STELLA ODUAH: ONCE AND FOR ALL
TEXT OF ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENT-GENERAL OF GPM INTERNATIONAL, DR MIKE UYI
during the World Press Conference over the violation of human rights of
Nigeria's Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Adaeze Oduah
By Global Peace Movement International
Distinguished and invited guests,
Gentlemen of the press.
Global Peace Movement International from London, England and Nigeria warmly and sincerely welcome everyone to this World Press Conference holding today here in Lagos, Nigeria.
This press conference/interaction with you distinguished invitees and members of the fourth estate of the realm, without any doubt and prejudice, is to address once and for all and put in clearer perspective particularly for the undiscerning, the present and potential damages being done Nigeria's image and her citizens at home and around the world through the continued harassment and undue violation of the fundamental human rights of one of the nation's brightest, hardworking and most enterprising public official.
With all sense of modesty, I am sure it will be safe to say that many of you present here today may be familiar with the history and activities of Global Peace Movement International in regards to standing up for and defending causes that others may think are not on the so called popular sides of history. For those not aware however, I shall here and now provide documentary evidence to prove that to you all.
However for us as a human rights organization, this is history beckoning, as we believe that the current travails and persecution of the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah certainly falls into that category. This is even more so as individuals and groups either in ignorance or in utter mischief have continued with their campaigns of calumny; a campaign that we believe will not produce any material or physical gains in the immediate and long terms for the country or its highly regarded citizens at home and abroad.
It is in that regards that it becomes imperative for us as a human rights organization, alongside other like-minded individuals and groups to point out that calls for the aviation minister's resignation from office is not only totally out of place, but also smacks of shortsightedness and victimization of the minister, considering in particular, the unparrelled job she has done and still doing in the aviation industry in Nigeria since her appointment.
Hence as we go down memory lane in trying to cite some examples, it becomes important to point out that many public officials within and outside the country has at one time or the other in their career, been faced with worst situations. The question to ask hence is what the outcome of such clamours against public officials in the past were.
FOR RECORD PURPOSES, THE FOLLOWING OFFICIALS LISTED, DID THEY RESIGN?
THE ANSWER ARE FOR YOUR RECORD AND FOR POSTERITY
For Global Peace Movement International, resignation from work or from office being occupied in the public or private sector should ordinarily be a thing of honour and joy when it is done right and when such resignations are executed within the purview of the law, and without any breach of the fundamental human rights of the personalities involved.
In the 1970s for example when university students in Nigeria went on prolonged demonstrations under the then minister of education, Col. Ahmadu Ali, calls went around for his resignation. Did Ahamadu Ali resign as education minister?
In the 1980s when numerous allegations and counter allegations of corruption were constantly being hauled against the Alhaji Shehu Shagari government and the ministers serving under him, with calls also being made for his resignation from office made. Did President Shehu Shagari or the ministers involved resign because of those allegations and accusations?
When former President Olusegun Obasanjo sent army troops to level the town of Odi in Bayelsa State, killing innocent men, women, children and elders of the village and houses burnt down, an action considered genocide and which led former senate president, late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo to weep at Odi, calls were made for the resignation and prosecution of the former president, did he resign?
Not too long ago in 2013, countless officers and men of the State Security Service (SSS), the Nigerian Police Force and other Para military agencies were ambushed and killed in Nasarawa state by alleged cultist groups, the Ombatse, with calls also being made for the resignation of those found capable of the negligence leading to the killings. Gentlemen of the press did they or the governors, deputy governors, state director of SSS, the commissioner of police and members of the legislature rumoured to be involved in that sad saga resigned from their various offices?
In the same vein not too long ago, following the crashes of Bellview, ADC and Sosoliso aircrafts amongst others in which the revered Sultan of Sokoto was killed, did any of the ministers of aviation in office at that time resign?
Only very recently following widespread allegations of massive corruption, graft and abuse of office by the incumbent Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, did the speaker or even the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) resigned from office?
Even the present governor of the state, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has come under various allegations and criticism on issues that borders on graft, favouritism and the likes. Has those allegations and accusations forced the Lagos state governor to abdicate his position and responsibilities by throwing in the towel?
When the Lagos state governor took the unconstitutional step of deporting some Nigerians from Lagos state to Anambra state, an action that led to widespread criticisms and condemnation from far and near, did Governor Fashola (SAN) resign?
The same can also be said of the former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a man that was severally accused of corruption, forgery and perjury(the Toronto episode), by even the great Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi. Please members of the fourth estate of the realm, were those accusations and allegation enough to remove Tinubu from office through forced resignation?
A former minister of aviation, Mr. Femi Fani Kayode, have been severally dragged before courts and probe panels over allegations he was involved in several shady deals while in office as minister, did those allegations force Femi Fani Kayode to resign from office then?
Honourable Farouk Lawan and some of his colleague were said to be heavily involved in the bribe for favour oil subsidy scam. The lawmaker and his group were accused of picking up more than 620 000 thousand dollars in graft. Did that allegation compel Honourable Farouk Lawan to resign from office, or was the le_adership of the House lead by the speaker forced to resign?
In Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in the north eastern parts of the country former and present governors, senators and members of the national and states assemblies have been severally accused of having hands in the insecurity raving their parts of the state. Have they all resigned from their offices despite the glaring challenges Nigeria is having with the outcome of their alleged action/inaction?
What about incumbent senator Ali Ndume, who was said to be sponsoring an extremist sect against the people of his state and the country. Has the senator been chased out of the National Assembly, or has he been forced resigned from office?
Former Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, a House of Representatives member and some of his co travelers are still in the House of Representatives or has he been forced resigned from office years after they have been accused of bribery running into billions of Naira. There are significant proofs they are still in office and have not resigned from their positions of offices.
Outside Nigeria in the United Kingdom, following the erroneous information that weapons of mass destruction were stockpiled in Iraq which former British Prime Minister, Mr. Tony Blair acted upon to invade Iraq, did that action that was a clear mistake force Mr. Tony Blair to resign from office as prime minister of the UK?
Or did President George Bush resign from office, after series of allegations in the Iraqi oil for food/medicine deals that were said to be riddled with corruption?
LET US READ BETWEEN THE LINES
As mentioned earlier, these few examples are only being cited, so critical and important stakeholders like yourself journalists and other guests present today can have a finer picture and more robust appreciation the issues at stake. We must be able to read between the lines. As journalists, we must know and understand where calls for resignation now and in the past were coming from, and what became of such calls.
Human rights issues, particularly as it affects this situation it must be pointed out, has and must never have any form of ethnic or tribal colouration or taint. Without any doubt, some of the travails the aviation minister is presently being made to go through are just barely short of having full ethnic projection. This development should indeed be resisted by all.
It is on record, as we are all aware, that great and renowned human rights activists in the moulds of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Mr. Femi Falana, Dr. Mike Ozekhome and Dr Mike Uyi never tolerated such grave violations. Global Peace Movement International will in the same vein, never allow the continued violations of the rights and privileges of Mrs. Stella Oduah, and her officials based on what has become some spurious and hate induced allegations. As the saying goes, an injury to one is an injury to all.
THE POSITION OF GLOBAL PEACE MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL
It is our considered view based on independent research, investigations and observations that national and crucial issues are still being handled, discussed and treated on the basis of ethnicity and narrow minded views here in Nigeria.
For the aviation minister and her ministry, it is also on public records that not one investigative probe panel set up to investigate the allegations and look into the series of RUMOURS against her has been able to come up with any charge of wrong financial doing that is traceable to her. Where then are the unending harassment and persecution coming from?
Again, the question must be asked. Where and which minister has resigned in Nigeria over an air mishap. Many of you seated here today are aware that not too long ago, a helicopter crashed into a pub in Glasgow, Scotland, killing and injuring many. Did that incident lead to the resignation of the aviation minister in that country?
Only a few weeks ago, in the same vein, an American helicopter crashed in Norfolk, England during a training exercise, killing and injuring some, did that lead to the resignation of the American aviation and transport minister?
Following this precedence, and the explanation given, Global Peace Movement International is of the view and here making it clear that the aviation sector under this minister has witnessed a tremendous, astronomical and positive turnaround and transformation. This is a fact that even the staunchest critics of the minister cannot dispute.
For us, and for the sake of this nation and its people, we believe it is important as this issue is addressed today that we go down the unfailing path of our collective memory, so that we can be on the good side of history and not be counted amongst those that help in halting and derailing development of Nigeria's aviation sector due to some parochial, ethnic, economic or personal interests.
As a human rights group, Global Peace Movement International will launch and continue its campaign in defence of the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, because to us, this is a clear issue of victimisation and violation of her fundamental human rights, particularly in the light of that fact that not a single conviction has been found against her.
For Global Peace Movement International, the persecution and witch hunting of the minister must cease for the aviation sector in particular and the country in general to move forward in the right direction.
These resignation calls of the aviation minister by certain individuals and groups are totally misplaced and being pursued in bad faith. This lingering crisis over the purchase of cars for the ministry and its agencies by the minister is causing the country a lot of damages before the international community. It is time the issues of cars purchase by the minister were put to rest in order for the minister to focus on and complete her ongoing turnaround in the aviation industry.
Not known for joining the bandwagon, Global Peace Movement International is also calling for apologies to be tendered to the minister by those that can see or hear no good. Works do not lie. The achievement of the minister of aviation is visible and clear to all.
Global Peace Movement International believe further indications that Stella Oduah is suffering a political witch hunting by entrenched interests particularly within the aviation sector is now revealed in the allegations concerning her MBA certificates.
We also believe it is time these distractors channel their talents and energies into productive ventures that can move the country forward and make it better. What we are emphasizing is appropriate agencies of government should be support and allowed to conclude their probe, and not allow the minister to be crucified in the court of public opinion.
This should be done once and for all in the interests of peace and development, since as Global Peace Movement has make known for decades, PEACE HAS NO ALTERNATIVE.
Thank you all for your time and attention, God bless,
Dr. Mike Uyi,
Global Peace Movement International
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