9 November 2013


Stella Oduah, Nigeria's Minister for Aviation (Image Credit: Jaguda)

Structures of whatever structure are put in place, for things to fall in place; leadership structures are no exception. When people gather to choose and implement their choices to represent their interests, be it in national or international affairs, these choices are expected to function well and with the interest of those who have chosen them in mind. Those who did the choosing can and should always hold these choices accountable.The choices are responsible to those who have chosen them; by choices, I mean ‘leaders’ of any kind and on any platform.

The choosers or choice-makers if you so please, in Nigeria have mind-bugging questions on varying issues ranging from societal to developmental to political…and on JUSTITIA last week, ‘judges’ gathered to dialogue on one: the 255million naira scandal involving the Minister for Aviation. Thesejudges were Safiya S. Musa, Japheth Omojuwa, Dayo Williams, Emmanuel Dairo, ShittuFowora, OyinkansolaMabeko, ShittuSadiq, and YinkaGbadebo. These are excerpts from the court proceedings.
Image Credit: Jaguda
ON RESPONSE TO THE SCANDAL: But…this is Nigeria.
‘Nigerians have a way of manoeuvrings when issues border on corruption/diligence....while we think ourselves smart,the whole world watches on with wild astonishment. There is a lot of awkward drama we put up that makes the world see us as unserious.’

‘Nigerians are looking at cars; those who did the deal were looking at laundering money. LOL. Life is a pot of beans.’

‘I truly wish Nigerians would focus on the lies, huge cost and discrepancies in the documents with regards to chassis and engine nos especially, but we get easily carried away by drama.’

‘In Nigeria, everybody knows the truth, but most people would rather jettison the truth for sentimental reasoning. In an egalitarian society, there wouldn't have been any ruse about this issue, as all actors involved would have done that which is Honourable, immediately the cat about the shady deal was let out of the bag. But THIS IS 9JA.’

ON FREE ACQUITTAL: Stella is a heroine
 ‘…all I can say right now is that it's a lost cause. With what happened yesterday, the Minister may have let herself off the hook.Saying the DG was told to do the needful is a very cunning way to let herself off the hook. Sadly, shows how she runs the ministry. She clearly has no idea about the laws of the land, else she wouldn't just approve every request sent to her without asking her many SAs and PAs to cross check against the budget she defended.’

‘I agree with Safiya...Except the presidency has a change of heart, Stella Oduah will emerge from the whole saga a heroine. She deftly succeeded in putting the blame on her aides as well as the DG of NCAA...’


Now that she has deftly shifted the blame to NCAA,what happens?I doubt if Stella would be sacked. President Jonathan is not serious about fighting corruption...President Jonathan's hands are tied; whatever that means.

Okay, let us talk about gender loyalty. Safiya, you are a woman. Perhaps you can relate better than the men here on this. It was gathered that some women went to the Federal Secretariat bearing placards with words like, ‘A fight against Stella Oduah is a fight against women.’ Are you in support of this? Do you share the same view?

Safiya S Musa
‘Definitely not Mary. I am totally against women taking advantage of issues. We lie when we say we are the weaker sex. Those women are clearly jobless and hungry. N500 is a big deal.

Monetary inducements aside, it is also quite plausible that siege mentality could have led the women to march in support of the embattled minister. One tends to display solidarity with people of one's class, race, or gender irrespective of wrongdoing.

ON POLITICAL UNDERTONE: Presidential ‘candy-licious’ dance

‘First of all...every issue has political undertones. The minister in question - Stella Oduah - comes with a lot of political capital. She played a very strategic, effective and productive role in getting the president elected in 2011. The protests by the ethnic soldiers are of course not representative of the organic position of the South East. It's the manifestation of poverty in our society where people are available, willing and ready to be bought at any price to do anything. If you have the money, you'd be able to get Nigerians to protest against anything you can imagine under the sun. The minister is wily and she knows that this battle has been won and lost in the court of logic and justice, getting to make it a mud fight by using ethnic hues seems her last resort and politicians no matter how good will always be swayed by the next election. At the end of the day, Nigerians will pay more for the costs of 2015 ramblings and of course ironically end up with its least benefits in the coming years.’

Hmmmm Japheth, 'this battle has been won and lost in the court of logic and justice'. That's a real serious matter. Do you all think Mr President will dance around this whole thing because of the 2015 elections? Has he not danced around it yet?

The president is dancing around it as he is known to do around issues like these. Sources close to him say he'd have removed her but for the risk of making a supposed opposition platform (Sahara Reporters) get one over one of his own. That's how the president thinks, like a school child who sees the candy in his hands and the beginning and end of the world without the ability to understand the world is not about him and his candy alone. Plus even if he finally sacks Stella, it'd only be to greater things for Stella. She cannot be dispensed with by Jonathan. He knows it. She knows it. I don't know if Nigerians know it.

IF I WERE THE PRESIDENT: the cap may be tight but I’d wear it right all the same!
‘The easiest thing is to assume the position; the hardest thing is to be in the position. You'd never know how tough the job of a president is no matter how much you want to cinematize it. Having said that what would I do given what I know?
Stella Oduah would at least be suspended. The top guys in NCAA will get suspended too. There'd be no need for a committee because there are established organs of the state in place to investigate such matters…If the relevant bodies finally establish her guilt then the law of course takes its course…My job is just to relieve her of her job which is in my control. I'd certainly not waste time in making an example of my ally to make others see the cost of crossing my values.’

REPRESENTING THE CITIZENS: Power belongs to us; we take it back…

‘Sadly,many aren't aware of the whole thing; and a lot of those who are aware don't care because the issue doesn't affect the price of bread - or petrol. That's the problem here - apathy. And of those of us that both know and care, this I can say with a great deal of certainty: there is little we can do about it; for, make no mistake, we do not have the power to sack her. We robbed ourselves of the power long ago - at successive polls.

First, as citizens, the whole saga is a reminder that we have to progressively claw back the power we so 
chickenly surrendered to the ruling cabal. Power ought to belong to the people; and it is when we get back the power that our representatives would begin to be wary of public backlash if they indulge in unbridled corruption.

SOLUTIONS: Who will bell this Lion?

‘The solutions are two of possible options…The president has to take tough decisions. He knows it. The fight against corruption died under his watch, this would be a good place to restart it. At least suspend Ms.Oduah (if not outright sack) and get the right agencies to swoop in.
The people must make demand on the system to do the right thing. As long as we keep quiet, next year they will buy 4 cars for $3 million. And so it'd go. We have work to do.’

MY DREAM FOR NIGERIA: I dare to dream…still
Image Credit: prnigeria
 Emmanuel OluwaseunDairo
‘My dream is for us to have a society where everyone is interested in what their representatives are up to, a clime where state of residence is more important than state of origin, a place where federal character is binned in favour of Moral character, a place where the law is actually worth the paper used to print it, a developed economy where all sectors are properly funded and managed, thriving on IT and proper resource management,a land whose people actually get to taste the milk and honey produced here.’

‘A Nigeria that works for the majority,a country where justice is the norm; and prosperity the order.’

‘My dream for Nigeria can be encapsulated into just one word "REVOLUTION"’.

My dream for Nigeria is to see a country, where the citizens come first, in all decisions and actions of those in government.

For Nigeria to be the real giant it should be in the comity of nations...We are endowed,both material and human, to actually be the great. We only have to do the needful.

A Nigeria where Accountability, Equity & Justice, Good Governance reigns supreme, a Nigeria where all Nigerians will take Anti-Corruption serious.

There is not much to say; just plenty to chew. With these views, is this the Nigeria YOU want? Are your dreams for this country selfless? Situations are obviously red but there are workable solutions. Dream some up, work on them diligently; contribute your quota to national growth.

To ‘the chosen’ this is the verdict: that the issue is investigated thoroughly, with all diligence, sincerity, and honesty and justice, true justice be done. In this way, accountability is demanded of you; be responsible enough to be accountable. Lex non cogitimpossibilia (the law does not command the doing of what is humanly impossible. You have not been asked to do something impossible. Let justice be done though the heavens fall. Do right by the citizens of this great country who have entrusted their lives to you. May justice prevail, now and always.

Mary Ajayi (@megadoxa)

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