Ex-Minister of State for Works, Chief Chris Ogiemwonyi, is the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah’s former husband.
The embattled minister was the third wife of Chief Ogiemwoni. And when their marriage broke years back, having Ogiemwonyi removed as part of her surname became an issue between them. To date, her names could still be gleaned in some publications as Stella Oduah-Ogiemwonyi.
According to Saturday PUNCH that got across to the former junior minister on the telephone on Wednesday in Benin, he said he had not seen his former wife since 2011. He also said he had nothing new to add to what is already in the public domain about the car scandal.
He however did not offer any opinion regarding the action of NCAA and his former wife’s likely role in the country’s show of profligacy, saying both had not seen since she became minister.
The former minister for state said Nigerians know of what has been happening and that he had nothing to say or add. He however empathized with her.
Said Ogiemwonyi, “What concerns me about her? We have been separated and since she became minister, we have not seen. You know the time when the issue of dropping my name came up. We have not seen since then. We all read comments in the papers, everybody is listening and even the National Assembly, on the blogs; they are all full. But all I can tell you is that I last saw Stella in May 2011; that was when I saw her last. Since she became minister, I haven’t seen her. All I can say is that I wish her well, but there is nothing more I can say.”
Asked whether he was not bothered about the controversy generated by the minister’s predicament, he said that was the least of his problems.
Both Ogiemwonyi and Oduah were said to become friends when they were working for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. While the former husband was a young engineer, Oduah was with the account department of the oil corporation. Their friendship blossomed and they later became husband and wife.
A blue-blood, Stella Oduah is the daughter of Igwe D. O. Oduah, Akili Ozizo of Ogbaru in Anambra State. She was born on January 5, 1962. After her studies at St. Paul’s College, Lawrence Ville, Virginia in the United States in 1983, Oduah joined the Nigeria National Petroleum Company.
Speaking in an interview three years ago, Oduah explained why she joined the government-owned corporation.
She said, “I wanted to be in oil and gas, and I felt my first leg should be in a national company and NNPC happened to be the in-thing at that time. It was either NNPC or banking and I just didn’t go into banking. I wanted oil and gas and so I was lucky I passed the interview at NNPC and I went in.”
In 1992, she floated Sea Petroleum and Gas with a reported N200,000 bank facility. Her reason: “I don’t think I left NNPC to set up SPG.
“I left NNPC because I wanted to do something more challenging. I left NNPC because I wasn’t getting enough job satisfaction. That’s why I left.”