To members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Buruji Kashamu is “Authority”. The shout of “Authority” greets the air whenever he is introduced at political gatherings. But is he truly an authority?
Buruji joined the PDP with a huge goodwill from his people and the ‘Omo Ilu Foundation’. The foundation was a popular empowerment programme that was very popular in the Ijebu axis of Ogun State. Through the foundation, an assortments of cars, skills acquisition equipment and funds were distributed to support and improve the welfare of party members. Soon after joining the PDP in the state, Buruji’s very appealing and larger-than-life image became a threat and a source of insomnia to the then governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and his cohorts. Though Daniel was the lord and emperor of the party, Buruji confronted the governor head-on and wrestled the party from the grip of the almighty Daniel,culminating in the woeful loss of his (Daniel’s) anointed gubernatorial candidate at the polls and rendering the hitherto all-smiling and confident governor riled and peeved.
Buruji’s role in truncating the ambition of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Engr. Segun Oni as national secretary and South-West chairman of the party, respectively, is still fresh in the memory of party stalwarts. How he was able to unravel the political machines of political old horses and self-acclaimed godfathers remain a puzzle to many. However, it is evident that Buruji has rejuvenated the PDP and positioned himself as the de facto Earl of South West PDP and the Duke of Ogun politics. “Authority (Buruji) has revived the party and made it attractive to new comers, and we appreciate that PDP now is truly democratic in the South West,” a party member told this magazine at a recent PDP stakeholders meeting in Lagos.
Buruji is said to have spent well over N5billion to advance the cause of the needy and the party. His political associates say Buruji is not in politics to make money. He is a well-established entrepreneur with business tentacles across West Africa. Born May 19, 1948 in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun state, Prince Buruj Kashamu is the chairman of Kasmal Group of Companies Limited and Kasmal SAL in Republic of Benin. The group has subsidiaries with huge investments in hospitality, finance, oil and gas, haulage, real estate, tobacco manufacturing and stock trading, with well over 500 employees on its pay roll.
According to Buruji on his mission in politics, “when I look at all what God has done for me, I am always happy. Everyday, I receive over 300 text messages from different people praying for me. I always pray to God and I ask him to not bless me with the money that I will not be able to share with people. That is my prayer everyday. If I don’t spend money, I don’t get money, but when I give out, I receive from God. I have been doing it for over 30 years.” That, he says, is what he hopes to achieve in politics – to share his blessings with others.
Buruji’s growing prominence means different things to varying party chieftains. To some, a source of worry because of his gargantuan followership and influence in the party; to others, a welcome relief from the stranglehold of ill-meaning and self-aggrandizing political czars. Buruji’s antecedents and his whirlwind rise to relevance position him as the center of gravity, the Authority in South-West PDP. He is the Earl, the Duke, and the One! Buruji; the one to beat in the South-West caucus of the Peoples Democratic Party. The Authority.
culled from News of the People special