Oduahgate: Many Questions, No Answers


By Amaka

Minister-of-Aviation-Ms-Stella-Oduah-360x225As the controversy surrounding the aviation purchase of  2 bullet-proof vehicles valued at N225m continues to rage, there is need to address certain pertinent questions.

Firstly, what are the priorities of Nigerian Government Officials? Is it to execute projects that would better the lives of the populace they are called to serve? Or is it to line their pockets with funds stolen from the public till?

It is irksome to note that Nigerian public officers earn about the highest sums in salaries and allowances across the world, even bigger their American and British counterparts even when the exchange rate is considered.

Could this be the reason why Government always complains that there is never enough money to execute capital projects? Could this be the reason why about three-fourth of the Nation’s budget is spent on recurrent expenditure?

Secondly, is the tiring issue of setting up committees to investigate the allegations leveled against the Minister. Committees are a re-jigging of the word bureaucracy and this one, set up by the Government, which has bypassed the function of the Senate/House committee on Aviation is one jamboree the Nation can ill-afford.

It is on record that the current administration has set up over 200 different committees for different issues; an unnecessary wastage of time and public funds. The sad thing is that the requisite white papers hardly ever issued, meaning recommendations are only for the reading pleasure for those in position of authority.

Thirdly, isn’t it about time the structure of governance is addressed? Because it is obvious that the cost of running a federal system of government is quite expensive. Perhaps, one would hope that the about-to-be-convened National Confab would address these and other related issues but, alas, the Confab seems to be doomed from the start because it is already shrouded in controversy.

Fourthly, public scandals of this sort have a way of chipping at the fabrics of confidence in the government of the day. How well did the PR arm of both the Minister’s entourage and that of the Presidency manage the crisis? This is not the first time that a crisis of this sort has played out into public consciousness.

Instead of putting out fires created by poor handling of the crisis, steps should have been taken to properly manage the situation internally to prevent the media wild fire that is raging now.

It is understood that the Ministry top shots have gone on a man-hunt to fish out the whistle-blower, who goes by the pen-alias of Nicholas Edward. While this may serve as a deterrent to any prospective whistle-blower, the deed has been done already and by Jove, Nigeria deserves many more whistle-blowers.

It is important to note that corruption is a fight that can never be won without the collaboration of the Government and the governed. And there is no way the fight can be won when the people don’t trust the government. It is in times like this that the Government needs to show maturity by asking the Minister to resign while investigations are pursued to a logical conclusion. If she is found guilty, she should be made to face the full wrath of the law.

As it is in street lexicon, Nigerians are believed to answer questions with questions; let’s hope that the questions raised in this article are not answered with more questions.