Stella Oduah’s time as minister of Aviation has been embroiled in controversy so far, and it seems there is more to come.
News agecny Sahara Reporters have claimed that the college where she listed as her place of study for her Masters in Business Administration degree, does not offer graduate programs and so could not have offered her the said degree.
Her resume, which she presented to the Senate as a ministerial nominee in 2011, indicated she obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from St. Paul’s College Lawrenceville, Virginia, United States.
But SaharaReporters has learned from the President of the college that it has never in its 125-year history had a graduate school or graduate program.
The Provost Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Vice President of Institutional Development said in response to our inquiries, “We don’t offer any graduate programs here.”
Similarly, the school’s website states: “Saint Paul’s College is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate [bachelor’s] degrees.” There is no mention of graduate degrees.
The Minister’s documentation shows she received an undergraduate degree in accounting from the college in 1982, but Dr. Claud Flythe, St. Paul’s current president, could neither confirm nor deny this during a phone conversation with SaharaReporters. Further verification with the Office of Alumni Affairs is also currently impossible, the school said, because the college has been closed since June 2013 to loss of its accreditation.
“[Oduah] realized very early in life the indispensability of a sound education in her growth plans in life and therefore pursued her education with all diligence and sense of purpose,” her documents claimed, adding that a determination “to have the best education at the highest level” prompted her stay at the Virginia college in 1983 for the MBA programme.
Mrs. Oduah’s new certificate questions are certain to feed into national concern about her credibility as an elected official, but also about Mr. Jonathan’s credibility, and about the nation’s security apparatus which verifies official documents offered to the Senate for official nominations.
If Mrs. Oduah deliberately deceived the Senate, it remains to be seen if the Upper House will be sufficiently motivated to take up the matter with the Executive.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s aviation industry continues to face a massive challenge, with struggling airports and airlines, as well as financial and administrative pitfalls that hinder expansion and development.