Stella Oduah has sensationally revealed how she was removed as minister of aviation in 2014 — and the role played by Diezani Alison-Madueke, then-minister of petroleum resources.
Oduah, now a senator, spoke in an upcoming book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, written by Bolaji Abdullahi, who himself served as a minister under Jonathan from 2011-2014.
The book went on sale nationwide from November 30, 2017 after the launch.
In a copy seen by our correspondent, Oduah said when the scandal broke over the $1.6 million BMW armoured cars bought for her by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in 2013, Jonathan invited her to explain herself.
According to Abdullahi, at the meeting were Alison-Madueke, who was perceived to be extremely influential on President Goodluck Jonathan, and Anyim Pius Anyim, who was the secretary to the government of the federation.
The president seemed satisfied with her explanation that there was nothing untoward in the deal.
Alison-Madueke also appeared sympathetic and even promised to speak to her friends in the national assembly and the media “to back down” on the issue.
“I thought she had my back. I did not know at the time that she was actually fuelling it and orchestrating all the media attacks,” she told Abdullahi.
“I knew all along that Diezani could not deal with having another female around who had the kind of access I had to the president. But she went too far. She thought I was the one who leaked the issue of private jet that put her into trouble with the House of Representatives (Diezani was accused of spending N10 billion on chartered jets). For her it was payback time.”
Twice, she had offered to resign before her sack but Jonathan asked her not to, according to her, yet the issue did not go away.
“Diezani was paying people to keep the story alive. At the same time, she was whispering in [the president’s] ears that he had to take action,” Abdullahi quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Abdullahi wrote that Alison-Madueke asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest Oduah, but the plan was countered by other members of the cabinet.
A presidential committee headed by Sambo Dasuki, then national security adviser, eventually indicted Oduah.
When the president told her that she had to go, Oduah asked: “Did Diezani ask you to sack me?”
Jonathan answered no, but there and then it was agreed that she should be eased out of government.
On January 12, 2014, she was removed as minister.
Abdullahi, the author, was fired as minister of sport in March 2014 by Jonathan allegedly on account of his “godfather”, Bukola Saraki, who had joined other PDP rebels to defect to the APC.