•What City People Found Out
It is no longer news that Ogun East Senator, Buruji Kashamu is running for the governorship of Ogun State. He is contesting with his running mate, Dr. Reuben Abati the former adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Both are to be jointly presented to the public on Monday 10th December, 2018 in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State. Both are running on the platform of OGUN PDP
When City People interviewed him a few months back, he revealed that he was yet to make up his mind on what he will be gunning for, whether he will be going for a 2nd term or governorship. Now, we can confirm to you that Senator Buruji Kashamu has intensified work on his governorship bid. And he says he is sure of winning. Don’t doubt him. Those who know him say he is an incurable optimist. He is a big player in Ogun politics. Just mention his name in political circle and you would be told how popular he is across the state. Call him the strongman of Ogun politics and you won’t be wrong at all.
He is a tough and rugged politician with a formidable politial structure that spreads across the state. Its called the Omo Ilu Foundation and it is a grassroot organisation that has deep roots at both the ward and local government levels.
That is the story of Ogun East Senator, Buruji Kashamu. He is one of the leaders of Ogun PDP and a big financier of the party across the South West. In less than 15 years of his joining active politics, Senator Kashamu has emerged the main issue in the politics of Ogun PDP.
It is either you are for him or against him. And he doesn’t really care if you are opposed to him. He will simply tell you what he thinks about any matter and he will stick by it. When he entered politics several years back, he was grossly underrated.
Many felt he was a political rookie who wouldn’t go far. But Senator Kashamu moved into Ogun PDP big time and put all he had into it. He funded the party. He funded his Omo Ilu Foundation, gave out cars and okadas. He bought grinding machines for people and empowered thousands of Ogun State people across the state. He jolted many by his grassroot politics. Before many other political players realised it, Buruji had entrenched himself with the grassroot. Over a period of 10 years, he empowered very many people at the grassroot and on a daily basis he was giving out cars. In Ijebu Igbo, where he comes from, he is hero worshipped. All the Okada riders are loyal to him. All the associations and artisans sing his praise, all because of his generosity. He is a generous giver and big spender.
That is why once he arrives in Ijebu-Igbo, his sprawling mansion becomes a Mecca of sorts. He has built in Ijebu Igbo a world class banquet hall and event centre where all the indigenes, especially elites, hold their events.
Not only that. Freely, he gives out kerosene and petrol when there is scarcity and frequently he also distributes rice and groundnut oil to thousands during festive periods. That was why when he stepped out to contest election into the Senate in 2015, he had a resounding victory. He has touched lives tremendously. Through his well-structured Omo Ilu Foundation, he constantly empowers members, all of which make them to be loyal to him. All these have given Buruji a cult followership, which has made him popular across the state. By 2011, Buruji had taken full control of the party structure. He began to call the shots and dictated who got what within the party. He fielded candidates into all the seats, from the House of Assembly to the Senate and House of Reps in 2011 and by 2015, he contested and won the senatorial elections.
Over the last 5 years, he has been at war with the party leaders who have tried to wrestle power from him. There was his agelong battle with the OGD group. He has since resolved with OGD and both are working together. He has also had a running battle with Hon. Ladi Adebutu, a House of Reps member.
They have all been locked in an epic battle for the control of the party. Buruji insists that his exco is the authentic exco of Ogun PDP but the other group (made up of Hon. Ladi Adebutu) have also remained resolute that its the Sikirulai led exco that is the authentic. Below is the Buruji Kashamu story.
As you read this, a lot is going on right now in Ijebu-Igbo, the hometown of Senator Buruji Kashamu, the lawmaker representing Ogun East Senatorial district at the National the Assembly. He is running for the governorship of Ogun State on the platform of PDP. And he is dead serious about it.
Today, Monday 10th December, 2018 the public presentation of Senator Buruji Kashamu and his running mate, Dr. Reuben Abati ex-President Goodluck Jonathan's senior aide will take place at the Omoilu Foundation Complex Grounds, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State.
Buruji who is the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP), in Ogun State, has declared that he has 70% chance of winning the election slated for March 2nd, 2019.
Kashamu made this known last week, in an interview with newsmen in Abuja. He said the coast is becoming clearer for him to be elected as the governor of Ogun State in 2019.
According to him the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), has substantially settled the issue of candidature with his recognition as the authentic gubernatorial candidate of PDP for the Ogun Guber race just as divine forces have already thrown confusion into the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress ( APC) in the state with attendant massive depletion of its membership almost on a daily basis now. Kashamu is still having a legal battle with the national leadership of his party over who flies the gubernatorial ticket between him and Oladipupo Adebutu. He further explained that his joint ticket with renowned journalist, Reuben Abati for the gubernatorial race is very formidable for any divided house either from APC, or Allied Peoples Movement ( APM) to defeat. ” Before now, our political structure under the platform of Omoilu has been there for the people of the state in terms of its impactfulness in the area of empowerment and responsiveness to their needs.
” Such pedigree of people-centred services is part of what we are taking into the race which Insha Allah, shall be won by us very easily more so, with the self-inflicted injuries APC members had inflicted on themselves. ” Though Governor Ibikunle Amosun can be rated to have performed above average in the state within the last seven years we are well prepared to perform far better than him across the various sectors if elected. ” Well thought out development – driven blueprint is already with us to get Ogun State completely transformed “, he said .
Who is Buruji Kashamu? For those who may not know, lets tell you a little about him. Until his foray into politics he was the Chairman/Chief Executive of Kasmal Group of Companies, an indigenous conglomerate with interests in hospitality, property, oil and gas, automobile and investment services. He was also the Chairman of the Group Kasmal SAL in Republic of Benin.
On the political front,his tentacles spread beyond his largely agrarian state of Ogun, especially when he was appointed as the Chairman, Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of the PDP in the South West zone of Nigeria, comprising the 6 states of Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. To his political associates, he is their emancipator and a fighter for justice. Still, others call him “Authority” – in reference to his many victories against political opponents.
He is a man of many parts. He means different things to different people. Some say he is controversial. Others say he is generous. Yet, some say he is genial and humble, yet firm; industrious and courageous. He is frank, almost to a fault, others would say. But, for those who have worked closely with him over the years, he is not just a boss but a leader, a father and a friend. He is down-to-earth. You would wonder when you see him throw banters and crack jokes with his aides, reeling in laughter. For him, like the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said, “a great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men”.
Senator Kashamu started his business life as a teenager and realizing his great flare for business, he took courses in Business Studies at Pitman College in the United Kingdom to prepare himself for the enormous task of business management and actualization. He later enrolled for an Executive Diploma in English Language at the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, where he bagged a Diploma in English. Now, he has his eyes set on taking up a degree in Law.
As a shrewd businessman, Senator Kashamu has about 76% share capital in the ultra-modern cotton ginnery in the Republic of Benin; the Government of the Republic of Benin and some private banks jointly owned the remaining 24% equity shares of the cotton factory.
Senator Kashamu has been involved in the business of importation and exportation of goods and commodities for over 40 years. He maintains such a high energy level and tight schedule that see him stay awake till late in the night, every day. He calls you up at anytime so much that you wonder if this man does not sleep! He is, in one word, a workaholic. Like he would always say, “I believe in action, not grammar”.
Senator Kashamu is also a philanthropist of note. It could be safely said that his philanthropic gestures smoothened his foray into politics. Those who know him say giving is his second nature.
In 2009, he floated the Omoilu Foundation, a non-profit organisation he set up to empower the needy and give hope to the hopeless. Little wonder when a friend asked him why he gives without hesitation, he says “the only thing I do not want to do is to disappoint my God. Let me also confess that the more I give, especially to the poor and needy, the more God blesses me. The prayers of the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless and the down-trodden have been my saving grace and staying power.”
Some have likened Senator Kashamu to the late businessman cum politician, Chief MKO Abiola. Not in terms of the financial war chest, colour and reach but his courage, charm and generosity. They say not since Abiola left the political scene they are yet to any individual took the political stage by storm – in a most audacious and dramatic manner.
Not many gave him a chance when he happened on the political scene in Ogun State. They asked how old he was in politics. Others would simply say “what does he know about politics?” “Where is he coming from?” When all those could not do, his detractors launched a campaign of calumny to cast aspersion on his person. They sought to haunt him with some of the trials he had had in his eventful life. This is in spite of his exoneration by the courts. But like one who does not mind the noise in the market place, Senator Kashamu has remained unbowed.
He has an uncommon native intelligence and a sharp memory. He also has his own unique approach to party politics and organisation. That is why many say he is not “your usual politician”. He believes that the welfare of the people is the whole essence of not just government but party politics.
He is a clear-headed and highly calculating individual. Senator Kashamu’s foray into politics began in 2009 when former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel and other chieftains of the PDP in Ogun State invited him to help mediate in the intra-party crisis that nearly crippled the government and party in the state.
He soon established a platform then known as “OGD OMO ILU” through which he sought to rally all the various contending interests. His intention was to get everybody to support the then Governor Gbenga Daniel-led government. But alas! The very elements that caused the initial feud he was meant to mediate in swung into action and things fell apart. Yet, he was able to establish that what was at the roots of the crisis was the indifference of the government of the day to the people’s welfare. Pronto, he helped many to set up their businesses. Others, he gave vehicles and cash, ranging from N200, 000 to N1m and above per person. The foundation soon metamorphosed into what many called the “Omoilu Movement” as it spread across the 20 local government areas in the state.
Again, on realising that no nation or people can be greater than the level of its human resource, Senator Kashamu also made education one of the cardinal objectives of the Omoilu Foundation. Now, besides empowering people from all walks of life with over 800 units of vehicles and 1,500 motorcycles, a good number of indigent youths are on the foundation’s scholarship in various private and public institutions across the country and beyond.
Senator Kashamu has shown that one does not need to hold public office before he can impact on the welfare of his people. With an unwavering belief in God and commitment to a noble cause that outlives mortality, he has demonstrated that in politics, as in life, the age of Methuselah has got nothing to do with the Wisdom of Solomon.
With his wide business exposure and an uncommon touch that confounds his admirers and critics alike, Senator Kashamu has arrived with a bang and there is no sign he is about to quit the stage anytime soon. Indeed, those who know him too well say with his advent on the political arena, the politics of Ogun, nay the Southwest would not remain the same again. They attribute this to the uncommon passion he brings to bear on anything he commits himself to.
He is a multi-linguist who speaks French, English and Yoruba fluently. A detribalised Nigerian and an employer of labour, Senator Kashamu has shown that he is not just a man destined for greatness and born to lead, but packaged for the moment. During the 28th March, 2015 National Assembly election, he contested to represent Ogun East Senatorial District in the Senate on the platform of the PDP. He won the election, defeating his closest rival with over 15, 000 votes. He is the highest elected official of the PDP in Ogun State being the only PDP senator from the state and one of the four PDP Senators from the South West geo-political zone.
On his legislative agenda, Kashamu says his experience has shown that there is the need to build stronger institutions in Nigeria. With stronger institutions, we would be able to combat corruption and other social vices in the country. “We cannot fight corruption and other socio, political and economic crimes without a stronger, incorruptible and unbiased law enforcement and judiciary in Nigeria. In this regard, my interest is to work towards proposing bills that will strengthen our various institutions. It is my belief that where we have stronger institutions, there will be respect for human rights, due process and accountability. When you have a system that works; it is good for the government and the governed,” Senator Kashamu said.
As at the last count, he has sponsored 4 bills which are at various stages of passage in the National Assembly. They include the Mental Health Bill, the FRSC Act Amendment Bill, the National Security Tax Fund Bill and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, Act Amendment Bill.
While the Mental Health Bill seeks to provide a frame work for the admission and treatment of persons with mental health conditions, the FRSC Act Amendment Bill is meant to protect the sanctity of our Constitution by ensuring proper delineation of duties and responsibilities between federal and state agencies on traffic issues for optimal performance and effective service delivery.
Perhaps drawing inspiration from the success of the Security Tax Fund in some states and abroad, the National Security Tax Fund Bill seeks to devise new ways through which the security agencies can access additional funds in order to make them more efficient and responsive to today’s security challenges.
The intention of the NESREA Act Amendment Bill is to rejig the enabling Act setting up the agency and make it come to terms with present realities as they relate to the environment.
Besides this, in his nearly three years at the Senate, Kashamu has attracted over 30 projects to the 9 local government areas that make up Ogun East Senatorial District, including skill acquisition centre, roads, building and equipping of schools, among others.