The American National Centre for Education Statistics has confirmed that the Pacific Christian University, Glendale, which Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, claimed awarded her a doctorate degree, does not exist. This confirms that the minister’s purported honorary Ph.D is fake.
The National Centre for Education Statistics is an agency under the United States’ Department of Education.
Responding to an inquiry by newsmen, the spokesperson for the agency, which maintains a comprehensive and up-to-date database of all American public and private educational institutions, said, “thank you for your inquiry. I do not see a university in our database that is Pacific Christian University in Glendale”.
She, however, suggested that the closest to Pacific Christian University in the database might be Hope International University in Fullerton, which she believed used to be known as Pacific Christian College.
Contacted, Ever Delarosa of the registrar’s office at Hope International University confirmed that the institution used to be known as Pacific Christian College and not Pacific Christian University as Stella Oduah indicated in her resume.
Even at that, Ms. Delarosa insisted that Stella Oduah could not be referring to Hope University because the institution changed its name from Pacific Christian College in 1997 while Mrs Oduah claimed she was awarded a doctorate in Business Administration 1998.
The Hope University official also explained that the institution, even when it was known as Pacific Christian College, had never had a campus in Glendale, but was based in Long Beach City at the time.
According to her, “we do not have any records of any candidate by the name Stella Oduah or related names,” Ms. Delarosa said, after pouring through the university record.
“Whether now that we are Hope University or in the past when we were Pacific Christian College, we did not give any such person a degree here”.
It would be recalled that the aviation minister had lied on oath to the Senate, by claiming that the Pacific Christian University awarded her an honorary doctorate degree in 1998.
Oduah had made the claim in a 7-page resume she distributed to the 109 senators during her confirmation hearing on July 2, 2011.
On page four of the document, the minister claimed the university, which she said was based in Glendale, awarded her an honorary doctorate in Business Administration.
But investigations indicate that no university called Pacific Christian University existed in the United States.
The US Department of Education, through its National Centre for Education Statistics, keeps an up-to-date database of all public libraries and educational institutions in the country – public, private and colleges.
However, a search by state (California), city (Glendale) and name of institution (Pacific Christian University), could neither track Stella Oduah, nor the honorary doctorate degree she claimed to have obtained.
According to the database, there are six colleges (universities) in Glendale, a city of 191,719 inhabitants in Los Angeles County, in the state of California.
The colleges are American Medical Sciences Centre, Brand College, Glendale Career College, Glendale Community, and North-West College, a search that confirmed that there is no such university known as Christian Pacific College as claimed by the minister.
Efforts by to get the comments of the spokespersons for the minister were unsuccessful, as her Special Assistant on Media, Joe Obi, neither answered nor returned calls put across to his phone.
Although spokesperson for the aviation agencies, Yakubu Datti, did pick the call but immediately said he would call back. But as at the time of going to press, he was yet to respond to our enquiries.
Investigations show that Stella Oduah, and her associates have been cleaning up her biographies on the Internet, since the allegations emerged that she lied about her academic qualifications.
The minister had claimed she obtained Bachelor and Masters degrees from St. Paul’s College.
But after it became clear she might not have earned a Masters from that institution, Mrs. Oduah edited her biography on the website of the Ministry of Aviation, and removed the references to St. Paul’s College.
The Wikipedia page of the minister was also edited and it now has no reference to the university Mrs. Oduah attended, with the last edit on the Wikipedia page done at 14:41 p.m. Nigerian time on Tuesday.
All links and reference materials on the Wikipedia page capable of linking the minister to the university were also deleted.
Even the minister’s personal website was reviewed to remove any reference to St. Paul’s College.
Mrs. Oduah had since October been enmeshed in a N255 million armoured cars scandal in which she was accused of compelling the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to buy her two exotic bulletproof cars at clearly inflated prices.
The purchase of the cars generated outrage for weeks because its cost was inflated, and it was neither listed in the government-approved budget nor did it comply with the public procurement law.
The House of Representatives has since asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the minister but the president has failed to act, even as a panel he set up to probe the purchase has since submitted its report.