The Chairman of the Organisation and Mobilisation Committee for the South West Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Buruji Kashamu, has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of launching a campaign of calumny and blackmail against him.
Mr. Kashamu made the accusation on Monday in Abeokuta, in reaction to a statement by Mr. Obasanjo, who urged the leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to do away with figures such as Mr. Kashamu, who is wanted in the United States on drugs-related charges.
In his response, Mr. Kashamu said he will “defeat” the former president at all cost, and dismissed Mr. Obasanjo’s statement as “yet another cocktail of lies served with his legendary deceit”.
“The reason I have become the target of Obasanjo’s wicked campaign of calumny and blackmail is his perceived loss of political relevance in Ogun State and the South West. He is against the second term ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan and he had wanted to use the erstwhile National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the former National Auditor, Bode Mustapha and the ex-National Vice-Chairman, Segun Oni, to thwart Mr. President’s re-election,” Mr. Kashamu said.
Mr. Kashamu is accused of drugs trafficking by the U.S. authorities, an allegation he denies. A U.S. Court recently rejected Mr. Kashamu’s appeal for the charges to be dismissed.
In an earlier statement in 2013, Mr. Obasanjo had criticised the PDP leadership for retaining Mr. Kashamu as a leader of the party in the southwest, the former president’s region.
In the latest statement, Mr. Obasanjo said Mr. Kashamu remains one of the reasons he has refused to resume an active role in the ruling PDP.
Mr. Kashamu dismissed the former president’s “diatribe”, saying what Mr. Obasanjo has refused to tell the world is that during his first tenure as president, Mr. Obasanjo and a former Beninoise President, Matthew Kerekou, directed relevant security agencies to give evidence that exonerated him (Kashamu) of drug charges.
“That was why the Interpol in Nigeria and Benin Republic as well as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) came to the London courts in 2000/2001 to give evidence during my incarceration and trial. That also explained why when I returned I became his associate,” he said.
“He used me to prosecute his battle against former Governor Gbenga Daniel. When it was time to field candidates for the 2011 general elections, he brought his stooge, Gen. Adetunji Olurin, and asked me to roll the party structure behind his anointed candidate.
“In his usual holier-than-thou manner, he talked about not being able to work with me because of his principles, honour and integrity. But the questions Nigerians should ask him are: where were his principles when he used to take me into the inner recesses of his abode?
“Where was his honour when he served me breakfast, lunch and dinner in his Hilltop mansion? Where was his integrity when he mounted the rostrum to sing my praises, praying for me as he did in May 2010 during a reception for the former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye? I can go on and on,” he said.
Mr. Kashamu denied he was wanted in the United States.
“Even if that were the case, there are processes and procedures to follow, and they are not subject to anyone’s whims and caprices, not even Obasanjo’s because no man is God,” he said.
“As I have continually stated, I have never in stepped my feet into the U.S neither do I have any business there. I was wrongly accused, arrested, tried and freed over the same indictment. Indeed, my arrest, detention and trial were at its behest and the U.S Authorities fully participated in the whole extradition proceedings.
“If after a full trial on the basis of the same indictment, the British courts exonerated me, which other indictment is Obasanjo talking about? What happens to the general principle of International Law on double-jeopardy? It is commonsensical that even without any judicial pronouncement the indictment is technically dead.
“I cannot be tried by the same parties over the same issues again. While I would do a more detailed response to Obasanjo’s relentless tirades against me in due course; it is high time he retraced his misguided steps. He should borrow a leaf from a time–tested Yoruba proverb which says those who dance naked with glee in the night would have themselves exposed to shame when the morning comes.
“Although he is seen as Goliath, I would triumph over him the same way the almighty Allah Subhana wa tala used me in rescuing the party from his vice-grip in Ogun State, in particular and the South West, in general,” Mr. Kashamu emphasised.