Stella Oduah, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation who is embroiled in a scandal of towering proportions in the ministry, faces new integrity questions as her Masters’ degree has been challenged by the United States school which supposedly awarded it.
Her resume, which she presented to the Senate as a ministerial
nominee in 2011, indicated she obtained a Master's degree in Business
Administration (MBA) from St. Paul’s College Lawrenceville, Virginia,
But SaharaReporters has learned from the President of the college
that it has never in its 125-year history had a graduate school or
The Provost Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Vice
President of Institutional Development said in response to our
inquiries, “We don’t offer any graduate programs here.”
Similarly, the school’s website states: “Saint Paul's College is
accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate [bachelor’s] degrees.” There
is no mention of graduate degrees.
The Minister’s documentation shows she received an undergraduate
degree in accounting from the college in 1982, but Dr. Claud Flythe, St.
Paul’s current president, could neither confirm nor deny this during a
phone conversation with SaharaReporters. Further verification with the
Office of Alumni Affairs is also currently impossible, the school said,
because the college has been closed since June 2013 to loss of its
“[Oduah] realized very early in life the indispensability of a sound
education in her growth plans in life and therefore pursued her
education with all diligence and sense of purpose,” her documents
claimed, adding that a determination “to have the best education at the
highest level” prompted her stay at the Virginia college in 1983 for the
As her public relations machinery marched on, in December 2012 The
Sun newspaper published an article headlined “Stella Oduah: An Amazon of
transformation,” which lauded her “MBA from St Paul’s College,
Lawrenceville Virginia USA.” The story also praised her for being an
official who brought her “rich educational background to bear on the
aviation sector by automating revenue centers in all the agencies and
parastatals to boost their revenue profile and enhance transparency and
accountability in the system.”
In October, SaharaReporters broke the story that Mrs. Oduah, a former
campaign manager for President Goodluck Jonathan, purchased two
bulletproof BMW cars worth $ 1.6 Million (N255m) through the Nigerian
Civil Aviation Authority, for her own use.
Following an investigation, the House of Representatives Committee on
Aviation dismissed the Minister’s pleas of innocence and all her
rebuttals during her testimony. The committee’s report, which was
subsequently adopted by the House, declared that no budgetary
appropriation had been made for the purchase of the cars, and that the
NCAA proposal for their purchase was rejected.
President Jonathan also set up a three-member administrative panel to
investigate the matter, but he immediately travelled out of the country
with Mrs. Oduah and Colonel Dasuki, the National Security Adviser who
was to serve as a member of the panel. Not only did the panel submit its
report much later than the two weeks it was given for the assignment,
Mr. Jonathan has refused to release its report.
Mrs. Oduah’s new certificate questions are certain to feed into
national concern about her credibility as an elected official, but also
about Mr. Jonathan’s credibility, and about the nation’s security
apparatus which verifies official documents offered to the Senate for
If Mrs. Oduah deliberately deceived the Senate, it remains to be seen
if the Upper House will be sufficiently motivated to take up the matter
with the Executive.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s aviation industry continues to face a massive
challenge, with struggling airports and airlines, as well as financial
and administrative pitfalls that hinder expansion and development.
Source: Sahara Reporters