Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, having faced criticism following the controversial condolence message he sent to Governor Dapo Abiodun on the demise of Buruji Kashamu, has responded.
Recall that Buruji Kashamu, a former senator and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, died on Saturday, August 8, 2020, due to complications arising from the novel coronavirus.
The press had reported that Mr Obasanjo, in the condolence message, said late Mr Kashamu, who was wanted for criminal offences in Nigeria and the U.S. used the political and judicial instruments to evade justice, but could not use same in death.
Obasanjo’s letter read in part:
“Senator Esho Jinadu (Buruji Kashmu) in his lifetime used the manoeuvre of law and politics to escape from facing justice on alleged criminal offence in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.”
“But no legal, political, cultural, social or even medical manoeuvre could stop the cold hands of death when the Creator of all of us decides that the time is up.
“May Allah forgive his sin and accept his soul into Aljanah, and may God grant his family and friends fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” he added.
Several Nigerians and politicians attacked Obasanjo for his comments and urged him to respect the dead.
Former governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose, in a tweet said:
“He (Obasanjo) should also remember that his own end will come too and nobody knows how the end will be.
“Can Obasanjo say in good conscience that he did not at some point collaborate with Kashamu and most of the things he (Kashamu) did politically were not with his collaboration?”
Bola Tinubu, an APC Chieftain, in his condolence message said people should be kind to the dead since everyman would die someday.
However, Obasanjo in an interview with Premium Times, said it was okay for people to mourn every death but that the living, including himself, must draw the right lessons from the lives of those who have died; in order to make progress.
“When I was growing up, in our community, when anyone known with bad character died, we usually only mourn him and bury him. No eulogy. No praise-singing.
“There is an English saying that urges us never to talk ill of the dead. But in this case, we are not talking ill of the dead. We are only drawing lessons from the life and history of the dead. I am not gloating over his death. It is sad for anyone to die and we must mourn him.
“But we must learn from such a passage. There will be bad lessons. There will be good lessons. But we should not just be praise-singing or eulogising the dead, especially when there is no need to do so.
“We should not cover up bad histories and conducts so that the right lessons can be learnt.”
Obasanjo, responding to more questions, added:
“As you know, I say my mind as truthfully as I know them and in line with my convictions. People are free to say whatever they want about my comment. I don’t begrudge people for holding opinions on whatever I say or do.
“Let people say whatever they like when I transit. Now that I am alive, am I not being abused? Whenever I transit, let people say whatever they know or think about me. Let them say it as it is. What my maker thinks of me is what matters most.”