Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, came under a fresh attack from the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the South-west, Chief Buruji Kashamu, who described him as a hypocrite.
Kashamu spoke in response to a letter purported written to the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, by Obasanjo alleging that the leadership of the party in the South-west is now in the hand of a drug baron.
Obasanjo, also in the purported letter, dated January 7, 2014, notified Tukur of his withdrawal from the PDP, hinging his decision on the imposition of Kashamu, who he described as a criminal wanted abroad, on the party as its South-west zonal leader.
“In his usual hypocritical manner, he (Obasanjo) talked about not being able to work with me because of his principles and decency,” Kashamu said yesterday.
The Chairman of the Organisation and Mobilisation Committee for the PDP in the South-west alleged that Obasanjo was behind the detention, late last year, of the former militant leader and founder of the Niger-Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPUF), in Benin Republic.
“I am even told that just like he did to Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, he has even gone as far as asking the Beninoise government to frame me up anytime I visit the country,” the PDP South-west leader said.
The altercation between the former President and Kashamu came in the wake of the letter by Obasanjo to President Goodluck Jonathan which attracted a reply in which Jonathan dismissed the former president’s claims as lies, and a letter from Obasanjo’s daughter, Iyabo, in which she said her father did not own Nigeria.
The South-west leader, Kashamu, in a statement, yesterday, accused Obasanjo of engaging in a “wicked campaign of calumny and blackmail because of his perceived loss of political relevance in Ogun State and the South West”.
Kashamu said: “He called me ‘ a wanted habitual criminal…for whom extradition has been requested by the US Government…’
Ordinarily, I would not have responded to his latest cocktail of lies having sufficiently addressed the same issue in my response to his letter to the President only a few weeks ago. However, since he has shown that he is too embittered to be assuaged by that response, I am constrained to do another.”
He continued: “First, it is now clear to all and sundry that why 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.
“In his 18-page satanic letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, I was the other person – indeed the only one (after the President) – that he singled out for his venomous attack. But if the truth be told, I am not the architect of whatever political woes that he is suffering today. Like David, I am just a tool in the hands of the almighty Allah Subhana wa tala. I am too small to confront a Goliath like him but for the almighty Allah who is the supporter of the suppressed and oppressed.
“In his usual hypocritical manner, he talked about not being able to work with me because of his principles and decency. But the questions Nigerians should ask him are: where were these principles when he used me to fight Gbenga Daniel? Where was his self-righteousness when I took the party structure from Daniel and handed it to Obasanjo? Where was his decency when he brought Gen. Adetunji Olurin to me and asked that I should roll my structure behind his governorship ambition? Where was his morality when he introduced me to South West PDP leaders like Engr. Segun Oni, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd) and a host of others?
“Where was his discipline when he hosted me severally in his Hilltop mansion, taking me into his bedroom and innermost recesses? Where was his decency when he accepted donations from me to his church and other concerns? Where was his gumption 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? I can go on and on!
“Let me state from the outset that contrary to Obasanjo’s claim, I am not the leader of the party in the South-west. I am just one of the party’s foot soldiers in the zone and it is in that capacity that I am made the chairman of the Organisation and Mobilisation Committee for the party in the zone. It is indeed preposterous for anyone to call me the leader of the party in a zone that parades political juggernauts like Chief Olabode George, Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, Senator Lekan Balogun, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Senator Teslim Folarin, Alhaji Yekeen Adeojo, Senator Clement Awoyelu, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, Senator Bode Olajumoke and a host of others. All these leaders know me and can attest to the fact that I defer to them even when we disagree a times.”
Speaking on his alleged indictment in the United States, he explained that there was no request for his extradition for any offence whatsoever. “I recall that in my earlier response to him, I have challenged him to produce the request for extradition, if there is any. Indeed, contrary to his lies that I am wanted in the United States for some offences, the purported and over-flogged case is that of mistaken identity, for which I had been tried and discharged after my innocence was established by the British courts. I am already in court in the US asking that the earlier accusation (NOT CONVICTION) against me be quashed. That process is ongoing,” the zonal leader stated.
Kashamu went on: “As to the Nigerian leg of the issue, as I have often that stated, I was the one that took the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to court in 2009/2010 to ask for a judicial pronouncement on the powers of the AGF under the Extradition Act when I got information that some of my political adversaries were pressurising the AGF to allegedly cause my extradition on the basis of the mistaken identity case referred to above.
“In fact, in an 11-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the Office of AGF and dated 16th September, 2010, it stated that, “No request for the extradition of the Applicant was made on the 20th day of July, 2010 or on any date to the Respondent or to any Federal Agency by the United States Government or any other country…The Respondent or any of its officers or any agency of the Federal Government has not received any request from any country for the extradition of the Applicant for any offence whatsoever.”
“Simply put, the AGF said nobody has asked that I be surrendered for any offence. Although the Federal High Court agreed with him, it went on to order that I could not be any fresh round of victimisation, harassment and intimidation on the basis of the same alleged offence that I had been exonerated of by the British courts. This was what the AGF quarrelled with and decided to appeal. The appellate court upheld his appeal, saying the action was “premature”.
Even though my detractors are wont to twist obvious facts to suit their invidious motives, I wish to once again avail the general public of some documents that are the result of painstaking and thorough investigations by credible international organisations, such as the Interpol and the German Embassy.
“The Interpol in a report dated 4th March, 2008, and signed by ACP Haruna H. Mshelia, stated inter alia “That all our letters written to Interpol London, Lyon, Washington and Cotonou relating to enquiries on criminal/drug/conviction records of the suspect were returned negative to the effect that the suspect was never convicted of such offence in their territory.”
“Following my application for visa, the German Embassy also wrote that it was “informed by the U.S. authorities at the end of August that its search warrant has been cancelled. As a consequence the equivalent search warrant of Interpol has also been withdrawn with immediate effect.” So with which warrant of arrest is the U.S supposed to ask for my extradition, and for which offence?
“The British court, as per Lord Justice Pill and Mr. Justice Bell of the High Court of Justice, Queen Bench Division, said the apprehending authorities suppressed exculpatory evidence and discharged me in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Human Rights Act, 1998. The District Judge Tim Workman in his 2003 judgment found from the evidence adduced during the three-year trial that I was not the person sought by the U.S. authorities and it was a case of mistaken identity. The U.S. Judge Norgle, in whose court the indictment was filed, also held that I am not a fugitive from justice. I ask again: on what basis will the US authorities justifiably request for my extradition?
“Furthermore, District Judge Workman also held that, “As a result of the evidence that the Defence has placed before me and the evidence which the Government has tendered in rebuttal, I find the following facts: that the defendant has a brother, who bears a striking resemblance to that of his. I am satisfied that the defendant’s brother was one of the co-conspirators…
“I am however satisfied that the overwhelming evidence here is such that the identification evidence, already tenuous, has now been so undermined as to make it incredible and valueless. In those circumstances, there is then no prima facie case against the defendant and I propose to discharge him.”
“Now, these are the reports and decisions of credible and well-established organisations. Yet, some wicked souls take delight in blackmailing and maligning me, all in the name of politics.
“When I was working with ex-Governor Gbenga Daniel and empowering PDP members under his administration with over 700 vehicles, grants and working tools, I was not called names. When I started working with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, fighting his political battles and mobilising for him, I was not a criminal. But now that he feels he has lost out in the political equation, he is raking up worn-out tales.
“But pray, what is my offence when all I am doing, in conjunction with other like minds, is to champion a new order whereby our people would be free from the vice-grip of some self-styled political leaders who sit in the comfort of their homes to determine our collective fate, with its attendant consequences on the development and growth of the South West zone. They do not like a bold and courageous challenge to their outdated and warped style of leadership. Instead of coming home to work for the growth of the party, they have elected to mass around the Presidency where they go from one office to the other, blackmailing me and others in order to protect their “pot of soup”.
Alleging that Obasanjo was behind Asari-Dokubo’s recent travails in Benin Republic, Kashamu said: “I am even told that just like he did to Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, he has even gone as far as asking the Beninoise government to frame me up anytime I visit the country.”
The PDP zonal leader added: “Unknown to him, I am inadvertently being made popular by his acts even when I am not into any leadership or popularity contest with anyone. Indeed, my resolve is made stronger the more Obasanjo and his associates seek to rubbish me, for as the French poet Michel de Montaigne said, “We endeavour that men should speak of us, than how and what they speak, and it sufficeth us that our name run in men’s mouths, in what manner soever…”
“For me, the almighty Allah Subhana wa tala is the giver and taker of life. He is my shepherd and shield. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. I hold true to the inimitable words of Albert Einstein that “Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolised.” That is why I remain immovable and unshakable in my firm commitment to the principles I believe in, no matter the odds.
“My mission is to mobilise the mass of the people, return the party to them and involve them in decision-making process in the overall interest of the people of the South West geo-political zone. And no amount of blackmail, campaign of calumny and intimidation will stop me, for as my people would say, “Ibaje eniyan ko da ise Oluwa duro” (meaning “man’s slandering of his fellow man doesn’t stop God’s work in one’s life”)”.