Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Ogun State in the last general election, Senator Buruji Kashamu, has said he was delighted at the Buhari administration’s efforts to bring succour to ordinary Nigerians by freeing local governments from governors who castrated them.
Kashamu, who spoke in an interview, said President Muhammadu Buhari means well for the country.
He said: “It is an open secret in Nigeria that governors had castrated the local governments by depriving them access to their statutory funds. This has turned into a serious economic strangulation at the grassroots which prompted me into making the declaration during my electioneering that I will never touch local government funds if elected as governor.
“I salute President Buhari for having the rare political courage and patriotism to save the Nigerian masses through the NFIU monitoring of local government funds. I strongly believe that sooner than later the people will feel the impact of this initiative.
Kashamu called on all Nigerians to support Buhari to make a success of his effort to correct the infrastructure deficit in the country.
“The President must be supported by all Nigerians for his giant strides in the area of correcting the infrastructure deficit. If you consider what he is doing at the airports together with the road construction in different parts of the country, it becomes obvious that he means well for the nation,” he said.
Kashamu said he had not abandoned the PDP but noted that there must be an end to campaign for governance to thrive.
“After an election, any genuine political gladiator must partner with the government for the development of the society and the advancement of its people. That is why I am in politics. It is about my people’s welfare and certainly not out of want of what to do,” Kashamu said.
On what he does now, he said: “A lot has been happening. As you are aware, I am an entrepreneur and an employer of labour. I have been in business for decades before I ventured into active politics about a decade ago. So, after my stint at the Senate, I simply returned to my businesses of cotton ginnery, hospitality, real estate and entertainment.”
Kashamu said he went into the election expecting victory, adding that “Nobody will reasonably commit so much into a cause like I did with the intention of losing. My participation in the election was more of a struggle against impunity, injustice and the overbearing attitude of some of our political actors. I hate injustice with a passion.
“I can give anything to fight injustice. We put in our best. But, the protracted court case had adverse effect on our supporters and mobilisation efforts. We thank God that the Rule of Law prevailed and we were on the ballot against the expectations of the lawbreakers.”
Kashamu said the fight against corruption deserved the support of all if Nigeria must survive, adding that it must not be politicised or trivialised.
“But, it cannot be overstated that corruption knows no tribe, religion or race; it is also not limited to any political party. We are all culpable. We appoint our relatives and favour people who are ready to grovel at our feet. We do not reward merit. Everywhere you turn, mediocrity is the order of the day.
“The only way to fight corruption is to take personal responsibility, live and lead by example, and I think this President is excellently doing so. More importantly, I think this present administration has made us to realize the need to do away with the extravagance of the past. Now, we must work and live within our means. Let’s not just preach, let’s practice what we preach. We can earn a decent living by identifying and taking on opportunities around us. Before now, many Nigerians see political office as an opportunity to become billionaires.
“Others simply become billionaires overnight by working with government. Some politicians spend their time cutting deals and sponsoring people to look for government tenders. All of these must stop if we are desirous of a new and prosperous Nigeria. And this cannot be done by the government alone. We, as citizens and stakeholders, must gird our loins and lend our full support to the fight against corruption.
Another way to fight corruption is to end impunity. When we talk about corruption, the tendency is for us to think only in terms of financial corruption. But, when political leaders go against the laws of the land as if no one can hold them accountable, it is corruption. It is happening in my party, the PDP, with respect to the party structure in Ogun State. We have to be able to end impunity and say it does not matter who you are, where you are from and who is your godfather.”