The online community, much of which had been engrossed in Valentine talks, was jolted back to political reality on Wednesday afternoon, when the news of the sacking of former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, filtered in.
Although the consensus of many Nigerians on Twitter and Facebook is that her resignation came late, many still consider it as good news.
Another group of persons blame her for refusing to step aside honorably at the peak of the crisis.
Indeed, on major Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, many Nigerians have applauded President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to relieve Oduah, considered to be a former member of his kitchen cabinet, of her appointment.
The woman first came under fire and public scrutiny last October after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority purchased two bulletproof BMW cars at an allegedly inflated rate of N255m per one. She was eventually relieved of her appointment alongside Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs); Godsday Orubebe (Niger Delta); and Yerima Ngama (State, Finance).
Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, the ex-minister had survived fierce criticism and probes in the past months. Also, most recently, she was alleged to have lied about her qualifications in the resume she presented to the Nigerian Senate for her confirmation hearing. She was accused of claiming that a non-existent university awarded her an honorary doctorate.
It is thus not surprising that her sack appears to have overshadowed that of the other affected ministers, as commentators made little or no mention of them in their tweets or posts.
Although the news flying round is that they (affected ministers) resigned, a cabinet source told The Punch, ”They were dropped, they did not resign.”
One of the earliest reactions came from the former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on Twitter. He wrote, “I commend President Goodluck Jonathan for finding the courage to sack Stella Oduah and Mike Oghadiome. This is a step in the right direction.”
Writer and social commentator, Tolu Ogunlesi, also tweeted,, “So BMW Queen @stellaoduah is no longer a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”
Controversial former lawmaker, Dino Melaye, also joined the unending debate on Twitter.
His tweet read, “Well-done, Mr President, for sacking Orubebe and Stella Oduah. Though belated, kudos, GEJ. Deziani is next on line. The people are winning.”
He later wrote, “We will re-file our cases against Stella Oduah and Orubebe @ the EFCC and in court. No public thief will go unpunished. Power is transient.”
Surprisingly, our correspondent observed that while Oduah was hit hard on Twitter, it is largely a story of smooth sailing on her Facebook page.
In fact, most of her followers and fans sang her praises to high heavens hours after her exit. In unison, they commended her for what they call amazing transformation and facelift in Nigerian airports and added that she is the best aviation minister Nigeria ever had.
Although her last post was made on February 5, her followers’ could not be bothered whether or not she was inactive on the medium.
A Charlez Onoch Bronze reaffirmed this stance with his post, “The airports are good-looking for now. Compare her achievements with the previous ministers’. She’s the best among us all.”
He later contradicted himself, however, saying, “She did a great job by transforming the aviation industry into a certain standard but not yet world class standard. Anyway, bravo. But the fact remains that you did not improve the staff welfare .No salary increment.
“Bad for you because all we get are stories, with no salary increment.”
There is this Rebecca Adeosun, who paid Oduah a rather emotional tribute. It read, “Stella, whatever happens to you, you are great with your work. You have done more than any male counterpart in the aviation ministry in Nigeria.
“People who now condemn you have been given the same opportunity but did nothing with it. If you are knocked down you are not knocked out. You have nothing to do with all the allegations they levelled against you as you did not do anything singlehandedly. We are proud of the work you have done. The Lord is your strength.”
Another commentator, Peacemankalu, said online, “Yes, she was dropped, but some of us who passed through our airports knew she tried in her tenure.”
Back to those who wanted her sacked since the day the scandal broke, however, Jonathan’s decision is damn too late.
One of them wrote, “After almost four months after the news broke? I’m sure her bank account is now full and she doesn’t need the job anymore. This Jonathan is always late and behind in decision making? I guess the question is: Why now?
“Imagine the kind of President we have. Just waking up from stupor? This is the kind of leader that allows his followers to slaughter others before making a decisions.”