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Amazon Of Aviation Industry: Princess Stella Oduah OON @51

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Princess Stella Oduah was born in Akili-Ozizor , Ogbaru local government of Anambra state on January 5th 1962 to the royal family of Igwe D.O Oduah. She started her early education in Nigeria before going to the United States where she obtained Bachelors and Masters Degree in Accounting and Business Administration. Upon her return to Nigeria, she joined Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation where she distinguished herself before leaving to set up Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Limited (SPG), an independent marketer of petroleum products in Nigeria. This company rose from a humble beginning to become a leading company in the competitive oil industry.

Her desire to always strive for greatness and make Nigeria a better place led her to be involved in the President Goodluck Jonathan 2011 campaign from the formative stage. She handled a sensitive office of Director of Admin and Finance at the Goodluck Support Group (GSG) office and latter held the same position during the general campaign. She brought her experience to bear in a very impactful manner and this further endeared her to many Nigerians during the process.

After the Presidential Primary, and in collaboration with like-minds – Chief A.J Turner, Mike Omeri and Godsday Orubebe, Oduah initiated a strategic group, NEIGBOUR 2 NEIGHBOUR CAMPAIGN GROUP, which is now a household name. The systematic handling of the campaign process from the wards level to the centre has never been seen before in this history of electioneering in Nigeria. With the leadership acumen of Princess, Nigerians were mobilized to vote in large numbers for President Jonathan.

The group contributed significantly to the landslide Pan-Nigeria victory of the President Jonathan.

In recognition of her selfless service and the need to work with a team of committed Nigerians, on July 2 2011, Mr President nominated her as a Minister.  She was subsequently sworn in as the Minister of Aviation, a sector that was in dire need of Transformation. From all indications and the giant stride so far made by the Minister, the President was indeed right to have sent a woman of vision to that strategic ministry for turn around. For the first time in 30 years, the sector is wearing a new look with the scaling up efficient service delivery and 21st century modernisation. The first generation airports are to get new tarmacs and also being remodelled to be first among equals around the world.

Indeed there have been a lot of positive news emanating from the Aviation Industry lately and they are all tailored to given meaning to the Transformation Agenda of President Jonathan. The array of accomplishments that the Aviation Ministry is hauling into its kitty, is a testimony of a determined, focus and great leadership the Honorable Minster, Princess Stella Adaeze Odua has deployed to turn the Aviation industry around for good after years of lack luster performance.

In her quest to put Nigeria first, the Minister has ensured that airline passengers are not excessively taxed or exploited by agencies, airlines or those who are into bi-lateral agreements with the Aviation ministry. Her leadership and management of the sector ensured that air travel costs remain reasonable. The need to further make Nigerians to patronize the sector with affordable price led her to initiate the acquisition of about 30 brand new aircraft for domestic airline. This intervention will help significantly to re-fleet airlines and boost capacity and domestic operations.

In her remarks during the Bi-Courtney service charge impasse, Princess Stella Odua declared: the decision to stop Bi-Courtney from increasing the Passenger Service Charge from N1000 to N2500 was not only to forestall the illegal and unilateral increment, but also to protect the travelling public from undue exploitation.' The Minister continued, 'that Bi-Courtney unilateral increase of the PSC by as much as 150% without carrying out wide consultation with the Grantor as required by the Concession Agreement.' The Cancellation of Maevis Concession Agreement that was heavily skewed against the Nigerian People and government is a further testimony of her Nigerianess.

Simultaneous reconstruction and remodeling of 11 airports (passengers/Hajj/Pilgrims camps) under the first phase of the remodeling programme-the first such effort at rehabilitation of the decayed infrastructure in the last three decades. GAT-Lagos has already been commissioned and in use. She has equally secured approval from the Presidency and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the construction of five brand new International terminals as well as Cargo terminals from a concessionary loan from Chinese EXIM bank and got import duty waivers from the Presidency and the FEC on all imported aircraft and spare parts as part of effort to grow domestic airlines, Plans have reached advanced stage to float a new National Carrier that will be completely private-sector driven and professionally managed too. She also embarked on a foreign Investors' Roadshow to attract foreign direct investments. To her credit, new foreign investors are already entering the industry as a direct result of this initiative. Also, the automation of revenue centers in all the agencies to boost their revenue profile is to enhance transparency and accountability by plugging the leakages in the previous manual process of revenue collection, as well as institutional reforms and restructuring of the agencies for achievement of optimum results. Putting round pegs in round holes has been her major task.

This Amazon of Aviation industry has indeed demonstrated that she has come to transform this very important sector of the economy. All we need to do is to applaud her sincere efforts and support her genuine drive. Union leaders, CSOs, the leadership of the National Assembly, the organized private sector and prominent Nigerians have at various fora hailed her remarkable achievements in a very short time. The House Committee and that of Senate Committee on Aviation also applauded her judicious usage of her ministry 2012 budget and commended her good work in transforming the industry. Her home State, Anambra during the 20th anniversary celebration also recognized her modest effort. She was honoured alongside other distinguished Anambrarians for her sterling performance in the aviation sector. Surely, when one is praised for good things accomplished, the person is bound to do more. There is no doubt that before 2015, Nigeria aviation sector will not only be the leader in Africa, it will rival among the best in the world. Therefore, let us celebrate this Amazon at 51.

Comrade Tosin Adeyanju
Executive Director, Conscience Nigeria
[email protected]

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