Stella Oduah: Celebrating a quintessential Senator @ 56

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Stella Oduah

There are three red letter days in the life of a “Man”. The day you are BORN, the day you MARRY and the day you DIE.

These three special days further attract stronger remarkable occurrences in the lives of the great “men” of every generation.

Those great “men” who leave traces of their impacts through performances that symbolize paradigm shift among their generations are celebrated yearly by all even while they are no more and this continues to generations after them.

Born Jan. 5, 1962, Senator Stella Oduah, is an amazon, a colossus, a shrewd professional.

She is the indefatigable representative of our good people of Anambra North at the 8th National assembly where she is already churning out sterling performances by sponsoring and proposing remarkable Bills and Motions to register her presence as an achiever and not a mere nominal status quo participant or member anywhere she finds herself.

The amazon being celebrated today, belongs to that group of few who have contributed much already to her generation.

Her personae symbolizes hard work, dedication, finesse, excellence, intelligence, transformation and paradigm shift from status quo performance to watershed performances in every sector she finds herself.

She epitomizes doggedness and shattering of barriers in all areas she has ventured in, in life regardless of the historicals she met in place.

Even though she has been in politics for just few years, but her records portray and outweigh that of those who have practically spent decades in politics but have done little to impact the lives of their people either directly or indirectly.

Let me digress a bit before I go into details about her achievements. It might interest you to know that the greatest “men” are ironically the ones that face the greatest criticisms, challenges and attacks which are orchestrated by fifth columnist who clandestinely work to pull down and rubbish the activities of these great ones in our mist.

Oduah falls into this category of people who have many good plans for their people but the system stifles, strangulates and sandwiches their ideas thereby frustrating their ability and desire to actualize their great dreams and vision for their people. Left for her, Nigeria, will be the best place to leave on the planet.

She demonstrated the great ideas incubated in her within the short time she was the aviation Minister.

She met a moribund and dysfunctional ministry that lacked vision, efficiency, effectiveness and creativity required to compete in the global market.

All airports were stinking shanties without any facility at all to attract investment into that sector or customer growth due to dilapidated and deteriorating facilities that made Nigerians hitherto before her to refer our air traffic as road to hell.

It was on paper that Oduah met our airports in total ruins, neglect, decay and abandonment that extends to more than 30 years without any significant project to improve the facilities on ground.

Without fear she embraced the challenges and was poised to rewriting our history, but in a country like Nigeria where everything and everybody is viewed from ethnic interest and colouration, it is a sin to be a super performer especially when you are Igbo.

Oduah, was not cowed or intimidated by the wroth in this sector when she took over as she was poised and committed to clean up the wroth and put our aviation sector to the road to recovery, growth and greater investments both locally and abroad.

She met a sector being run by self-serving individuals who cared only about what they will earn from that sector and cared less about its safety, growth and greater investments to compete globally with other countries.

Their interest was only how to shortchange the Federal Govt to the detriment of lives of Nigerians and future of our aviation industry.

She was never intimidated by the status quo that was bent on ridiculing her and bringing her down to rubbish her reputation which she built in the private sector as an achiever and a shrewd manager of resources who is result driven and can get result even from the desert if engaged to work there.

She rolled her sleeves and went straight to work. She was working day and night tirelessly, staying in the office till midnight just to clean the mess left behind by many who were before her and appropriated billions to the ministry but there was nothing on ground to support such yearly appropriations.

Our distinguished Senator did not sit down to complain and accuse her predecessors of not doing enough with all the billions that were allocated to the ministry for years.

Rather she went to work immediately. She made it clear that it was not going to be business as usual as our airports must be brought up to international standards if we must compete globally in that critical sector.

Also considering our burgeoning population, it is high time we started planning on how to improve our air transport to attract businesses and investment into the sector to help reduce the pressure on our roads.

Immediately she started work she designed a road map for the aviation sector, that will make that sector compete globally.

She kicked off the road map with rehabilitation and refurbishment of many of our airports in phases across all geo political zones without any segregation.

I remember listening to her over and over again on TV about her plans to make our airports aerotropolis that represents a business community where people can even travel to, do their businesses and go back to their country even without entering the city if they so wish.

 

Kano airport, Lagos airport, Port Harcourt Airport, Calabar Airport, Benin airport, Enugu airport etc all faced immediate rehabilitation and maintenance to make them safe for our people to travel through them.

Reports actually indicated that not less than 22 airports were under remodeling and rehabilitation plan accommodated under the Aviation Road Map designed by the then Minister Stella Oduah and work was on going in most of them before she left that position in 2015.

Senator Oduah made sure she balanced the projects without any ethnic or regional polarization of the road map towards making our airports a place to do business by the international community, by making sure each region benefited from the remodeling projects.

I remember how the then CBN Governor now Emir of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi praised Oduah when he was commissioning the now beautiful looking Kano airport that looked like shanty and stinking village town hall for years due to neglect upon billions allocated to it and the fact that 90 percent of the past leaders came from the North, but could do nothing until Oduah remembered the airport.

She was ambushed by the haters of Nigeria and Nigerian development because they had eaten fat on the wealth meant for all of us in Nigeria hence will do anything to destroy a trail blazer who comes to change the dynamics which  Oduah represents.

However,  she can’t be cowed hence she insisted on due process and accomplishment of her dreams in that critical sector that was lying moribund for years.

Today, Oduah is continuing where she stopped as minister at the National Assembly where she represents our good people of Anambra North as their Senator.

During her campaign trips, she told our people to wait and see until she finishes her tenure as Senator and they can juxtapose her achievements and that of her predecessors that have represented the zone to compare their achievements to the development of Anambra North and hers. She is strongly living up to her promises.

As at today, she has 28 Bills and Motions that are undergoing legislative process at the National Assembly. Most prominent of them all is the South East Development Commission Bill (SEDC) she proposed and supported by Senator Anyanwu.

During the lead debates of the SEDC which was read on the floor by Senator Anyanwu, she said and I quote:

“The Enactment of this Bill will help to rebuild the South East and provide opportunity for the people to display their talent and contribute immensely to the development of the country”

What more can you expect from a representative of her people more than such an unprecedented achievement by breaking the age long marginalization and barrier that has been ignored by all the Senators from the South East since after the civil war, even when they are living witnesses to the destruction and devastation that took place there which prompted the then Federal Govt to pledge to Rehabilitate, Reconstruct and Reintegrate (RRR) the entire zone, a promise that was never fulfilled.

47 years after, Oduah initiated a bill that is poised to correct these wrongs and bring our zone at par with other zones that have faced similar devastation one way or the other and got similar commission to address the challenges like NDDC and the recently accented North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill.

With this singular Bill alone, she has shattered every record by any Senator that ever came out of the South East since after the civil war.

In the areas of projects, on 2016 Appropriation alone, she has 30 constituency projects under her name which she attracted to our zone Anambra North which are undergoing execution from the executive. While in 2017, she has 9 projects in her name which she attracted to Anambra North also.

 

Please note however that these projects are executed by the executive that also awards and monitors them.

The Executive does not pay Senators for the constituency project allocations rather they directly allocate to contractors, pay and monitor all the projects as proposed by every senator just like Senator Oduah.

Also note that Federal Government recently has faced budget implementation crisis in all the budgets since thisadministration which is not peculiar to Anambra North projects alone, so any delay on any project is not caused by Senator Stella Oduah who initiated the projects.

So it won’t be out of place to see that most of these projects are either not completed or still under incubation stage especially the 2017 projects due to poor implementation from the executive.

Oduah is a trail blazer worthy of celebration as she marks her birthday today. History will forever be kind to her over her contributions to the growth of Nigeria and Anambra North in particular.

 

Long Live Senator Stella Oduah OON!

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