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Opinion: Nkriuka Onyeojeoka’s Volte-face



Nkriuka Onyeojeoka ,who represents Isuikuoto/Umunneochi Federal constituency is a charming politician. It is not for nothing that she has managed to keep her position of considerable influence over the past four years as Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation. But in the past few weeks, it appears Onjeojeoka is running out of fresh tricks from her bag of charms such that she has resorted to her old tricks of backstabbing.

Smacking from her father’s funeral where she tasked aviation agencies to build her house and fund her fathers funeral carnival she is at it again (we that know four years ago know how she was and her source of income)

Onyeojeoka recently visited familiar territory –the Ministry of Aviation and several aviation agencies under it, including the Federal Airports Authority, FAAN and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA. She was on what appears to be the routine duty of performing her committee’s “over-sight” functions, but as it turned out, there was nothing routine about her visits.She was on a self-appointed mission.

What was shocking to many observers was Onyeojeoka’s volte-face over the Aviation Master Plan and in particular, the Airport Re-modelling project spearheaded by the immediate former Aviation minister, Princess Stella Oduah. Onyeojeoka now says she does not know anything about the Aviation Master plan,ditto for the Airport Re-modelling project. She has now ‘realised’ that the remodeling project did not follow due process.

Yet it was common knowledge in Aviation and legislative circles that our charming chairman of the Aviation Committee of the House of Representatives was carried along in the implementation of these laudable programmes by the erstwhile Aviation minister.

And as a matter of fact she eagerly participated and took a prominent position at the commissioning ceremonies of several of the remodeled airports round the country last year. Could Onyeojeoka only just have awakened from a self-induced amnesia? Or is she acting a script? Those who know her quite well say money dictates the tune that Onyeojeoka dances to and in actual fact, helps to jog her memory or lack of it.

They also say that with the 2015 general elections round the corner, a rattled Onyeojeoka unsure of her political future, is on a desperate mission to milk all the money she can from aviation agencies in order to bribe her way back into political relevance in 2015.That, they say, has induced Onyeojeoka’s current selective amnesia over the Aviation Master plan and the well acclaimed Airport Re-modelling project.

This is the same airspace and airports she traversed every day and also participated in their commissioning ceremonies, contract signing ceremonies, among others, yet she now claims these were flawed.

For the avoidance of doubt, the contract for the financing for the five new international airports under construction by CECC of China was a bilateral agreement between Nigeria and China which was signed during the state visit of President Jonathan to China last July.The financial package was signed by the Finance minister, not the Aviation minister. And before then, the contract package financed by the Chinese government had gone through all regulatory approvals, including that of the Federal Executive Council, FEC.

So, how can this be Oduah’s doing alone? The Airport Re-modeling project surprisingly can defend itself against its detractors.
The benefits of the Airport remodeling project is so obvious for every one to see that, it is the most widely acclaimed project of the Oduah tenure, even though it was one of several projects undertaken by the former minister. Even the most belligerence critics of Oduah can see that the project has helped to improve the poor image of Nigerian aviation as a result of crammed, dilapidated and outdated aviation terminals built 30 to 40 years ago without any further improvement to their structure.

It is sad and unfortunate that Onyeojeoka is dancing to the tune of her new paymasters who are determined to rubbish the laudable achievements of the Jonathan administration and the immediate former Aviation minister, in positively transforming the Nigerian Aviation sector.

Even so,we need to restate that the financing for the airport remodeling project was duly budgeted for, necessary approvals were obtained and required documentation was done. The financing was from multiple sources – Aviation ministry capital budget allocation, internally generated revenue and loans.

It is on record that the Oduah tenure increased government revenue generated by aviation agencies by more than 1,000 per cent that is 10 fold, which is unprecedented in the country’s Aviation history! Only yesterday, Dr Daniel Tarka, special assistant to Princess Oduah in a press statement dated June 4,2014 dismissed what he called the “ fabrication” of detractors who claimed the former minister incurred debts of over N174 billion to finance the airport remodeling project. Said Tarka:”nothing can be farther from the truth.”

Curiously, the fake figure of N174 billion now being peddled by Oduah’s enemies looks close to and of course, higher than the N164 billion Aviation intervention fund allegedly embezzled by former aviation ministers was preceded Oduah, who are standing anti-corruption trials over this. Is the latest evil plan by enemies to fabricate phoney debts allegations to tarnish the image of an outstanding performer such as Oduah?

Onyeojeoka and her ilk have been trying to twist the recent statement made by Dr Sam Ortom that government was finding it a bit difficult to continue to finance projects under the Aviation master plan including the remodeling project. Clearly, the supervising Aviation minister never suggested that there was anything wrong or amiss with the financing of the projects under Oduah.

He only hinted that government may want to go on with these laudable projects at a slower pace going into an election year—2015.As Tarka pointed out in his press statement on behalf of Oduah, the various remodeling projects and others were not meant to be completed in 2013 when Oduah left the Aviation ministry therefore, their implementation can be carried out ,according to the pace that can be financed and suits the  new helmsman of the ministry.

Not surprising, Onyeojeoka with her evil antics has drawn the anger of a stakeholder group, the Aviation Squaretable who have described her latest attack on aviation agencies as “a decoy to blackmail the chief executives for monetary gains.” According to the coordinator of the group, Captain Shehu Idris, it is “purely hypocritical for Hon. Onyeojeoka who flew first class along with members of her family to China to be part of the signing of the loan ,will now turn round to deny its existence…”

 “It is either a case of illiteracy or self-denial with a clear intention to confuse the unsuspecting public” Idris concluded.
We would advise that Onyeojeoka should look elsewhere for bribes and ‘cheap’ money to finance her political ambitions. The Aviation agencies are definitely not ATMs for political desperados.
Article written by Emmanuel Emeka, a public affairs analyst writing from Isuikuoto


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