The Senator-elect of Ogun East Senatorial District, Buruji Kashamu, has expressed shock at Bola Tinubu’s “unwarranted attacks” against his person.
Mr. Kashamu, in a statement Tuesday, said Mr. Tinubu’s reaction to his innocuous congratulatory message to him is “unbecoming of someone of his stature and calibre.”
“First, I must say that I doubt if the statement was approved by him,” said Mr. Kashamu, a chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP.
“However, if it was, I must state that I am taken aback by the unwarranted attacks against me as if we were still campaigning.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, had unleashed a missile against Mr. Kashamu for describing him as his role model.
“Kashamu may be prodigal but he is no political son of Tinubu,” Mr. Tinubu had said in a statement signed by Sunday Dare, his Media Adviser.
“Kashamu’s political lineage tracks to people like Bode George and President (Goodluck) Jonathan. He should direct his encomiums to these men who are his true role models. They need his contrived affections more than Tinubu does.”
Mr. Tinubu was responding to an earlier statement by Mr. Kashamu where he paid a rare tribute to the APC leader describing him as the architect of modern Nigeria and a man who made history by leading an opposition party to grab power at the centre.
“Truth be told, men like you are made of sterner stuff and are rare to come by in every generation. Little wonder you are called the Asiwaju and Jagaban of Borgu. I doff my hat,” Mr. Kashamu wrote in an open letter addressed to Mr. Tinubu.
“I hope that in spite of our membership of different political platforms, we would be able to collaborate for the upliftment of Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria as a whole.”
Mr. Tinubu had urged Mr. Kashamu to “stop this cynical fawning,” adding that the days of false adulation and fake praise singing were gone in Nigerian politics.
Mr. Tinubu also accused the Ogun State Senator-elect of “buying his victory” at the polls, and dared him to travel to the U.S. as a Nigerian Senator.
Mr. Kashamu faced drug related charges in the U.S. before he fled to the U.K. where repeated efforts by American officials to extradite him failed, before he returned to Nigeria.
The incoming law maker and 14 other were, in 1998, charged by a U.S. federal grand jury for their alleged involvement in an international conspiracy to smuggle heroin into the U.S.
On Mr. Tinubu accusing him of buying his victory at the March 28th polls, Mr. Kashamu said that the appropriate forum to prove that is the election petitions tribunal and not the pages of newspapers.
“On the US case, I wish to state for the umpteenth time that the United States, as the bastion of democracy and the rule of law, would not lend itself to any form of abuse of the fundamental human rights of an innocent soul, especially one that has been arrested, tried, and freed by its most trusted ally – the United Kingdom.
“I am not running from any trial. All I have asked is for relevant parties to follow due process – if they believe that I yet have a case to answer.”
‘Obasanjo still my father’
Last week, Mr. Kashamu had sent an SOS to the National Human Rights Commission accusing former President Olusegun Obasanjo of instigating U.S. security agencies to apprehend him and ship him to the States for prosecution.
There have been no love lost between Mr. Kashamu and Mr. Obasanjo, a major reason the latter left the PDP.
Last December, Mr. Kashamu obtained a court injunction barring the publishing of the former president’s autobiography, My Watch.
According to Mr. Kashamu, the book described him as a fugitive wanted for drug offences in the U.S.
However, the same court lifted the injunction order last week.
In his statement Tuesday, Mr. Kashamu said he still holds the ex-president in high esteem and asked for his forgiveness.
“Baba Obasanjo remains my father and leader, just as I am his son and follower,” Mr. Kashamu said.
“It is on record that no Nigerian politician has taken former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the cleaners even as a sitting president like Asiwaju Tinubu did. Yet, Chief Obasanjo forgave him.
“As a true party man, I campaigned vigorously for my party and its candidates. Now, the elections are over, and as a true sportsman, I thought I should congratulate those who won.
“For me, it is high time politicians and leaders rose above petty issues and raise the bar in constitutional democracy. We should not just be democrats in words but also in deeds. We should play politics without bitterness.”