Buruji Kashamu, the late ex-senator from Ogun state, once said the Obasanjo administration gave the evidence that cleared him of drug-related charges in the United Kingdom.
Kashamu, whose death on Saturday awakened the sour relationship he had with Olusegun Obasanjo, said the former president directed security agencies to give the evidence that “exonerated” him of the charges.
For many years, he was wanted in the US where he had been indicted for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin.
In his condolence message to Dapo Abiodun, Ogun state governor, Obasanjo said the late Kashamu “used the manoeuvre of law and politics to escape justice” but that he could not evade his death.
The late senator presented a different version of the story in October 2014 when he tackled Obasanjo over his statement that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should do away with him.
Then as the chairman of the party’s organisation and mobilisation committee for south-west, the former senator accused Obasanjo of attempting to blackmail him after “using” him against some of his perceived enemies.
He accused the former president of hypocrisy, recalling the moments both of them shared when they were associates before things fell apart.
A statement he issued at the time read: “It should be noted that as against his earlier assertion that I am ‘a wanted habitual criminal…for whom extradition has been requested by the US Government…’, he has now described me ‘as an indicted drug baron wanted in America’.
“The indubitable fact of history that Baba Obasanjo has not told the world is that it was during his first tenure as President that he and former Beninese President Matthew Kerekou directed the relevant security agencies to give truthful evidence that exonerated me.
“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 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.”
Kashamu also said while Obasanjo, “in his usual holier-than-thou manner,” claimed he could not work with him because of his “principles, honour and integrity… 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?” he further asked.
“I can go on and on! Despite his pretensions, 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.”
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