Sunday, August 9, 2020 6:27 am
By Wale Adedayo
My first encounter with late Senator Buruji Kashamu should be about 2006. There was no Omo Ilu or his direct involvement in politics at the time. But Team OGD had information Kashamu was backing some influential Ijebu North Local Government big wigs ‘against’ Oga.
After OGD’s approval, it was my task as Ogun State PDP Director of Organisation to pay him a visit at his Ijebu Igbo home. He was very courteous upon my arrival. But he denied all the ‘facts’ about romancing the ‘opposition’, and instead renewed his ‘loyalty’ to Oga. “Emi ke? Mi o ba won si ni idi abosi o! Je ki Oga mo pe iro nla ni won pa mo mi o.”
The $1,000 he offered as fuel money back to Abeokuta became useful among the boys from Ijebu Igbo to Ijebu Ode. He was very pleasant throughout the meeting that took less than 10 minutes to conclude. I knew he was up to something. But my background teaches that not all ‘enemies’ are bad. This is a man we could manage was my conclusion, I dutifully reported back to my boss.
The second direct encounter was at his Best Western Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos in late 2009 after my arrival from a trip to the UK. As usual, he was courteous. But his posture had changed. He spoke more like a boss, who wanted partners to make things happen. Whether he was joking at the time or actually meant it, an accusation that son of man was dating his woman threw me off balance. Me ke? But the encounter got me a Toyota Camry car with an additional N500,000 after the young woman told him we were just friends.
But the last encounter with this man, who could throw serious tantrums and play like a baby was at his Ijebu Igbo home. It should be about 2012, after a meeting. There were about 8 of us in the living room, including the very notorious The Pango, Segun Showunmi. A session with some bottles of Hennessy almost became a brawl between him and The Pango, until son of man stepped in.
Kashamu was not different from any of us, by my reckoning. I know nothing about his background. But I always suspected he was not born into a rich family. He was barely literate. However, he wanted the best for anyone that ever crossed his path. It has little or nothing to do with doling out cash or other largesse. I just feel he has this penchant of wanting the less privileged to be better off.
Kashamu wanted a change in the society such that almost everybody would have whatever they desire in life. To me, if he had gone to a higher institution in his younger years, I have no doubt, he would have been an activist. But despite the zeal to change the society, which one could see inside of him, the way to do it in a sustained and organised manner was not just known to him.
We were never close despite the few encounters I had with him. But it was very clear to me at some point that despite his belief in those around him, many disappointed him later. He was a greatly wounded man, who did not know who to push for positions in Government so as to effect the needed change he wanted. He trusted many. He backed them to the hilt. But most of those he trusted betrayed him, either to his knowledge or behind him.
The man surely had his low side. Son of man has his too. But he touched the lives of many in Ogun State and beyond positively in ways they would have never imagined. He was God’s blessings to many families. It is my prayer that Kashamu will find peace in the grave during and after question time. May the many assistance to the needy he offered while on this side weigh in positively for him, when the questioning Angels arrive! Amin!!!