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Audu Ogbe: Return of Mr. Chairman

Written By Idoma Television on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 | 12:23:00 AM

By AMEH Godwin

For the true sons and daughters of Idomaland, nothing gladdens their hearts so much with this current democratic dispensation than the name of one of their illustrious sons, Audu Ogbe, appearing on the list of ministerial nominees submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari on September 30, 2015.
With the screening over, what is left is a wait for Ogbe’s portfolio. Having enjoyed a good run in the last government, where the exalted positions of Senate President and Minister of Interior where held by two Idomas – Senator David Mark and Abba Moro respectively - it appears the prominence of Idoma on the country’s political landscape is about to dim with the governorship of the state in the hands of the Tiv.

However, with the recent nomination and screening of Chief Ogbe, arguably one of Nigeria’s astute politicians, there is every reason to say that it is yet another win-win for the Idoma people, the second largest ethnic group of Benue State.

Chief Ogbe, a native of Ogbadibo Local Government Area, is not a novice to political appointments. If anything, he is returning to a familiar terrain where he had acquitted himself creditably well time and again. Ogbe who wears many togas - academic, legislator, farmer – his sanctuary after resigning his position as the party chairman of PDP in 2005 - is returning as minister for the second time.
His first ministerial appointment was in the truncated Second Republic NPN government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, where by in 1982 he was Federal Minister of Communications, and later Minister of Steel Development. Speculation is rife that he may be handed either the Agriculture Ministry or Water Resources.

Whichever of the ministry he is assigned, Chief Audu Ogbe will be a round peg in a round hole.  As a farmer and chairman of Efugo Farms, earlier in the year he had raised alarm about Nigeria’s inordinate importation of tomato paste from China to the tune of about 100 million dollars (about N20 billion) annually. That speaks volume about his knowledge of agricultural affairs on a macro scale.

Last time around, he was a stalwart of PDP, where he rose to become the party chairman for four years before his strained relationship with President Obasanjo forced him to resign on grounds of principles and personal conviction. Today, he is one of the chieftains of the APC and a close confidant of President Buhari. Lest his political history is misinterpreted, it is imperative to so say this: Ogbeh is not an accidental politician. Neither is he a political opportunist.

The “Lion of Ogbadigbo” is recognised as one of the elder statesmen from the middle Belt area of the country.
There is a bit of irony to his current political resurgent. The man who truncated Audu Ogbe’s ministerial term in 1982 is the one appointing him now – President Buhari who in December 1983 came into power via a military coup. Ogbe, screened recently by the National Assembly, by Bukola Saraki and his legislator colleagues was 33 years ago screened by senators that included Saraki’s father.

The initial hue and cry about his nomination has gradually waned and died out. It is worth saying that there’s nothing wrong with nominating Chief Audu Ogbeh for a ministerial appointment. When he first became a minister in 1982 he was 35 years of age. Now he is 68, a man of a wealth of experience. In a list of ministerial nominees that is a mixture of both young and old, Ogbe, described as man of honesty and integrity by Abubakar Tsav, former Commissioner of Police of Lagos State, is one of those that can be counted upon to bring to bear wisdom and commitment that can catalyse the change the Buhari government is seeking.

Meanwhile, apex Idoma socio-cultural group, Idoma National Forum, INF, has described the appointment Ogbe as a welcome development.
A statement obtained from the information desk of the respected forum; said the appointment of Ogbe was a clear indication that President Muhammadu truly belongs to nobody but everyone.
INF further charged the elder statesman to use his good office for development and betterment Idoma community and its people.

Similarly, the Ogbadibo Youth Forum, OYC, has lauded President Buhari for appointing one of their illustrious sons into his cabinet.
Convener of the forum, Barr. Akor Ikwuoche, said the youths of Ogbadibo are strongly behind Ogbe as he embarks on the national assignment.

On his part, top social media commentator, Borntwise John Obodumu said the appointment Ogbe was an indication that the Idoma community is truly blessed with fertile minds.
According to him, “the tribe, people and nation of Idoma are really blessed with human and natural resources. The Idoma people bring balance to the team.

We are full of wisdom and lovely, usually wanted and highly celebrated.
Nigeria needs us to succeed.... and we are Readyly available. Watching Dr. Audu ogbe’s Section of the Senate screening of the ministerial nominees, I am impressed by the hindsight, insight and foresight of the ministerial nominee from Benue state --dr. Audu Ogbe. In my opinion, am convinced that Dr. Audu ogbe is a true Leader .

This is true for me because he is a man with vision, selfless, solution, passionate. We are truly proud of him,” he added in a letter sent to IDOMA VOICE.

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