Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has responded to criticisms over his condolence message to Late Senator, Buruji Kashamu, who died from COVID-19 complications at a Lagos hospital on last Saturday.
Kashamu, before his death, was wanted in the United States for alleged drug offences but was able to escape extradition from Nigeria to the US to face his trial.
KanyiDaily recalls that in a sarcastic condolence message, Obasanjo said Kashamu’s life was a lesson for all because in his lifetime he manoeuvred the law and politics to evade justice over his alleged criimes, but couldn’t escape death.
His comments did not go down well with a lot of Nigerians who were quick to condemn the former president for ‘disrespecting’ the dead.
Former Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose asked Obasanjo to stop acting like “a saint”, as Nigerians will watch out for his own end. He added that “He (Obasanjo) should also remember that his own end will come too and nobody knows how the end will be.”
National leader of the All progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu also expressed displeasure stating that “people should be kind to the dead since everyman would die someday.”
Responding to the criticisms while speaking with Premium Times on Sunday, Obasanjo said that though it was normal to mourn the dead, the living should learn to draw lessons from the lives they led.
The former president added that no society could develop by pretending that bad men were good just because they died.
“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 said he did not care what people would say about him or how people would mourn him when he die because he had said the right thing about Kashamu.
“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.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Obasanjo had vowed to continue raising alarm when things are not right in the country, saying he would not act like a coward for fear of death.