Buruji Kashamu said he was Obasanjo’s right hand man.
Buruji Kashamu, the fugitive that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo made reference to in his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, has described the former president as an ingrate who used him to achieve his political aspirations.
Mr. Obasanjo, in his letter to the president, condemned Mr. Jonathan’s relationship with Mr. Kashamu, a man wanted in the United States for drug related offences. The former president called for Mr. Kashamu’s extradition to the U.S. to face charges. Mr. Kashamu is currently the leader and financier of Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ogun State, Mr. Obasanjo’s home state.
In a statement titled ‘We are Partners’, which was a response to Mr. Obasanjo’s letter, Mr. Kashamu said the former president had used him to achieve his political aims in Ogun in the past.
“He used me to fight Gbenga Daniel and I spent over N3 billion to fight his cause and took the PDP structure from Daniel and handed it over to him,” Mr. Kashamu said of the former president. “He later brought his friend, a 67-year-old Gen. Adetunji Olurin, to be the governorship candidate. Now, he is casting aspersion on the person of the President and my humble self.”
Mr. Obasanjo had a running battle with Mr. Daniel, who was Ogun State governor from 2003 to 2011. Mr. Daniel was eventually forced out of the PDP prior to the 2011 elections and moved his supporters to the Peoples Party of Nigeria, PPN.
Mr. Kashamu also described Mr. Obasanjo’s 18-page letter as satanic, self-serving and mischievous.
“When you have a man who should be a father figure descend into the arena, clutching at every opportunity to play to the gallery,” he said. “Who should be ashamed among us? How many former Presidents and Heads of State would do this? He thinks he is disgracing his people but unknown to him, he is making himself a laughing stock in the eyes of the discerning.”
The billionaire lamented that following Mr. Obasanjo’s letter, he has “been inundated with calls from family members, friends, business and political associates as to his real intentions.
“In the 18-page letter dated 3rd December, 2013, Obasanjo called me a shameless criminal. Pray, why should I be ashamed when I am not a criminal or the one being looked for, and he knows! They have called all manner of names to silence and sabotage me so as to take over party structure in the Southwest in order to work against the government.”
The Ogun politician also condemned the former president for writing such a letter.
“If Obasanjo could write this kind of letter against his own people, with a view to inciting Nigerians against the man he introduced to them, then it leaves much to be desired,” he said. “The was the same man who said Jonathan was the only one fit for the job having been cleared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He told Nigerians to vote him as President because of his unimpeachable character and integrity. It is unfair for him to round to insult the President.”
Mr. Kashamu said the former president was only bitter because he had lost out in the PDP.
“Initially, he was given everything he wanted but he was still not pleased. Now that things have changed, he is grumbling,” he said. “He merely ventilated his frustrations over the new political reality that has stripped him bare of any claim to Ogun State and the South West geo-political zone.”
“Ordinarily, a person of his standing should tower far and above such parochialism. But he won’t have any of such. He would rather eat the fat of the land and still struggle for the crumbs while at one playing the ostrich. If the truth be told, the letter to President Goodluck Jonathan is, to say the least, satanic, self-serving and mischievous.”
The politician also restated his earlier claims that it was Mr. Obasanjo that introduced him to the presidency and leaders of the PDP.
“Can he (Obasanjo) deny that we wined and dined together in the past? Can he deny knowledge of my closeness to his daughter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, especially during the events leading to the 2011 general elections? Can he deny that he introduced me to some leaders of the PDP in the South West, such as the Minister of Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade; his Agric counterpart, Dr. Adesina Akinwunmi; and Engr. Segun Oni, among others, as his political son in whom he is well pleased?
“Can he deny that he did not introduce me to the former acting Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje and other officials of the PDP-led Federal Government during the events leading to the 2011 general elections, especially as it relates to Ogun State and my role in the whole scenario? Can he deny that he openly praised me to high heavens at various public fora and rallies, including during the reception I organised for the former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye (JMK)? Why is it that it is now that he is calling me names and blaming the Presidency for condoning me? What offence have I committed?”
“I am not ashamed to say ex-President Obasanjo was my adopted political father and I was also his adopted political godson. We were partners. We planned and executed many things together. When it was convenient for him, I was his right hand.”
The PDP leader also claimed that Mr. Obasanjo’s statement about him was because he refused to move against President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Is it because I refused to allow him to hijack the party structure so that he can use it to achieve his invidious motive against President Jonathan? Isn’t there a sense in the assumption that the reason for this unwarranted attack is to portray the Jonathan administration in bad light and discredit its foot soldiers, particularly in the South West?
“Let me state from the outset that anyone who knows former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s antecedents would not be surprised at his calling me names. Ask Otunba Oyewole Fasawe. Ask Chief S.B. Oluwalogbon. Ask Chief Bode George. Ask Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. The list is endless.
“It is common knowledge in Ogun State and the South West that Obasanjo and I were inseparable until recently. These are facts that are in the public domain and cannot be denied. So, if he now turns round to be calling me names, then it should be clear to all that it is all politics. The truth is that I have not committed any offence and nobody has ever requested for my extradition. If there is anything to the contrary, I challenge Obasanjo and his cronies to produce it or forever remain silent,” he said.
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