By Josiah Adebutu (Ogun Correspondent, who was at Ijebu Igbo)
A heavy throng of sympathizers and party supporters, on Sunday, stormed the Ijebu Igbo country home of late Senator Buruji Kashamu who died on Saturday at a Lagos hospital from complications arising from corona virus infection to pay their last respect to him. The sympathizers however defied Covid-19 protocols to grace the interment of the remains of the late former senator.
In his life time, Kashamu represented Ogun East Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly. He was buried at about 12:55 pm on Sunday at his Ijebu Igbo home in Ogun state. Kashamu died at the First Cardiology Consultant Hospital, in Lagos on Saturday after being infected by the dreaded Coronavirus. Late Kashamu, born on 19 May, 1958. He died at 62.
The deceased lawmaker who was a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Ogun State, was appointed as the chairman, Organization and Mobilization Committee of the PDP in the South West zone of Nigeria. In 2018, he was expelled from the People’s Democratic Party, but his expulsion was later quashed by an Abuja High Court in October 2018. He was the 2019 Ogun State gubernatorial election candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Senator Kashamu started his education at Ansarudeen Primary School, Ijebu Igbo and left in 1972 to complete his primary school education at St. John Modern School, Lagos. He then attended evening classes at Igbobi College while working as a licensing agent. He later went to London where he took courses in Business Management at Pitman College, London. Kashamu was awarded a Honorary PhD by the unaccredited, diploma-mill Cambridge Graduate University, located in Massachusetts, at a privately organized ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Kashamu's arch critic, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, while reacting to his death on Saturday, said Senator Buruji Kashamu, in his lifetime used the maneuver of law and politics to escape from facing justice on alleged criminal offense in Nigeria and abroad, but could not use the same maneuvering to stop the cold hand of death from snatching him away.
In his condolence letter to the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Obasanjo said he received the sad news of the demise of Kashamu and expressed his sympathy. According to Obasanjo, no legal, political, cultural, social or even medical maneuver could stop the cold hand of death when the Creator of all decided that the time was up for Kashamu.
"I received the sad news of the demise of Senator Esho Jinadu (Buruji Kashamu) a significant citizen of Ogun State. Please accept my condolence and that of my family on this irreparable loss. The life and history of the departed have lessons for those of all us on this side of the veil. Senator Esho Jinadu (Buruji Kashamu) in his lifetime used the maneuver of law and politics to escape from facing justice on alleged criminal offence in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.
“But no legal, political, cultural, social or even medical maneuver could stop the cold hand of death when the Creator of all of us decides that the time is up. May Allah forgive his sin and accept his soul into Aljanah, and may God grant his family and friends fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
However, former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, whose enemity with Obasanjo is well known, has lambasted the former president over his comment on the death of Kashamu.
Fayose, in his condolence message, reacted to Obasanjo's comments on late Kashamu. He however, condemned the former president’s comment, saying it is regrettable. He tweeted thus: “I commiserate with the family of Senator Buruji Kashamu for this irreparable loss and pray for the repose of his soul. The Almighty God will console those he left behind.
“I also condemn the statement made by former President Obasanjo on his (Kashamu) death. It is regrettable that Obasanjo could say what he said about Buruji Kashamu after his death and when he can no longer question him. Why didn’t he say that when Kashamu was alive?”, he asked.
Fayose further asked if the former president can say in good conscience that he did not at some point collaborated with Kashamu. He also urged the elder statesman to stop acting like a saint which he is not and also remember that his own end will come too.
The former Ekiti governor wrote: “Can Obasanjo say in good conscience that he did not, at some point, collaborated with Kashamu and most of the things he (Kashamu) did politically were not with his collaboration? Nigerians will watch out for Obasanjo’s own end. He should stop forming saint because he is not. He should also remember that his own end will come too and nobody knows how the end will be.”
Kashamu was the founder of Western Lotto Limited, one of Nigeria’s lottery operators.
He was said to be a wanted in the United States for years for alleged drug offenses. He had though denied wrongdoing. The feud between Obasanjo and Kashamu over the leadership of the PDP in the South West was quite pronounced in 2013 when Obasanjo criticized the PDP leadership for retaining Kashamu as a leader of the party in the region.
He described the deceased as a drug baron who will buy candidates, parties, and eventually buy power. On account of this comment, Kashamu then filed a N20 billion libel suit against the former president, which he did not withdraw until 2015.
Also, in his own condolence reaction to Kashamu's death, a national leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, underscored the need to show kindness to the dead, a quality missing in Obasanjo’s own condolence message. Tinubu said Kashamu’s death demonstrated the “transience of human life and rekindles the fact that death is inevitable for every mortal.”
Without addressing Obasanjo directly, Tinubu dropped a line of moral lesson to the former president: “It behoves on us to be kind to the dead". Tinubu however expressed deep shock and sadness about Buruji’s death.
According to him, Buruji’s death has lengthened the grotesque list of important personalities that have been lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is also a sad reminder that the deadly virus remains very much with us. We must all continue to embrace all the protective protocols recommended by the government and health authorities, even as we gradually begin the re-opening of our economy and return to a new normal in our lifestyles”.
Tinubu also eulogised Buruji’s politics. “He was a notable leader in the country and a true grassroots politician. He fought for his convictions, for the people of Ogun State and for his country. Senator Kashamu was also a good party man. He was unwavering in his support for his party, PDP, through all the twists and turns of his political life. His passing is a big loss to the larger political family in Nigeria. He worked assiduously to advance the political and economic fortunes of his state.
Tinubu continued: “Kashamu represented, with merit, Ogun East in the 8th National Assembly and worked well for his constituents. He was a kind and generous man, a philanthropist in his own right and an astute businessman. I admire his political doggedness and sagacity, and his steadfastness in pursuing whatever he believes in, though we were never in the same political party.
“I mourn with his family, particularly his wives, children and grandchildren. May the Almighty Allah lay His hands of protection on them at this moment. I mourn with his friends and associates across the country", Tinubu said. NNL.