North is afflicted with poverty, people puts pressure on leaders to steal - Audu Ogbeh


Former minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, says political leaders, especially from the north face undue financial pressure from their constituents.

Ogbeh said while as a minister in President Buhari's first term that he earned about N900,000 a month, but some people wanted him to give them N5 million every week.

In an interview with The Punch, the ex-minister said if a political leader must satisfy the high demands of his people, he will resort to stealing.

Ogbeh said political leaders face so much pressure and financial demands from their constituents that they do not have time to analyse policies.

“When they bring out a policy, analyse it quickly and if you don’t know, get experts to tell you the consequences and raise an objection; but we don’t do it. We are too busy and happy with the offices we hold,” Ogbeh said.

“We come under too much pressure once you climb out from the poverty of your environment. Everybody wants you to give them financial help, to bury their dead, pay school fees and rent as well as give them cash.

“How much do you earn? If you must satisfy them, you must be a thief. There is no pretence about it. As a minister, my salary, rent, housing allowance and everything was N900,000 a month. The party took N100,000. I had N800,000 left but I would be in the office and there would be 50 people waiting to see me. Some requests N2 million, N5 million, N200,000 each week on my visiting day.

“Now, if you don’t give them, you are described as a very stingy and useless man who has got there and doesn’t want to help people. If you must give, you have to take it from illegal sources. That is the plain truth. And because the north has this affliction of poverty, this is the problem of northern leaders, the pressure they face is out of this world.”

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