When will Nigerians learn to take heed of the advice of public commentator; Dele Farotimi on Nigerian politicians that “Don’t die in their war!”.
This is because I watched in awe the way Nigerians have not taken lightly former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s condolence letter to the governor of Ogun state on the demise of Senator Buruji Kashamu.
Left to me, I would have expected the people to let it pass as a case of the deep calling to the deep.
To many and different people, the late Ìjẹ̀bú Igbo politician, businessman and socialite means different things as a man can be both a beast or an angel depending on circumstances.
To OBJ, he means something else as he probably knows him beyond the public figure that many people see.
There was a no love lost relationship between the duo while Kashamu was alive. A relationship that started harmoniously before going sour when Kashamu, who Obasanjo was said to have brought into the Ogun state PDP fold to help fight governor Gbénga Daniel then decided to expand his influence within and beyond the Ogun fold without recourse to Robert Greene’s admonition and first law in his book, the 48 laws of power which says; “Never outshine the master”.
If there is one man however who should be sat in one corner beaming his signature smile today on the attack on Obasanjo, it is no one other than Otunba Gbénga Daniel who OBJ unleashed Kashamu on, then.
That OBJ wrote another in the series of his acerbic and caustic letters should not surprise any one who realises that he is an Owu man and the Balogun Owu for that matter. It is part of the pedigree of his lineage that : Owu kii ranro, àwii mẹ́nu kúrò ní t’Owu which literally means that an Owu man does not seek vengeance but never forgets.
If we are to judge Kashamu’s person by the many sympathisers who thronged his home to bid him farewell, the conclusion will be that he was a man of the people. Most people present may have benefitted from his large heart and deep pocket at one point or another.
He was rich and gives generously. It is on record that he blessed the popular fuji music star K1 with cars on two occasions in the past. One of the car gifts was in 2008 when he gifted him a Toyota car often referred to in Nigeria as Muscle which K1 registered with WendyK1.
I know two other people who benefitted from his largesse in the past. One is a young Bureau de Change (BDC) operator whom he took under his wings and mentored. The other is a retired school principal from Ìjẹ̀bú Igbo where Buruji hails from. Buruji became his backbone upon retirement and made him a key player and beneficiary of his Omo-Ilu initiative. His benevolence was that much. People like these aforementioned, would eternally be grateful and loyal to him.
While he may have failed with law 1 of Greene’s 48 laws of power, he however perfected the use of law 25 (Recreate yourself). Law 48 (Assume formlessness) which he used to get OBJ to his side before using law 42 (Strike the shepherd and the flock will scatter) to put Ogun PDP in disarray and law 15 (Crush your enemy totally) to deal the fatal blow which led to OBJ’s resignation from PDP. He also understood law 8 (Make other people come to you), law 11 (Keep people dependent on you), law 33 (Discover each man’s thumbscrew) and law 27 (Play on people’s need to believe to create a cult like following) all which he engaged his deep purse to achieve. Also he was versatile with law 6 (Court attention at all cost). During his life time, he was a showstopper and life of any party. There is a video which made waves earlier in the year where he sprayed K1 bundles of different denominations of naira at Kunle Atoyegbe’s child wedding ceremony in January 2020.
Beside his attempt to outshine his master, his bumpy road in politics was blighted by law 3 (Conceal your intentions), law 5 (So much depends on reputation-guard it with your life) and law 19 (Know who you are dealing with-do not offend the wrong person). May be if he had attended well to this last three laws, OBJ would not have had cause to write the condolence letter that has become a subject of interest and controversy.
Having said that, we must also remind OBJ that he may not have needed to write that type of condolence if he was mindful of the reality that; “Mysterious are the ways of providence and he who schemes to enslave his kind will be snatched by his own snares” according to Dafe Onojovwo.
It is also a lesson that we should all be mindful of the monsters that we create just incase it consumes us or come back to haunt us. That is what happened to OBJ, as he believe he could use Kashamu and keep him in the background but Kashamu being someone who is devious in schemes and a street oriented man outsmarted OBJ and became ambitious. The first thing he did was to bring the entire South West PDP exco under his grip. I remember I cried foul back then when the Ishola Fìlani led caretaker South West exco welcomed and reverred him to high heavens at a zonal meeting in Ibadan where he donated money, secretariat and bus to the PDP South West.
Obasanjo had written then to former PDP chairman; Bamanga Tukur and former President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2014, stating thus;
“I cannot and I will not subscribe to a wanted habitual criminal being installed as my zonal leader in the party; a criminal for whom extradition has been requested by the US Government”.
“I will consider withdrawing my activity with PDP at Local, State, Zonal and national levels until the anomalous and shameful situation is corrected”.
That was the genesis of the trouble between OBJ and Goodluck Jonathan as well. Buruji did not stop at that, he went on to take over the party structure in Ogun state and got himself the Ogun East senatorial ticket which he won convincely.
On the whole, I will not join in lynching OBJ for what he said despite that people are complaining that the timing is wrong because according to Ralph Waldo Emerson; “Truth is the property of no individual but it is the treasure of all men”.
I do understand the position of people who believe that he should have left such homily for another ocassion but truth exists only for the wise.
I also remember that Revd. S. K. Abiara a popular Ibadan clergy once said that; “Truth does not depend on popular opinion or support. It can stand on its own and will be revealed no matter how long it takes”.
He has only helped us put things in perspective. It is a ‘one size fit all’ sermon for everyone who has benefitted from the morass and decay of the Nigerian society in any way which may include him as well depending on the aspect looked into. It is just unfortunate that it came to light at the death of the late senator.
OBJ is duty bound as a leader. He perfectly understands that the truth is often frigid, unpleasant and harsh and he must have prepared for any eventuality that attends his position.
We must appreciate that the statement was daring and it takes a courageous man to put such out at a time like this. It is left for every corrupt person, criminal minded person or pretender who is in government or who shortchanges the system to take heed.
Obasanjo is getting the end of the stick because he is a politician and leader some people love to hate. If the statement he made was quoted to some other politicians who appeal to the mob haranguing him, it would have become a holy grail by now.
Obasanjo’s position is not a moral question because recently he implied that even himself as a politician is not clean while dwelling on why he thinks Atiku Abubakar was more competent to be president than Muhammad Buhari but that should not erode the point he made.
We must realise that most people condemning OBJ are themselves hypocrites. Some people out of the multitude hailing Kashamu and saying good things about him in death did cast aspersions on him while alive on the many accusations against him but hypocritically leveraging on the goodwill and loyalty showed by his support base in his immediate constituency now that he is dead.
The quantum of reactions from the past are there on the Internet on how some of these people see him when he was alive starting from when he contested for senate under the umbrella of PDP. There are memes of him and Fayose in a buka which was labelled as criminals running PDP. There were many unpalatable tales and memes on how he was granted free visa to go to America during his ordeal with NDLEA in their quest to arrest and extradite him to America for drug related offences which made him barricade himself inside his house for days and so many other sordid tales about his person but in death he has suddenly become sanctified.
That is why the Nigerian critical mass never ceases to amaze me anyway. They mocked Abiola Ajimobi in death just under two months ago and rubbished the age long saying that you don’t talk evil of the dead but at the moment think otherwise.
What was Ajimobi’s offence and where is the conscience of the hypocritical Nigerians who fall into this irrational mob?
Ajimobi was a man who was well educated, excelled and got to the peak of his career in the private sector, a former senator who also made history as the first executive governor of Oyo state to serve two terms. Yet, people spoke ill of him in death because of frivolous accusations of his being garrulous and supposed high handness. He may have been accused of corruption but no court found him guilty till his demise. In terms of public good and private life, Ajimobi was ‘Primus Inter Pares’ where the likes of Kashamu are concerned in my opinion.
Can those lauding Buruji tell the world of his sterling qualities like Ajimobi other than his deep pocket and benevolence. His story was said to the motivation behind the American series;”Orange is the new Black”. What does that say about the other side of him which may not be in public domain?
While I wish that Kashamu be left to be mourned by his beloved ones and well wishers, we must realise that our reputation and character is very important especially when we are public figures.
Obasanjo may be insensitive to have danced on a dead man’s grave but the evil that men do lives after them.