By Collins Ajibola
Known strongly to be a man of strong opinions and standards, an attribute which was clearly admitted by the man himself when he was appointed Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in 2001, Chief Audu Ogbeh needs little introduction as a Nigerian. He has worked at the Murtala College of Arts, Science and Technology (later Benue Polytechnic) Ugbokolo. He was Deputy Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly 1979-1982 and later Minister of Communications 1982-1983.
He went on to become the Minister for Steel Development under the Alhaji Shehu Shagari government in 1983. He moved into Agricultural Consultancy thereafter. Audu Ogbeh was involved in the formation of PDP Nigeria in 1998 was was elected its Chairman on the 10th November, 2001.
Audu Ogbeh subsequently resigned from the PDP Nigeria chairmanship position in January 2005. Ogbeh in August 2005 was actively involved in the formation of Action Congress which finally became the APC Nigeria. Audu Ogbeh runs Efugo Farms with a goal for its out growers programme to engage 20,000 farmers in 18 States by July 2016.
Ogbeh’s Efugo Farms produces Castor Oil, Groundnut Oil, Hatching of Fishes and Chicken and Broiler Production. Audu Innocent Ogbeh came in as a ministerial nominee with enormous experience particularly in agriculture and was subsequently screened and cleared. He however has his work cut out for him.
Being touted as a replacement for the troubled SGF, like the normal spirit of antagonists, they are out again to stain the white surface with black paint all in the name of achieving sinister motive. It is not because he was initially one of those pencilled down for the SGF job before powerful forces urged the president to settle for David Babachir Lawal that should again be reconsidered. It is simply because he is good for that position, having proven to be a man of high integrity and reputation.
We can recall Ogbeh was considered just after the APC won the presidency. He is a chieftain of the party that worked hard to help the president win, APC also won governorship in his state. He was a former deputy speaker and former Minister; both elective and appointment based positions. Thus, that he has the requisite experience is not in doubt.
There is no gainsaying that business and politics has always been a combustible combination, but despite many giving entrepreneurs in the political realm a bad name, there have been some successes like Audu Ogbeh. Be it in Nigeria, African and other parts of the world, many businessmen have made successful politicians.
Michael Bloomberg who used his severance package to start Innovate Market System, later to be known as Bloomberg, he decided to enter the world of politics and ran for Mayor of New York City. He won and took office in 2002, where he helped rebuilt the city in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Peter Cruddas is another good example, he founded online financial service firm CMC Markets and built into a global player, he was later in future appointed Conservative Party co-treasurer in June 2011. We should not also forget Arnold Schwarzenegger in a hurry. In Nigeria, we are also blessed such individuals like Orji Uzor Kalu, Atiku Abubakar, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and many others, who have distinguished themselves in both business and politics.
When a man lacks facts, he finds it difficult to say the truth. This is evident in the fact that many are cooking false tales to bring down the person of Audu Ogbeh. I will quickly respond to the issue raised by these elements to counter their myopic thinking on successful businessmen and politicians.
They said “He owes bank”. Pray me, who is that successful business man that has never borrowed? Name them and I will tell you they are fraudulent. Yes, owing is one thing, paying is another. As a business man, the law allows you to approach financial institutions for loans and credit facilities to sustain tour business. I am happy that they have not come out to say he is bankrupt. Good, you may ask, why the noise making and circulation of false. Why are they bringing it up when he is being considered strongly for a vital position? Why didn’t they say this when he was nominated, screened and later sworn is a Minister of a very critical ministry? Audu Ogbeh has proven to be tested and trusted man when it comes to delivery of tasks and responsibilities. The call by those parambulators in the words of Fela Anikulapo Kuti is shallow and lacks merit. He has one of the biggest farms in Nigeria, and not one day has his staff carried placards or display any act to show that he is or has been treating them bad. Not one day have they protested non-payment of salaries. Give it to Audu Ogbeh, he has indeed distinguished himself in every aspect. He has set a class for the young ones to emulate in terms of integrity and selfless service to the nation.
Mr. President sir, the cap fits him and once again I want to reiterate that he is good for it. You deserve someone like Audu Ogbeh to be by you as you strive to make Nigeria great again.