to ascend to its highest in its history, this would give birth to the rise in interest rate and reduce the chance for Commercial Banks to create money and in turn discourage investment.
    Let me turn my furious face to how politics in my dear country is played, where self centered, selfish, greedy and igoistic people occupy all the offices, the rulers who are reluctant to give up power. What terrifies me is that, the same leaders of 1980s are still the leaders of today, and my primary teachers kept on telling me that, we are the leaders of tomorrow!
    They are not serving but being served, they are in power for themselves without any intention to depend the interest of people. They want continue ruling till the end time.
    Those politicians and other top officials are only engrossed with corruption, nepotism, embezzlement and mis-management of our wealth, they don’t have this country in mind.
    The last but not the least is the social setting of Nigerian society. Each and every group of this blessed country has its own norms and values that it cherished, and these cherished norms and values guide behaviour, but unfortunately, are systematically eroded and left behind that’s why the people of today are bewildered and do not know where they are heading for.
    The people start copying and imitating foreign cultures which are contrary to theirs. Everything changes from good to wost: the way people worship, the way they dress, the way they walk, they speak and the way they do many things. Elders are not respected and desirable behaviour is not rewarded. The people tend to be secular and godless.
    Can these mentioned above problems be corrected? Yeah! They can simply be corrected if people of this country join hands togather to elect leaders who are responsible and altruistic, the leader who have the country in mind, the leaders who can depend the interest of and die for their people, the leaders who are corruption free, God fearing, tested, trusted and trustworthy, the leaders of emulation and fine character, the leaders who have the knowledge of right and wrong, the leaders who would be just, the leaders who could study the past in order to control the present and forsee the future and the leaders of wisdom that would be capable of governing wisely as opined by Plato.
    Written by me, Ahmad Mukhtar Umar Kankarofi,

    • Sword of Damocles

      Your Treatise is on point my brother. wisdom is a rare commodity and apparently you have it in abundance. The enemy of “from many, ONE”(El Pluribus Unum) is sectionalism/ tribalism. And it is a formidable adversary. i dont think that that oneness can be achieved without coercion from an honest & just Leader.

      • redeem

        Sadly for us Nigeria is over 54 yrs old–How many years did it take late Gaddafi to transform his country Libya- through the army uniform and the red epaulets he had on his shoulders? We are no fools my friend–How many times did Libya have Maitasine, boko haram or other religious riots in that country as we often experience in Nigeria? Did we not have buhari for almost 3 yrs-gowon 8yrs–shagari 4 yrs, ibb 8yrs–obj 8 yrs–abacha 6 yrs–balewa and zik same–with trillions of my oil resources wasted on nothing–yet several decades after the departure of these northern rulers, are we not still yearning for light, water, food on our tables-ati-roads, good education and better health facilities?-I heard all that u wrote b4 when Awo came out to contest elections with shagari–when late Gani came to plead for our votes–it was the same fulanis up north that said no way to abiola-and the ganis–after using the same trick to pull Awo down-now they want Jonathan gone again-how many almajiri schools did u build for them? Was it not because of amnesty deals after the maitasine riots that produced the nomadic education scheme-how many floating schools do we have in the oil bearing communities of the SS? Pls just go sleep with yr crap–separation is the only answer to end the crisis in Jos and boko haram period-

  • blogNaija

    FCT minister bala mohammed- 2015 political mercenary?
    Nyesom Wike and his cash & carry University of Abuja under the nose of federal ministery of education and national university commission. do little investigation, talk to few students- handout fee, exam marking fee, etc.

  • Given the long standing relationship between the former Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, it was clear that the sword of Damocles would fall on the latter sooner, on the forced departure of the former. It came too late though, and had gone a long way to further tarnish the already battered image of the administration. However it is better late than never. Can I see the fingers of the Princess Oduah’s Vanguard of Apologists? I guess that they have all taking a bow now that ” PEPPER” is no longer guaranteed. I presume that they are averse to the acceptance of promissory notes.

  • Amina

    She was supposed to have been asked to step aside long time ago to the president name.too,too late for Jonathan.Bad advises looking for money in their pockets are too much around the president not allowing the president to do what is his mind,Orisejafor,Clark,Abati,Maku,Mama patience,Iweala.All this people are wrong advisers to thie president.imagine if he had sacked her earlier.the president name would have been in good records on corruption now.too,too late.this after thought?the president should use his criticism words to plan his obtains.there is bound to be criticism in a life.what do one say in an airport that plastics are used to collect water dropping from the ceiling.toilets are stinking.people used foreign money to pay for trolleys.how do you get the change.you end up leaving the change for them.its that not coruption.everywhere in the world trolleys are free.is that not coruption.so,so sad a country

  • HausaFulani

    I see no courage in what Mr President did for sacking these former ministers owing to the fact Labaran Maku gave reason for their departure as t o pursue their political or business ambitions.Mr President could only be hail if he sacks those minister accused of either corruption or misappropriation the duo are Ngozi Iweala and Dieazani Allison Madueke for finance and petroleum ministries respectively.

    • Fairgame

      Where is the evidence against okonjo Iweala or your tribalist bigoted heart is wanting to suck the blood of the lady? You will never be satisfied. I pray you live long enough to continue to see her rise. She has been and remains the best performing Finance minister Nigeria has ever had. God will truly continue to lift her up far above the low lives like you who thrive on roadside gossip and rise up full of hatred.

  • Amina

    Oduah Stella case is long over due.The president could have sack her since last year to save his name.president is so rounded with sycophants looking. For something for their pockets.Orisejafor,Clark,Maku,Abati are all looking for how to fill their pockets.please Jonathan follow your heart if you need to succeed.even don’t listen. To mama patience that had caused trouble in rivers state today.itsyou that people vote don not any of this people.they only came after.use criticism words to improve your plan for the country.there is bound to be criticism in govt all over the world .improve on unemployment,insecurity,cancel sure pi.open graduates bank,where graduates can be borrow money after their NYSC.coruption in nnpc should be tackle.if people didn’t see it they will not complain.please change all your ministers.its time for them to go.they have done enough havoc to this system.

    • Udegbue Peter

      Hey Amina, are you saying Mr President could have sacked those ministers just because the newspapers said so without any proper investigation. If you are in Mr President’s position, would you have done that? This is not a military administration when one man just wakes up and takes a decision without consultation. The long years of northern military dictatorship has brought us woes and and that is what we are suffering today. Tell your people to leave Mr President alone try to adjust to modern and acceptable standards of international behaviours.

      • e_orpheus

        “Hey Amina, are you saying Mr President could have sacked those ministers just because the newspapers said so without any proper investigation.”
        Long before now. It shouldn’t take him 4 months to get to the bottom of Madam Stella’s transgressions. He should have placed them on suspension while investigating. House of Reps for instance got their results within two or three weeks. You have the documents, you have the witnesses, you have the motive, you have the law, what else are you looking for? Even after the forgery and perjury concerning her education/qualifications she still sat attending FEC meetings. Come on!

  • Amina

    2015 is around the corner but you can still turn the country around.read the papers and comments.Stop listening to advice from the people around you.they are all after their pockets mr president.people are looking for change.change in leadership by sacking all your ministers,change in also rock by not listening to madam patience because she is not the person vote for.what difference has she made if not making PDP loose more adstates to opponents.sycophants like Clark are not good for your the party or around you.only looking for oil block for his pocket.a million ear among millions of poor people.what is oriseajofor looking for in villa if not money for his pocket.blowing empty horns.now 2015 is around.imagine if president had sacked dough long ago.his name would be in good record.ordinarily stepping aside would have saved the president name but for fools around him.we did not vote for this fools that made the leadership to derail to this level.even women that gave birth to new babies name their children. Goodluck Jonathan.see what sycophants had caused him. Now.bad advisers.YOU CAN STILL CHANGE AND IMPROVE THIS COUNTRY OF OUrS.

  • Kayode Oyin-Zubair

    That the Presidency is just waking up from its slumber to fully appreciate the extent of damage Mistress Stella has done to our corporate image is purely unpatriotic. As for those pursuing elective offices; we wish you what you wish Nigeria. What has Stella been doing for th past 4 months?

  • Mani_Kay


    The Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani and the Yorubas have failed woefully ….. they are doomed and have become irrelevant.

    Together they have ganged up and formed Aliens Political Congress (APC) … it will not help them.

    They will continue to fail woefully.

    Their attempt to stampede the President into taking unjust actions against fellow Nigerians have failed woefully and will continue to fail.

    I recall the inglorious days of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani (IBB) and the Yorubas (OBJ) … when reputable Nigerians where disgraced and sacrificed at the alter of injustice ……. not so today ….. President Goodluck Jonathan, the very civilized, fair minded and extremely just illustrious son of the peoples of Niger Delta and true Nigeria have changed all that.

    Never again will the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani and the Yorubas who are now ganging up under APC be allowed to rule Nigeria and exhibit their animalistic tendencies as they did in the past.

    I recall the unruly sack of Ebitu Ukiwe, Wabara, David West, Osuji and many others and I thank God that President Jonathan is vigorously cleaning up the mess the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani and the Yorubas left behind.

    Let me say it very clearly ….. there is no reason why the Yorubas and the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani should be allowed to continue voting and vying for political office in Nigeria. They are illegal aliens and should be expelled out of the country without further delay.

    The Yorubas are from Dahomey while the bulk of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are from Timbuktu in present day Mali.


    Counting from independence in 1960, Nigeria is 53years and a few months old. And from independence in 1960, the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani and the Yorubas have together ruled Nigeria for over 50 consecutive years from independence.

    At the end of their over 50 consecutive years rule of Nigeria it is not in doubt that they left a terrible mess.

    The Yorubas and the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani have ruined Nigeria for 50 consecutive years. They must allow the South-South, South-East and the Middle Belt/Christian North a period of 50 consecutive years to fix Nigeria.

    • Fairgame

      I fully concur!

  • redeem

    This is what we call speculative journalism as practiced by PT for APC-Danjumah and Etete were both issued with oil blocks by late Abacha-Danjuma had no Trouble selling his-But when Ijaw man Etete came out to sell his OWN OIL BLOCK, trouble started-the tripod DECIDED putting all types of hurdles on his way to acquiring the oil blocks–I have said it on many occasions regardless of the no go areas in the forth coming constitution confab-our socalled unity is a sham-Sad though that Jonathan does not want his name to be attacked to the break up of Nigeria-but its clear we are better off separated than have us pretend as if all is well-any who says we must remain under one roof is a rogue-a thief who wants to reap from where he did not sow-

  • 9jaIsFinished

    “the former aviation minister was found guilty by two panels”…….. While the Petroleum Minister that was indicted in six different reports still remains untourchable. The three ministers that have curruption cases to answer will as usual, walk away free with all their stolen loot, become Senators or Ambassadors and life goes on.