Princess Stella Adaeze-Oduah (OON), Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Sea Petroleum and Gas Group of Companies and former Minister of Aviation, Federal Republic of Nigeria, was born in the month of January 5, in the year 1962 in Akili-Ozizor, Ogbaru Local government area of Anambra state to the Royal household of Igwe D.O. Oduah. Princess Oduah commenced her early education at the St. John’s Primary School, Odoakpu, Onitsha and the Zixton Secondary School, Ozubulu in 1978. She then proceeded to the St. Paul’s College, Lawrenceville, Virginia, USA where she bagged a B.Sc in Accounting in 1982.
After her university education, the young Oduah returned to Nigeria in the same year and served with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) under the NYSC programme. She later joined the corporation as a permanent staff where she distinguished herself until 1992 when she voluntarily retired to form the now global Oil and Gas conglomerate, Sea Petroleum and Gas (SPG) Limited.
Endowed with great managerial skills and vision, as evident in her exploits in the oil and gas sector as well as the nation’s aviation sector where she left indelible footprints, Oduah took SPG from very humble beginnings in 1992 to become a global conglomerate within two decades. This is no mean feat against the backdrop that the exploits and unparalleled successes were recorded in a male-dominated industry.
A passionate and tireless worker who believes in leading by example, Princess Adaeze-Oduah gives her all for any cause she believes in. Her passion and dedication is infectious and therefore motivates everyone around her to key into her vision.
She is a great believer in the ingenuity of the human mind and spirit. Her very fertile imagination and vision resulted in some novel concepts and approaches in the management of the SPG, which gave the company the cutting edge over her competitors.
Some of the innovative schemes include the “Home Delivery System”, an initiative that entailed the door-to-door delivery of fuel products to consumers nationwide through metered trucks and tankers, to bring relief to homes and offices at the peak of the era of fuel scarcity in Nigeria. This initiative heralded the “Total Fuel Management” concept aimed at managing the entire fuel needs of customers ranging from the supply, monitoring, and re-stocking of their fuel needs. The scheme enabled SPG clients to focus on their businesses while trusting SPG to manage all their fuel requirements.
Apart from these innovations, Princess Adaeze Oduah pursued a vigorous policy of investment in capacity building and infrastructure development in SPG, ranging from barges, marine coastal vessels of varying capacities, storage depots in major oil cities in Nigeria, road trucks, and retail outlets including the latest innovation in retail sales called the “Mobile Fuel Stations“, the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa. All these contributed to giving the company a competitive edge in the downstream distribution sector of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
Under the managerial acumen and dynamic leadership of Princess Oduah, SPG recorded many firsts:
- First indigenous company to sign a Bulk Purchase Agreement with NNPC-PPMC for the coastal movement of petroleum products to multinational oil platforms
- First indigenous company to invest in the ownership of marine tankers when it acquired two new vessels in 1996 for coastal transportation of bulk petroleum products
- First indigenous company to feature and exhibit at the prestigious Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, USA in 1999.
- First indigenous company to provide and establish 24-hour energy support for operators in the Onne Oil and Gas Free Zone in 1999, meeting their energy needs for offshore exploration campaign.
A go-getter who understands the importance of setting targets and performance evaluation, tools critical for achieving success in management, Princess Oduah is also endowed with the charisma that commands near-blind followership and loyalty. Her presence and aura get things done almost effortlessly.
We are, therefore, not surprised that the SPG Group today has interest spanning oil and gas, agriculture, engineering, logistics, and trading. Her various business interests remain major employers of labour that continue to touch the lives of many far and wide.
Princess Oduah’s indelible footprints in the Aviation sector
Prior to July 2, 2011, the Nigerian aviation sector was beset with a myriad of problems ranging from the dearth of critical infrastructure, lack of skilled and trained technical manpower, failed domestic airlines and an unreliable revenue-generating and collection systems.
But this gloomy scenario changed dramatically when Princess Adaeze-Oduah was appointed Minister of Aviation by President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR. Focused on discharging the mandate handed to her to turn around the dwindling fortunes of the nation’s aviation sector in compliance with the President’s Transformation Agenda, Oduah rolled up her sleeves and hit the ground running. Pronto, a Master Plan and Implementation Road Map were drawn. Their vigorous implementation resulted in the massive revitalization of the once-moribund sector in the area of upgrade of critical safety and security infrastructure in compliance with global best practices.
Under the Master Plan, Oduah initiated the Airport Remodeling Programme (ARP) of all 22 federally owned airports, a feat applauded by aviation stakeholders within and outside Nigeria. Today, all Nigerian airports have the enviable record of having met operational standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.
Under the Airport Remodeling Programme (ARP), Princess Oduah laid emphasis and focus not only on infrastructure upgrade, but more importantly on enhancing air safety and security, growing the capacity of domestic airlines, having a dignified national carrier, and developing agro-allied and cargo facilities.
The policy was also aimed at repositioning the aviation industry to become pivotal to Nigeria’s economic growth and a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Of note is the commencement of simultaneous construction work on five modern international passenger terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu. When completed, these terminals would make the dream of setting up aviation as a major contributor to the nation’s GDP a foregone conclusion. This is not even talking about the Aerotropolis project and the innumerable Perishable cargo terminals that today dot the entire Nigerian landscape.
Perhaps, Oduah’s most significant achievement for the people of the South East is the commencement of operations at the Akano Ibiam Enugu Airport, as a truly international airport. This has not only opened up the region to the world but has also heralded a new vista of economic prosperity for the zone.
SENATOR OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC
It is a fitting tribute to the immense contributions of Princess Oduah to the Nigerian nation, humanity and community service that this rare Amazon of exceptional qualities was handsomely rewarded by her people with a ticket to represent Anambra North Senatorial District in the Senate.
Her election, in a chauvinistic environment like Anambra State, is a testament to her wide appeal to all categories of people – the young, the old, the elderly, the poor and down-trodden, the Royalty, as well as the High and Mighty. In the Senate, within a very short time, her voice is resonating far and near, while her footprints as a dogged fighter for the rights, welfare and wellbeing of her people are already registering in the sands of legislative brinksmanship in Nigeria. Although it is ‘morning yet on creation day’ as far as her stewardship in the Senate is concerned, it is, however, clear that the people of Anambra North never made a mistake by electing her to be their eyes, ears, and voice at the national stage.
Princess Adaeze-Oduah’s Philanthropic Activities
Princess Adaeze-Oduah is not all business, policy and politics. She is also a humanitarian and philanthropist par excellence. She has a very high dose of the proverbial milk of human kindness and has generously used this to touch many lives, near and wide.
Her numerous Empowerment Schemes bear eloquent testimony to this. The schemes are administered by a Foundation, the Princess Stella Oduah Foundation (PSOF). The Foundation is charged with the award of scholarships to students and seminarians for priestly training, granting micro-credit facilities to farmers, artisans and traders as well as organizing sport competitions for primary and secondary schools to discover local talents.
Other Humanitarian/Empowerment programmes include:
- Skill acquisition programme for the youth
- Empowerment programme for women
- Empowerment programme for widows
- Provision of food and drug for the elderly
- Establishment of perishable crop settlements and collection centres
- Construction of rural access roads
- Provision of boreholes in communities
- Provision of primary healthcare facilities
- Organizing talent hunt in debating, sport, holding Essay writing competitions, amongst others.