It is no doubt that many are still struggling to get over the death of Prince Buruji Kashamu, whose death came as a surprise to many last weeks. The whole of Ogun State and some other states in the south-west and few across other Nigeria. Buruji Kashamu in his lifetime was known as a fearless politician who never took a bow for any Godfather in politics, he was a known philanthropist who held the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in Ogun State for many years, he funded the party and ensured he was the powerful man and the money bag of the party which led the party to have more than two factions. So, Buruji will be missed not by his friends and families alone but also his political rivals, especially in Ogun State.
Although Kashamu touched many lives, but he has political rivals who don’t see eye to eye until his death. He will be missed greatly by both parties.
Members of Omoilu Foundation will miss Buruji. Omoilu Foundation was founded by him, it is a non-profit, private sector-led organisation founded in March 2009 to tackle the high rate of unemployment and poverty in Nigeria. In 2010, the Foundation was incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as a non-governmental organisation. The mission of OMOILU was to engender wealth creation by empowering Nigerians from all walks of life without any form of discrimination. This it does by empowering one person per day. OMOILU (a Yoruba word for a son of the soil) has remained true to its avowed commitment of empowering one person per day, and a couple of years down the line over 1,800 people, including men and women, and the youth has been uplifted. Many have been helped to set up businesses ranging from trading, hairdressing, vulcanising, grinding mill. Others became transporters as they were given vehicles and cash, ranging from N200, 000 to N1m per person.
OMOILU Foundation also made education one of its cardinal objectives. Now, besides empowering people from all walks of life with over 600 units of vehicles and 1,000 motorcycles, a good number of indigent youths are on the foundation’s scholarship in various private and public institutions across the country and beyond. Omoilu Foundation was used to win the heart of many people especially followers. No doubt, members of this foundation will miss the Ijebu Prince greatly.
One of the early tributes to Prince Buruji Kashamu was from his best friend, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, they were both members of the 8th National Assembly, they were not just a colleague but they became inseparable from the days when they were both Senators. Hardly will Buruji host any party and Ben Bruce will not attend, no matter how private it was. They have both become family to their families, Ben Bruce is one of those who will miss the Ijebu Prince dearly.
He was also close to some other senators in the 8th National Assembly, the likes of Senator Sam Daddy, Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Olujimi was also close to Buruji. Serving Senator Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah was also one of Buruji’s close pals.
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose was close to Buruji. They both have a political rival in common, former President Olusegun Obasanjo. This explains why he was quick to attack the former president on Twitter, tackling him for writing such a condolence letter to his friend, Fayose has never hidden the fact that he never liked Obasanjo.
Ali Modu Sherif is Borno State’s first Governor to serve two consecutive terms, Buruji and Ali Modu are both PDP strong men and they were close friends. Billionaire business magnate, Jimoh Ibrahim was also a close friend of Buruji Kashamu. Barrister Oloyede was Kashamu’s personal attorney, they grew from representing him legally to being close pals, he will also miss him.
Dr Remi Bakare once aspired to contest for Ogun State Governor under ACN, before the ticket was given to Senator Ibikunle Amosun. He has since then distanced himself from the party activities and moved on to PDP. During the last election, he was the Director-General of the Kashamu/Abati Campaign Organization which made him to be more close to Kashamu and his families and their relationship dates way back. It was revealed that Kashamu on his sick bed told Remi Bakare his plans to hand over the leadership of the party to Former Governor Gbenga Daniel.
Dr Reuben Abati was Kashamu’s running mate in the last election, they became close and inseparable. Abati took time to express himself and also wrote an epistle tribute last week, it was obvious he would miss Kashamu. When Kashamu and Prince Goyega Nasir Isiaka, a two time gubernatorial candidate fell apart before the 2019 elections, Kashamu was set to tackle the Yewa Prince by presenting Segun Seriki as the gubernatorial candidate of PDP, he instructed Segun Seriki to declare his aspiration to contest in the gubernatorial race in Yewa, which came as a rude shock to many of the political family, since then Segun Seriki has remained one of his friends and loyalist.
Otunba Ola Kukoyi was a close associate of Kashamu, he will miss him too.
Honourable Segun Adekoya was a member of the House of Representatives, who represented Ijebu North/East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency of Ogun State, those who close to him can tell that the politician has never hidden his loyalty to Kashamu anywhere, he has always called himself a Kashamu man. Hidden they share a strong bond that he won’t be able to forget so soon.
Spokesperson of Atiku Campaign Organization, Segun Showunmi was very close to Kashamu.
The likes of Senator Olamilekan Yayi, Chief Adenike, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, Yinka Ayefele, Salawa Abeni are also close friends of Late Buruji Kashamu.
Anyone who is familiar with the Ogun State politics would remember the war between two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Buruji Kashamu. The war was about who controls the party structure of the state. While it lasted, both refused to see eye-to-eye and efforts to settle the fight by many stakeholders proved abortive, as both vowed not to surrender. But before the 2019 general elections, the warring factions finally settled, This was made possible at a closed-door meeting, which took place in Abuja. The former Ogun State Governor, Kashamu and Senator Ben Bruce had met with the sole aim of resolving the issues that had rocked the Ogun State chapter of the party for years. The reason for the reconciliation, it was also gathered, was not unconnected with their plans to pull resources to defeat Governor Ibikunle Amosun, it was then both OGD and Kashamu embraced themselves as brothers. After Kashamu’s death, it was revealed that he had plans to hand over the state’s Peoples Democratic Party structure to Otunba Gbenga Daniel a few days before he died.
Daniel was quoted to have said this during a condolence visit to the family of the deceased in Ijebu-Igbo on Tuesday. Daniel’s revelation was contained in a statement titled: ‘We should not play politics with Kashamu’s death – OGD’, signed by his media aide, Steve Oliyide, in Abeokuta. Daniel is one of those who will also miss the Ijebu Prince.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is the biggest political rival of Late Buruji Kashamu. They have been at loggerheads for many years, after Kashamu, hijacked the party structure from OBJ. According to Kashamu the real reason OBJ, as Obasanjo is not comfortable with him is not unconnected with the fact that he has taken control of PDP in Ogun State and South-West in general from him. He, however, stated that his reaction to OBJ’s verbal assault on him was simply to clear the drug allegations levelled against him by OBJ.
Kashamu has said he has been at war with former President Olusegun Obasanjo due to their clash of interests, He said while some members of the PDP were fighting for the interest of the South-West in the party, the ex-President was seeking personal political fulfilment. He further said, when Obasanjo was controlling the whole of South-West (PDP); that was what happened (marginalisation) and that is why we have been fighting since those days. When the news of Kashamu’s death broke, OBJ sent his condolence to his family which didn’t go well with a lot of people as he was mocking him, by saying he could run from the law but was unable to beat death.
Recall that Lado Faction and Omo Ilu Group of the PDP were fighting over the candidatures for all the elective positions in the state.
Kashamu found his match in Ladi Adebutu in the quest to monetize the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Ogun State. Kashamu has been one of the biggest financiers of the party since he returned from the United States of America.
The situation has since changed when Adebutu joined the PDP. Kashamu alleged that the PDP Chairman in the state, Bayo Dayo has collected a whopping sum of N100 million from his arch-rival and has sold the party structure to Adebutu.
Sen Kashamu who was once the arrowhead of PDP in Ogun State and determined who got what had practically become a favourite ‘son’ of Chief Kesington Adebutu, Ladi Adebutu’s father. The political relationship between Buruji and Adebutu was said to have aided the latter’s House of Representatives seat in the last dispensation.
The marriage, however, went sour during Ladi Adebutu’s governorship ambition in Ogun State because Buruji was fingered as the main character who crushed Ladi’s dream to become governor in 2019. It was later revealed that the spoiler game allegedly played by Buruji, by funding some forces in the All Progressives Congress, APC, actually cost Adebutu close to N1 billion naira, but the latest face-off was that Buruji, who once established Western Lotto, was reported to have landed Chief Kesington Adebutu in EFCC dragnet by writing a petition on tax evasion allegedly committed by Adebutu’s Premier Lotto. Unknown to many, the dirty fight actually started over a year ago when Buruji dragged Premier Lotto and few others to court over who was entitled to the franchise of Ghana games in Nigeria. In the litigation, Buruji pleaded with the court to prevail on Premier Lotto and others to pay him some billions of naira as damages.
Further investigation has it that sizeable numbers of lotto operators in Nigeria had been maintaining a link with the Ghana-based betting company long before Western Lotto owned by Buruji joined the business. It was revealed that Buruji, in his bid to control the lotto market, went ahead of others to officially obtain the franchise of the Ghana games.
Sources said he was obliged after several million reportedly exchanged hands. But when Adebutu and few others who are known key players in the market would not budge despite Buruji’s underground moves, the billionaire senator was then forced to come up with Plan B. Further findings revealed that Ghana games which were established sometime in 1962 was the most sought-after by stakers ahead of others around.
Kashamu, last year, had dragged over 26 lotto operators to court, asking them to pay him royalties as the sole franchise owner of Ghana games in Nigeria.
Before the 2019 elections, it was revealed that the faction of a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole has merged forces with Ladi Adebutu. Chief Kesinton Adebutu’s son, Ladi Adebutu, had governorship ambition under the PDP in the state in 2019. With the merger, the formidable team was set to slug it out with the faction of Senator Kashamu Buruji, who is said to have formed a parallel exco of the party in the state.
Prior to the merger, the three groups had held their congresses on May 11, 2016 at different venues.
While that of Bankole reportedly held their congress at the Ake Palace Ground, Abeokuta, Adebutu’s group was said to have held theirs at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta. Kashamu’s group was said to have held their congress at the PDP secretariat at Kobape Road, opposite NNPC Mega Station, Kuto, Abeokuta.
Dimeji Bankole decided to work with the faction of Ladi Adebutu to tackle Kashamu Buruji’s faction in the state ahead of the 2019 election. He then insisted that his group must be given one of the key zonal positions of the party zoned to Ogun. Two-term federal lawmaker, Hon Jelili Kayode Amusan, who was the PDP senatorial candidate for Ogun central in 2019 is also another political rival of Buruji Kasamu, their rift started when Kashamu moved to dump Hon. Kayode Amusan as the group’s gubernatorial candidate for the party in the 2015 elections.
Eng. Bayo Dayo was a close ally to Kashamu, their relationship dated back years before the crises in PDP started leading to Bayo Dayo being suspended as the Ogun State PDP Chairman. Buruji alleged that Bayo Dayo was into anti-party activities, the crises led into two factions of the party and the matter has not been resolved till date.