Former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo has reacted to backlash that followed his condolence message on the death of former Lawmaker and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, Buruji Kashamu.
Recall that the former President in his statement noted that Kashumu who wanted in the US for alleged drug offences was able to escape justice but could not evade death.
“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,” Obasanjo said.
The condolence message, however, did not go down well with Nigerians who attacked Obasanjo for his statement and act of disrespect for the dead.
Recall that the former Governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose said, “He (Obasanjo) should also remember that his own end will come too and nobody knows how the end will be.”
Mr Fayose who took to Twitter to post his comment said the former president was not a saint, and should, therefore, stop behaving like one.
“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?”
“I thought that our culture is that every fight ends once one of the parties die?” Joe Abah, a policy analyst, said of Mr Obasanjo’s comment.
Obasanjo, in his response to critics told Premium Times, noted that it is right for people to mourn the dead, but people that are alive must draw the right lessons from the lives of those who have died.
The former President stated that it is only in doing this that societies can 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,” he said.
Obasanjo was told that his critics are already saying that he will be mourned in the manner he did Mr Kashamu.
The former president responded, “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,” he said.
Kashamu died on Lagos State on Saturday from Coronavirus complications.