…the case of Buruji Kashamu is a very interesting one, because it underscores Obasanjo’s penchant for hypocrisy and vainglorious tendencies. Even after a man’s demise, he has to steal the spotlight. Obasanjo was a direct political beneficiary of Kashamu’s Omo Ilu movement in Ogun State, until their falling out. But, that should not come as a surprise, because that is the Obasanjo modus operandi.


Regarding Obasanjo’s latest faux pas, it is of no surprise to some of us who are aware of his capabilities. This piece is primarily for the sake of posterity and to enlighten a generation that may not be aware of Obasanjo’s antecedents.

Although I am not much of a traditionalist, I do respect some Yoruba traditions, particularly respecting elders. However, one aspect I have always found problematic is the conferring of respect on elders who do not seem to deserve respect.

Olusegun Obasanjo may mean different things to different people, but to me he is a megalomaniac who suffers from a grave messiahnic complex.

Prior to Nigeria’s misadventure with our semblance of democracy in 1999, Obasanjo was in the mix of the political machinations.

It must be emphatically acknowledged that the events of 1993 birthed 1999. Following the free and fair election of June 12, 1993 and the subsequent illegal annulment by Ibrahim Babangida, a protracted struggle ensued, which culminated in the ouster of the military.

Unfortunately, Africa lost one of its illustrious sons and the president-elect of Nigeria, Chief M.K.O Abiola on July 7, 1998. This was a death with huge implications for the future of Nigeria. The immediate reaction of the military junta was to avert the potential disintegration of the country.

Enter Obasanjo! The military establishment, which was mainly controlled by Northern political kingmakers, recruited Obasanjo to douse the tension in the country. This was a deliberate attempt to pacify the Yoruba in particular, because Abiola and Obasanjo were both Yoruba from Abeokuta, and had a long history dating back to their high school days.

However, in typical Obasanjo fashion, he never entertained the thought of Abiola being the ‘messiah’ Nigeria needed, and implied that he was more befitting of such a messianic role. For someone like Obasanjo, it is either him or no one else; if he is not the one playing the ‘divine’ role of saviour or taking the glory for perceived public acts of good, then it cannot be anyone else.

As a matter of fact, the 1999 election was already predetermined in favour of Obasanjo; the handpicked candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It must be noted that the Yoruba generally did not vote for Obasanjo in the 1999 presidential election. Apart from not having any political clout, he was seen as a military stooge and traitor. Nonetheless, Obasanjo was sworn-in as president on May 29, 1999 (an anomalous date which would later be redressed).

Due to his style of governance, Obasanjo faced imminent impeachment by the National Assembly in 2002. Notably, the prominent block that spearheaded his political survival was the Yoruba. Senators and governors of the now defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) put their political and personal differences with Obasanjo aside and rallied support for him at the National Assembly. People like Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye worked assiduously from within the National Assembly to actualise anti-impeachment plans.

Alas, Obasanjo was saved and he survived the impeachment imbroglio. Unbeknownst to them, Obasanjo was going to pay them back the best way he knew how to – through betrayal!

One of my issues with Obasanjo is his ignoble role in the gradual extirpation of Omoluabi politics in Western Nigeria – the Yorubaland.

Since his ‘anointed’ emergence in 1999, Obasanjo had felt slighted that as president of Nigeria, his political party (PDP) did not control the Western states, particularly his home State of Ogun. The 2003 general elections gave Obasanjo the perfect opportunity to fix this supposed political albatross. After all, charity begins at home! The implications of Obasanjo’s short-sightedness have been far-reaching and reprehensible.

Ideally, people like Obasanjo – who contributed in large measure to Nigeria’s current predicament – shouldn’t be making braggadocious statements at will. People of his ilk should be at least remorseful for the ignominious role they have played in Nigeria’s quandary.


I will cite Ogun State as an example because I was privy to some events of 2003. I was at the residence of the former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, when he left to have a courtesy breakfast with Obasanjo before the election. Knowing how principled Chief Osoba is, he wouldn’t join the PDP under any circumstance, so the arrangement was for a seeming alliance that would have the electorate vote PDP in the presidential election and vote AD in the gubernatorial elections, respectively.

It was a complicated arrangement which turned out to be a well-orchestrated subterfuge intended to sack all AD governors and decimate the political structure of the progressives in Western Nigeria. There were effectively no elections in the Western States – it was a military coup. Obasanjo used military force to enthrone his PDP minions across the Western States, except in Lagos, where Tinubu literally fought fire with fire!

I returned to Lagos from Ogun State, specifically to Ikoyi, and remember what I witnessed at the Eti-Osa Local Government office on Glover Road. Love or loathe Tinubu, he withstood the firepower of Obasanjo in 2003 and became the celebrated lone survivor.

Following the 2003 elections, the AD lost prominent members of the National Assembly from Western Nigeria. At the gubernatorial level, people like Gbenga Daniel of the PDP emerged victorious against Chief Olusegun Osoba in Ogun State. Osun State witnessed Chief Adebisi Akande losing out to Olagunsoye Oyinlola. In Oyo State, Lam Adesina lost to Rashid Ladoja, which paved the way for a person like Alao-Akala to later emerge as governor of the State. In Ondo State, Chief Adebayo Adefarati lost to Olusegun Agagu and this later paved the way for Olusegun Mimiko to emerge as governor. A character like Ayo Fayose emerged victorious against Niyi Adebayo in Ekiti State. Incidentally, Obasanjo and Fayose are still at loggerheads till date, and the latter once publicly asked for a refund for the donation he made as governor to Obasanjo’s presidential library. That’s Obasanjo’s legacy.

Undoubtedly, 2003 saw the emergence of some despicable and unscrupulous fellows that pervaded the political sphere. Overnight, nonentities with questionable backgrounds became prominent politicos and kingmakers, and morality in politics was being eroded.

An unfortunate consequence of the era signalled the death knell to morality politics and the entrenchment of moneybag politics in the Western region. Generally, people stopped questioning the source of wealth of potential political office holders. Also, those with questionable backgrounds who somehow made it politically became the inspiration to a segment of society, who were previously frowned upon. This sociopolitical manifestation sent the wrong signals to the populace and we are still suffering the consequences of this amorality today.

Obasanjo had the ambition of controlling the political structure of the Western region at any cost, even if it came with dire consequences. Furthermore, it has always been Obasanjo’s wish to be revered in the Western region like Chief Obafemi Awolowo was and nationally honoured like Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola (GCFR).

Specifically pertaining to June 12, Obasanjo was the main political beneficiary of the demise of Nigeria’s President-elect M.K.O Abiola, and he tried everything within his means to suppress that date and sought to erase Abiola from the annals of history.

As fate would have it, the icon Obasanjo refused to honour during his eight-year presidential tenure, was honoured by a president of Northern origin – Muhammadu Buhari. The May 29 date chosen by Obasanjo as Democracy Day has been overridden by June 12 – now a national holiday that will haunt Obasanjo for the rest of his life!

Following the death of Esho Jinadu aka Buruji Kashamu, there have been condemnations about Obasanjo’s alleged ‘condolence’ statement. Some people have chosen to give Obasanjo the benefit of doubt and labelled the statement fake news; probably because they can’t fathom why he spoke ill of the dead.

Regardless, the case of Buruji Kashamu is a very interesting one, because it underscores Obasanjo’s penchant for hypocrisy and vainglorious tendencies. Even after a man’s demise, he has to steal the spotlight. Obasanjo was a direct political beneficiary of Kashamu’s Omo Ilu movement in Ogun State, until their falling out. But, that should not come as a surprise, because that is the Obasanjo modus operandi.

According to Obasanjo, Kashamu evaded the law during his lifetime but could not evade death, which is rather ironic, because Obasanjo himself is yet to face justice for the alleged squandering of “US$16 Billion” on power projects.

Ideally, people like Obasanjo – who contributed in large measure to Nigeria’s current predicament – shouldn’t be making braggadocious statements at will. People of his ilk should be at least remorseful for the ignominious role they have played in Nigeria’s quandary.

m.b.o.owolowo@gmail.com