An Open Letter To Stella Oduah

Opinion

Opinion

By Jenny chika okafor 

Dear Stella,

Your PA’s opinion on the findings of our legislators over the N255m bullet proof BMW cars said to have been purchased for your use gave me serious cause for concern. Accordingly, I am writing to respectfully express my fair opinion on the matter.

As a Minister, Nigeria is your employer and has the duty to provide you with adequate security for your safety at all times. This includes ensuring that you have competent staff and safe working environment. Therefore if you feared for your life and needed security vehicles, it is our duty to ensure that you have them and even more if affordable by us. Otherwise, we will be exposing you to unjustifiable risks and failing in our duty to you. However, the decision on what constitutes a safe working environment, competent and safe staff and other privileges is one for your employers bearing in mind their means, the revenue your office generates and the public interest.

On the basis of the foregoing, I believe that Nigerians are not upset that the vehicles were purchased. They are rather upset that the prices said to have been paid for them are far above their market value and over your authorised spending limit. In the circumstances, you exceeded your power and allowed your office to be used in what seems to be a deliberate attempt to defraud Nigerians using your office. You may not have intended to defraud or cheat us but being the head that wears the crown and therefore personally and vicariously liable for the conduct of people working with you, the axe unfortunately will fall on you and that is exactly what has happened here.

Additionally, our legislators are answerable to us and therefore have a duty to ensure that we are not cheated or defrauded thus their investigation of the situation. Therefore to ignore the gravity of the offence, breach of the trust placed on you and your office by Nigerians and dismiss our legislators’ findings as hidden agenda possibly motivated by political leanings or affiliations, is unconscionable in every respect and must be withdrawn. In my opinion bearing in mind the facts as they stand, their findings are fair and just in every respect and Mr President although not bound to accept it, need to act hastily in the best interest of honesty, common sense, justice and fairness and let you go. That will not only demonstrate his total commitment to the fight against corruption and send a warning shot to many people, it will also tell the world that we are ready to move forward our democratic agenda and will not tolerate mediocrity no matter how small or who from.

Before the findings of that Committee, many Nigerians have been calling for your resignation or disengagement. I can see their reasons because as an ordinary citizen if I do something like that I will be prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned for regular fraud or advance fee fraud. I heard about a common criminal who was jailed for stealing a Governor’s mobile phone and the letting off of Ibori, the pension thief and our oil magnates. Since we are all equal before the law, you can see why they are unhappy that you are still holding your office.

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Well, as I was rightly or wrongly raised to believe that “WOMEN LEAD WHILE OTHERS FOLLOW”. I had expected you in your own words to “do the needful” and resign without waiting for the committee to conclude their report. That would have set the pace for the future of a corrupt free Nigeria and created a better level playing field for more women in leadership and politics.

Many people who pay lip service to change because they are not ready for change have claimed that you are being hunted by some Yoruba and Northern political might men and women because you are Igbo and a woman too. Well, much as I am for more women in leadership and hate tribalism, I disagree with that thinking completely. I think that those calling for your dismissal or resignation as a mark of respect for your employers and good practice are not wrong and you must heed their advice and champion change in leadership in Nigeria as you ought to. As I said earlier, we (women) lead and do not follow. So the fact that other Ministers and politicians are stealing with impunity and remaining in office with the assistance of our corrupt law enforcement officers and judiciary does not mean that you must toe the line and cause women more embarrassment and continued exclusion.

From the foregoing, I urge you to seriously reconsider your position and step down without being forced to do so. To date, GEJ, thank God for his indefatigable women rights advocate wife, our First Lady, is one of the best Presidents in all matters women advancement in Nigeria. Although I do not agree that women should be appointed into powerful offices because they are beautiful, connected or can be controlled my lustful men in power and such selections, elections and appointments must be on merit only, I would like to think that GEJ appointed you on merit not favour. Therefore unless you do the needful and go before being forced out, your indignation and your PA’s claims would have cast a blight on the judgment of GEJ as someone trusted by Nigerians to appoint the best and most meritorious into such high offices and make things more difficult for women.

I hope that you will not take this personally and understand that any such resignation will be justified in every way and make you the first Nigerian who placed Nigeria instead of their personal interests first. You must go ahead to champion change and leave a legacy for our history books.

Just my little “what does she know” idiot’s opinion.

Merry Xmas and a trouble free New Year.