Stella Oduah, a Nigerian Senator and former Minister of Aviation has finalised her defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), SaharaReporters has gathered.
Oduah on August 27, 2021, left the PDP for the APC.
A source told SaharaReporters that the Senator returned to the PDP and secretly obtained the party’s nomination form to return to the Senate.
“Senator Stella Oduah has finally dumped the APC and moved to the PDP after days of playing hide and seek game. Having used Abubakar Malami, the AGF to frustrate and hang her trial and prosecution at the Federal High Court, Abuja before Justice Inyang Ekwo on allegations of fraud, embezzlement and siphoning of N7.9 billion when she was the Minister of Aviation,” the source said.
SaharaReporters on Tuesday, March 29, 2022 reported that the former aviation minister had concluded plans to dump the ruling APC for the PDP.
SaharaReporters reported that the Senator had held a closed-door meeting with Anyim Pius Anyim, a PDP presidential aspirant and some party leaders.
“She used Senator Anyim to reach out and perfected her new arrangement and agreement with the PDP leadership preparatory to her decampment to PDP in the next few days,” a source had said.
The move came a few days after Malami orchestrated different strategies to compromise and frustrate the prosecution of Oduah, who has corruption cases hanging on her neck.
“The trio of Abubakar Malami, Governor Mai Mala Buni and Senator Ahmad Lawan are feeling used and dumped by Stella Oduah, having been briefed and realised that she has used them to frustrate her prosecution and betrayed their ‘agreement’ and ‘accord’ by finalising arrangements to dump APC for PDP in the next few days,” the source had added.
SaharaReporters exclusively reported in 2021 that Oduah’s trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over N7.9 billion fraud might be scuttled going by her secret plot with Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and Malami.
However, SaharaReporters learnt on Friday that Oduah had reached out to PDP members in her zone and her town in Ogbaru Local Government Area to secure the PDP Senatorial nomination form for Anambra North zone.
“Having obtained the form secretly so that the office of AGF, Abubakar Malami and also the national leadership of APC will not know that she has used them to stall and frustrate her trial before Justice Ekwo, then having achieved her aim, she has finally used and dumped them,” another source confirmed to SaharaReporters on Friday.
“lt is most disturbing and disheartening that 3 years after the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) concluded its investigation into the case of diversion of N7.9 billion fraud and embezzlement of public funds perpetrated by Stella Oduah, she is still evading trial and justice.
“She has been summoned to enter the witness box and take her plea about five times so that the trial can commence, but Malami and Governor Mai Mala Buni (Yobe governor and former chairman of the APC caretaker committee) shielded her from justice and the long arm of the law by frustrating the case.
“The same Stella Oduah has now run back to the PDP and obtained PDP nomination form.”
Oduah is being prosecuted on 25 counts of money laundering alongside Gloria Odita, Nwobu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited and the China Civil Engineering Construction Company Limited.
SaharaReporters gathered that the arraignment of the Senator was aborted at the Federal High Court in Abuja during the last adjourned date (Monday, November 22nd, 2021) over a letter written by Malami.
When Oduah and three others were called into the dock to take their plea, counsel for the 7th and 8th defendants, Ogwu James Onoja (SAN), objected to the arraignment on the ground that his clients were being persecuted by EFCC.
According to him, the aggrieved defendants had petitioned Malami, seeking a review of the charges against them.
Ogwu informed Justice Inyang Ekwo that the AGF, upon receipt of the petition, wrote the chairman of EFCC to remit the case file to his office for a review, adding that in flagrant disregard to the AGF’s letter, the EFCC had bluntly refused to remit the case file to the AGF.
He tendered a certified true copy of the AGF’s letter as received by the EFCC chairman and urged the court not to go ahead with the arraignment until the petition had been resolved in the interest of justice.
However, a lawyer for the EFCC, Ofem Uket denied any knowledge of the AGF’s letter, adding that as a staff member of EFCC, he was just sighting the letter for the first time in court.
The counsel urged the court to disregard the petition by the defendants and proceed to arraign them.
He said that the AGF would have come to the court if he had any opposition to the arraignment.
However, Justice Ekwo said since the petition was raised as both a statutory and constitutional matter by the defendants, he would not proceed.
Oduah’s planned arraignment before then in the corruption charges had been stalled five times, largely due to her absence in court.