“My Salary was only 900K” – Audu Ogbeh laments financial pressure on political leaders
Audu Ogbeh, former Minister of Agriculture has lamented the financial pressure heaped on political leaders by their constituents.
Ogbeh in a chat with Punch disclosed many Nigerians have high expectations from their leaders whose salaries alone can never meet their financial demands.
According to him, when a leader receives a political appointment, his constituents begin to saddle him with their financial problems asking for money to pay fees, start business etc.
Ogbeh who revealed he only earned N900,000 monthly said some people made high demands going up to N2,000,0000 from him. This he said , is one of the major problems of political leaders who then resort to illegal means of making money to meet up the high expectations of Nigerians whose wants are insatiable.
“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.”