My father was deeply misunderstood – Ogun politician, Buruji Kashamu’s son

Rasheed Kashamu is the son of the late politician and businessman, Senator Buruji Kashamu, who represented Ogun East in the eighth Senate. In this interview with DAUD OLATUNJI, the young Kashamu discusses his political experiences and journey into Ogun politics

What is your name and when were you born?

I am Rasheed Kashamu. I was born in Banjul, Gambia on the 7th of November, 1996.

Kindly walk us through your educational background so far?

I had my primary education at Zenith Preparatory School, Lagos, after which I attended Greensprings Schools, Lekki, Lagos State, where I sat for my IGCSE.

Thereafter, I proceeded to Brunel University, London, where I had a B.Sc in International Business and Management. I also got a Master of Science degree in International Finance and Investment at the University of Surrey.

Talk briefly about your work experience.

I had my one-year compulsory National Youth Service Corps at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria and worked at BWC Group of Companies with interests in real estate, hospitality and the automobile industry.

Would you consider yourself a seasoned and well-experienced politician?

I have been with my late dad all the while and showed some interest in his political activities both when he ran for the Senate (Ogun East Senatorial District) and governorship of Ogun state.

Something must have kindled your interest to venture into politics. What motivated you?

Politics affords one the opportunity and platform to impact lives and leave a legacy.

Do you have role models with whom you share the same political views and philosophies?

I have a few of them on the international and local scene. They include Warren Buffet, Barack Obama, Dr. Bukola Saraki and of course, my late dad.

Your dad was a great politician before he died, will you want to tow his line in your style of politics?

Well, I have started and by God’s grace, I intend to give effective and quality representation to the good people of Ijebu North Constituency 1.

To what extent did you know your father as a politician?

Like I said earlier, I have always been in the background, providing strategic support for his political and philanthropic activities.

How easy or tough was it for you to get the ticket?

I am humbled by the fact that I was returned unopposed as the House of Assembly candidate of our party Peoples Democratic Party. I can only thank God, the delegates, leaders, elders and members of our party for the rare honour done to my late father and the rare privilege given to me. I do not take it for granted.

Why did you settle for the House of Assembly?

Given that it is my first attempt at seeking an elective position, I think it is better to start from there.

Do you have a manifesto and would you mind sharing the ideas therein?

Yes, I do have a manifesto. As you know, the job of a lawmaker is to make laws, give effective representation to his constituents and perform oversight functions. So, as a youth and would-be-representative of the people of Ijebu North Constituency 1, I would do all I can to ensure that our teeming youths are gainfully employed and that they channel their energies to productive ventures by looking out for opportunities and facilitating their placements. I would also ensure that our farmers are assisted with farm implements and soft loans to encourage them to go into commercial agriculture. I also intend to see how we can make legislation that will give our traditional rulers and community leaders specific roles to play in the security of lives and properties in our various communities.

How expensive was the race for you?

It was not so expensive given the good works that my late father had done as a great philanthropist, a grassroots politician and a man of the people.

What did you miss in your late dad?

I missed and still miss his great energy, the act of selflessness towards others and never say die attitude towards work and whatever he believes in.

Did you know your dad was controversial, how did you receive some knocks given to your dad while alive?

My dad was the first to admit that he was controversial. But, I would tell you that he was deeply misunderstood by many. Behind the huge, steely resolve and frame was a man with a soft heart; indeed a heart of gold!

How close were you to your dad?

We were very close. After my first degree, he insisted that I return from London to be part of all he was doing here in Nigeria. Then, he allowed me to go back to do my Master’s degree after which I returned.

Where were you at the last moment of your dad, what did he tell you?

I was always going to see him at the hospital and we had a lot of conversations that are not meant for the public.

 What was the last discussion you had with your dad?

Kindly permit me to keep that to myself. It is not meant for public consumption.

How can you describe your dad?

He was a leader of men, a true father, a family man, philanthropist and politician who was largely misunderstood.

What are those things many people did not know about your dad?

He was a lovely and compassionate man. He was passionate about anything he believed in and could go to any length to achieve anything he wanted or committed to.

What should your constituents be expecting from you?

They should expect my full commitment to work in their best interest through proactive and quality legislation, effective representation and responsive oversight functions.

What is your ultimate ambition?

My ultimate ambition is to be an influential leader of note; both in the private and public sectors.

Why the choice of PDP and not APC?

As you know too well, I have a background. My late father played his politics as a PDP man all through his lifetime. And if I am riding on his legacy, it is only natural that I choose the PDP.

What is your relationship with Oladipupo Adebutu?

He is a leader in the Ogun state chapter of the PDP, of which I am a member.

PDP is factionalised, which faction do you belong to?

I do not know of factions within the Ogun State PDP. It is more of media creation. After the settlement brokered by Senator Bukola Saraki-led PDP National Reconciliation and Strategy Committee, I know of one PDP structure in Ogun state under the leadership of Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele. I believe in the unity of the party within the state as one unit and not involved in any faction.

What is your view about money politics?

Perhaps I need a clarification on this concept. But suffice it to say there is nowhere that politics is not played with money. The issue is, to what end do you spend the money? Is it for opinion polls, policy formulation, adverts, lobbying or to buy votes?

While your father was alive, there were court cases including NDLEA case abroad, are they genuine cases?

I think this question is a bit unfair to me. It is like asking me to account for what I don’t know. But having said that, I know that in any civilised society when an allegation is levelled against anyone, the courts are there to either convict or exculpate such a person. All I know is that until my father’s death, he was never convicted of any crime by any court in Nigeria or abroad. He lived and died as a free citizen.

Your father has political enemies while alive, how do you plan to survive their hatred now that you are in politics?

I do not know of “political enemies” that my father had while alive. He may have had political differences with some persons during his lifetime; I do not think that meant political enemies. Besides, to err is human and to forgive is divine. As adherents of either Islam or the Christian faith, we are thought to forgive. So, if my late father offended anyone in the course of his political activities, I should expect that it would have ended with his death. It would be ungodly for anyone to attempt to take it out on me or any of my siblings in the name of politics or whatever. Fortunately, for me, I have enjoyed unimaginable love and support since I ventured into politics because of the good and uncommon deeds of my late father. For instance, that was what accounted for my being returned as the candidate of my party unopposed.

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