Audu Ogbeh, former minister of agriculture, says he earned ₦900,000 as salary while in office, but some people wanted him to give them ₦5 million every week.
In an interview with The Punch, Ogbeh said if a political leader must satisfy the high demands of his people, he will resort to stealing.
The former minister 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 ₦900,000 a month. The party took ₦100,000. I had ₦800,000 left but I would be in the office and there would be 50 people waiting to see me. Some requests ₦2 million, ₦5 million, ₦200,000 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.”