Audu Ogbeh, former minister of agriculture, says the pressure of financial demands from Nigerians lead most political office holders to seek money through illegal means.
Ogbeh stated this in an interview with The Punch, explaining that his salary and allowances then as a minister was N900,000 whereas he got financial request from his constituent well over N2 million.
He added that it was such financial pressure that distracts political office holders from paying close attention to government 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,” said the ex-minister.
“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.”