For about 5 months between 2013-14, former fundraiser for the presidential campaign of President Jonathan, and his erstwhile minister of aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, was under fire. The history of her various battles was captured, at various points, in the compendium of limericks below.
Her first trial came after a tragic spate of air crashes, when she held a press conference and declared, “We do not pray for accidents but it is inevitable… We do everything to ensure that we do not have accidents, but it is an act of God.” She probably meant something closer to “force majeure” and not that these things would happen regardless of how vigilant we mortals were, but she was roundly ridiculed for the statement…
The question that’s now on the table-
Is it true or is it a fable
That aircraft must drop
Accidents won’t stop
It’s really all inevitable?
Shortly thereafter, it emerged that she had given her approval for one of the departments under her supervision to purchase 2 armoured BMWs at a cost of N255million (US$1.6million). Investigations were conducted, leading to a hearing at the Federal Legislature. There, the contractor who imported the cars, a long established auto-industry mogul, admitted bringing the vehicles in via import waivers meant for the Lagos State Sports Festival from the previous year, to avoid tax. As for the minister, she said she realized that the money involved exceeded the statutory ministerial authority (of N100 million) and she qualified her approval of the internal memo with the words “do the needful”. As such, it purportedly then became the government department’s job to see that the cars were procured lawfully. Cue a nation-full of raised eyebrows. Her Director from the department then testified that the cars were not meant for the minister, oh no! They were for dignitaries from IATA and other ministries of aviation. Cue a nation-full of “yeah right!”…
The ministry gave Cos the nod
To buy a Bavarian pod
When you seek reform
It must be the norm
To defend against Acts of God
Ah Cosmas, what manner of goof?
You who were genteelly aloof?
Your attitude’s lax
To evasion of tax
Your bullshit is not bullet-proof!
She ended her evidence, gleeful
Knowing that it was deceitful
As nothing that’s wrong
Is righted for long
By simply adding “Do the needful”.
Wasn’t the best of responses
He told us, now look here you dunces
The cars are for guests
That do all the tests
And give all our planes second chances
Today we are needful of grace
A waiver to hold us in place
When she disapproved
Requests with “approved”
‘Twas needful to throw out her case.
The heat didn’t really die down with the hearing at the House. Not too long afterwards, an “assassination attempt” on Ms Oduah was reported. Luckily for her, she was not in the ambushed car. However, the incident was not reported to the Police until 48 hours afterwards and as for the police investigation, it’s probably best not to say anymore…
She purchased those cars, not in jest
And also a bulletproof vest
The House’s report
Is just writing sport
Now sympathy trumps an arrest
Turned out the Beamer’s weren’t costly
And we were outraged unjustly
To questions about
Our Prez’dent has replied “robustly”
But Stella kept working hard, especially at the international airports, keeping on with the expansions and remodeling. Then, she announced something called the Aerotropolis, that would result in the creation of a world record 10 million jobs! Cynicism trailed almost all she was doing by this time and the jobs projection was met with the greatest skepticism possible…
10 MILLION JOBS, they chorus
And no, don’t say it’s bogus
The latest update
From Aunt #Stellagate
Is the brand new Aerotropolis
By this time, one of her predecessors in office, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, had published a spiritual hypothesis on plane crashes in Nigeria. He also tweeted this gem about the person of Ms Oduah:
Ah, Fani, what a fella
His tweet last night was hella
Deziani’s got poise
Okonjo rules boys
And oh, what he said about Stella!
Time passed and just when it seemed that the whole fiasco had blown over, Sahara Reporters accused her of certificate forgery.
For Princess, a new revelation
Times Premium in investigation
Is casting a doubt
(Abeg, I can’t shout!)
On Stella Oduah’s education
In spite of the Grand Renovation
It’s tricky, this school situation
Should all that she’s built
Absolve her of guilt
If she fibbed ’bout her education?
She was then accused of barring State Security Service personnel from the international airports. This was probably a silly rumour and her team promptly denied it.
Ms Stella’s again in the news
Bizarre, but they say she’s refused
To permit access
By the SSS
To airports, and they’ve blown a fuse
Finally, after months of robust silence from the presidency on all matters that concerned her, she was chopped in a cabinet reshuffle. We don’t expect her separation from the president to be permanent however, given their history.
The needful now done somewhat late
Will agencies investigate
Or will this her boot
Be mere parachute
No info, so we speculate
L.Maku says they were not sacked
That in fact, the President’s backed
Their wish to engage
And give their home states what they’ve lacked
Ah Stella, the Actress of God
From Ministrial BeeM-ers now shod
A tardy farewell
Though we know too well
Not really, for she’s Johnnie’s blood