After seventeen minutes, responding to questions, former PDP national chairman, Audu Ogbeh was asked to take a bow by the senators who are currently screening nominees. He was the third to be questioned after Udoma Udoma and Kayode Fayemi.
Ogbeh who many are tipping to be agriculture minister described himself as a “common farmer.” Ogbeh said “We have to do more with the economy. The issue of universities which have become intellectual ghettos also need to be looked at.”
Ogbeh said he has been in “school” since the last time he was in government, going round the world and learning how agriculture is being practiced across the world and not in Nigeria. On the issue of the controversies over his nomination especially his age, Ogbeh said “if I didn’t believe I could do it I would have turned it down.”
Ogbeh was asked issues about why politicians change party so easily and not stay to build their parties. The nominee said that ours is a developing democracy and these defections will be here with us for some time. He said some don’t remember that “Churchill, a former British PM, during the war changed parties thrice. Also, former US president Ronald Reagan was a Democrat previously but converted to Republican party.” According to him, the reasons why defections will continue is lack of internal democracy in parties and the ease at which party leadership surrender to the President and governors.
On agriculture, he said some of the challenges facing the nation relate to the seeds we have. “There are no seed companies in Nigeria. We also have a problem of feed and nutrition. A cow in Nigeria gives two liters of milk daily but in Zimbabwe it’s 15 liters and even more in Europe.” He lamented the high interest rate in Nigeria which is “one of the highest in the world. Unless you are in crime how do you invest at 25% and expect profit.” He said if the problem is not fixed, we would havehave an issue. Outside, senators are accused of jombo pay but none know the pressure you face and that can’t be published. It’s because of the poverty in the land.”
He stood for just seventeen minutes before being asked to take a bow. Next to be called after him was Ogbonnaya Onu.