*Says he lost three siblings
By Gabriel Ewepu
“There were three attempts on my life and near abduction in 2005 at my residence and God, in his mercies, delivered me”.
The Directors in his ministry had organised a ‘surprise celebrastion’ to mark the occasion.
The elated Minister was full of appreciation for the ‘package’ and the cooperation he has received from the Permanent Secretary and Directors since he took over the helm of affairs at the ministry.
Reflecting on his life for the past 69 years, he revealed three assassination attempts on his life and near abduction, as he made reference to his political journey.
“It is heart-warming to see the managers of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development surprising me with this celebration because I never expected it”, Ogbeh said.
“My mother had four sons and I am the only surviving one. Others died at infancy. God has seen me through to 69 years, and all have been eventful years. As a politician, I know the terrain has been dangerous. It is like a marshy land full of crocodiles, snakes, and other dangerous animals”.
Speaking on the assassination attempts, the Minister said: “There were three attempts on my life and near abduction in 2005 at my residence and God, in his mercies delivered me, and I am still alive. The first one was on December 1, 1998. A gang sent to my house told me that night, `We’ve come to kill you sir’. They fired 53 cartridges into my house, shooting my security guard, and I was left bleeding.
“Secondly, I survived an assassination on August 11, 2005. That was when I left being the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Five men were sent to my house. Three of them were dressed in police uniform while the two others wore plain clothes and they came in an unmarked car.
“The third was when I drank tea somewhere and I think it was poisoned.”
Speaking on the Minister’s life as a father, a farmer and politician, one of his sons, Adegbe, said his father has been a strict disciplinarian and also inculcated that in them.
“I grew up to know our father as a disciplinarian who believes that through honesty and determination you can become what God has destined you to be instead of being corrupt and cutting corners.
“Our father has been inspirational to us and his passion for agriculture affected us. I was 12 years old working with him at his rice mill. As early as 4am, we would go with him to his cashew farm.
“We as his children were always conscious that he is a public figure and we never misbehaved to bring shame to him and our family, and that is still in us.
“He never gave us money to be flamboyant as other children, because he wants us to be focused and become responsible persons in future. He is a person who cares for people and the country is in his heart, and not desperate for power.
“And he does not believe in ‘bedroom heroes’, but he is a hero at home and the public”.
One of the Directors in the ministry, Titus Ifuntoye, described Ogbeh as a man with rare humility and care.
Director, Human Resources Management in the ministry, Olabunmi Adewale, said Ogbeh has been like a father to the management and staff.