The embattled Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, has commenced last- ditch efforts to save her job.
The PUNCH learnt on Sunday that she had used the last few days seeking private audience with President Goodluck Jonathan.
On Friday for instance, she was sighted at the Presidential Villa in Abuja as calls by groups for her removal over the purchase of two BMW bulletproof cars for her by the Nigerian Civil Aviation authority heightened.
The NCAA spent a whopping $1.6m(N225m) on the two cars which market value is N36m each.
A very reliable Presidency source, who disclosed Oduah’s visit to the Villa, said she “wanted to explain herself to the President, who like every Nigerian, was embarrassed by the media reports and the evidence of the purchase of the two cars at an outrageous sum of N225m.”
The source said, “She was here (Villa) on Friday but like you know, Mr. President was busy throughout the weekend.”
When asked if Oduah eventually saw Jonathan, he replied, “I cannot tell for sure if the minister who looked worried saw him or not.”
However, the source dismissed speculations that Oduah, who is to appear before the Senate this week over the crisis facing the Aviation industry, was at the Villa to beg the President to prevent possible sanctions.
He stated that should she decide to beg, she would most likely reach out to highly placed Nigerians who have the ears of the President.
The source mentioned the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; and Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, as such prominent Nigerians.
Our correspondents gathered that apart from the calls from outside government circle for her sacking, some of her colleagues are believed to be telling people close to her to advise her to voluntarily quit in order to save the Jonathan administration further embarrassment.
A female minister is said to be leading the campaign as she sees this as an opportunity to get even with Oduah.
It was learnt that a female minister, who allegedly bought a private jet, has been angry that Oduah was the prime suspect in an embarrassing publication involving the leasing of the jet at outrageous sums per trips made by top government officials.
Investigations also revealed that the release of the documents on the purchase of the two vehicles was likely the fallout of infighting among female ministers in the President’s cabinet.
Meanwhile, strong indications emerged on Sunday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission may probe the bulletproof car scandal.
A source at the EFCC said the scandal came as a shock to most of his colleagues.
The source said, “Like you and all other Nigerians, it is natural that all of us are shocked by what happened. I think you should hold it there until events unfold.”
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, had in an interview with one of our correspondents, assured Nigerians that the President would not shield the minister if found culpable.
He had said, “I can assure you that President Jonathan will not shield the minister or any government official for that matter if he receives information that is true.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Oduah is expected to appear before the Senate as the Senate resumes plenary on Tuesday.
The Senate had summoned her and heads of parastatals under the Aviation ministry over the air accidents in the country.