The Punch newspaper has reported that the embattled minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, who is still facing questions over the purchase of two armoured vehicles for her personal use, is off to Israel, apparently to beg President Jonathan for her job.
The president embarked upon a state visit to Israel on Tuesday where he will hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu and President Perez.
Official sources said Oduah was in Israel to sign Bilateral services agreement on behalf of Nigeria with Israel.
Sources have also gathered that she could seize the opportunity afforded by her trip to inform President Jonathan that those mounting pressure on him to sack her were his political enemies who did not want him to succeed in the 2015 Presidential elections.
“She would inform the President not to allow his enemies triumph over him and should also know that if those enemies succeed in pushing her out, then many of the trusted aides of the President would be the next target.” A source informed Punch.
It was gathered that the minister would also try to seek audience with the National Security Adviser to the President, Sambo Dasuki, who is one of the members of the administrative panel set up by the President to investigate the minister. Sambo is also in Israel.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Rueben Abati, said the embattled minister decided to travel to Israel ahead of the President rather than wait to be part of his entourage, because presidential delegations were usually divided into segments.
He said in most of the trips, relevant ministers were expected to travel ahead in order to do the ground works for the President and brief him on arrival.
He said, “Presidential delegation is divided into segments. The President has a main body team that travels with him. Some people can travel ahead of him, it is not everybody that can travel with him. How many people can the presidential aircraft carry?
“That the minister travelled ahead of him is not an issue. Ministers usually go ahead of the President to do ground work, if there are meetings to be done before the President’s arrival, they would have done them. That is how it is done”.
“In many of these trips, there will be pre-event meetings that ministers would have attended so that when the President comes, they will brief him. This is not an issue.”
Abati also said that the Presidency did not grant the NCAA any approval to procure the controversial N255m vehicles for the embattled minister.
In an interview with a correspondent, Abati asked the NCAA to produce the approval if indeed such existed.
“That is not true. If they have a presidential approval, let them produce it. People are just trying to politicise the issue. The President has already set up a panel to investigate. That panel has the responsibility to look at all issues that may come up and all issues that have already come up”.
“I think people should stop speculating. We should allow that panel to do its job. We should not politicise its work. What they can remain assured of is that the President is interested in the matter,” Abati said.