Report by Wale Elegbede
Once upon a time, they were jolly friends and their relationship was the envy of many.
Though they are not blood brothers, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose and Senator Buruji Kashamu (Ogun East), struck a knitted cord in the political space.
They did things in common and deliberately watched each other’s back against perceived or imagined enemies; and they made no pretense about it. An epic proof of their joint victory is the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State, which Fayose won in an overwhelming manner by defeating the then incumbent, Dr Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC). For that battle to be won, the duo struck a common bond, strategised together and they got an uncommon result at the June 21, 2014 poll.
After a successful outing in Ekiti, the two new political leaders in the South-West Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), moved from the zonal level to the national level. They became the power brokers for the party in the South West. One of the common enemies at the receiving end of the Kashamu/ Fayose onslaught when the going was good was former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 2015, when the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) laid siege at Kashamu’s Lekki, Lagos residence for days to effect his arrest over an alleged drug related offence in the United States, Fayose, like a true friend, came out to defend his ally, and accused Obasanjo of being “the brain behind the attempted kidnap of a great Nigerian by a foreign government.”
While the honeymoon lasted, they whipped those against their choice with words, and even castigated elders of the party in the South-West for opposing their choice.
To the consternation of many, however, the tales of made-inheaven friendship between the duo went to the dustbin of history less than two years after it was consummated.
A political school of thought averred that both fought and won many battles together but they couldn’t conquer war of interest. Expectedly, the no love lost development set tongues wagging on what could have been responsible for the breakup.
Interestingly, the same vigor used in embracing and defending themselves was used in fighting dirty against each other especially in the heat of the leadership crisis rocking the PDP, where both former allies pitched their tents in different camps.
According to those privy to undercurrents between both leaders, the crisis between Fayose and Kashamu had been on and off but they kept it away from the public glare because they knew the implication of opening the roof over their heads.
After periods of disagreements between the friends turned foes, the focal point of their divergence became President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration.
Whilst Fayose makes no pretence about his disdain for the president’s style of governance as well as the ruling party, the APC, the reverse is the case for Kashamu, who believes that regardless of being a PDP senator, his soft spot for the opposition party is also not in doubt.
In one instance last year, while reacting to the freezing of his Zenith Bank account by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Fayose accused President Buhari’s wife, Aisha, of also being indicted in the infamous Halliburton scandal. Fayose’s account with the bank was frozen by the EFCC after the anti-graft agency claimed that it traced N1.3 billion to it from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) under former President Goodluck Jonathan
The governor told newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital that “even the President cannot claim to be an angel. The estate he built in Abuja is known to us. His wife was indicted over the Halliburton Scandal.
When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the President’s wife was mentioned as having wired $170,000 to Jefferson. Her name was on page 25 of the sentencing of Jefferson.”
But urging his ‘friend’ to stop chasing shadows and leave the President’s wife out of his travails, Kashamu, in a statement, likened Fayose’s attempt to link Mrs. Buhari to the Halliburton scandal as a needless distraction and an amateurish shadow-boxing. “Fayose must stop chasing shadows and address the allegations against him.
It is preposterous that he suddenly remembered that someone was involved in the Halliburton scandal at exactly the same time that he is being investigated over the funds he allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA),” he said.
After a moment of respite, the once envied friends returned to the trenches and this time, their aides, supporters and analysts joined the fray. Following up on his previous predictions on what would characterise the New Year, Fayose in his 22 predictions for 2017, made damning comments about the incumbent government.
His words: “APC-led Federal Government will still not have solution to the economic problems of the country as the economy will move from recession to depression.”
The Ekiti governor followed up his predictions with regular statements to almost oppose every policy or decision of the Buhariadministration.
But speaking in his Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State home during a reception ceremony organised to receive some leaders and members of the APC from Ogun West, who defected to the PDP, Kashamu differed with his ex-ally, insisting that, “we cannot be playing politics with everything and anything, all year round.
“I am not unmindful of the antics of a Governor in the South West who claims to have taken on the toga of the “leader or voice of the opposition”. Let us not be deceived; he is not.
“As you probably would have known, he is only trying to pull the wool over our eyes in order to cover up his tracks. He seeks to use his rabid attacks on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government as a cover when called to account for his deeds in and out of office.
“Let all our elders and elders, and true sons and daughters in Yorubaland ignore his doomsday predictions and come together in unity and encourage the efforts of this government that are geared towards rebuilding our country.
That way, we will be in a position to get the best for our people in the scheme of things.
“Let us not allow the arrogance and indiscretions of one man rob us of the good that should come to Yorubaland. While I reckon that we may not all agree with the policies of the government all of the time and also appreciate the fact that, as a people, we are faced with some challenges, the way to go is not to seek to pull down the roof on our heads,” Kashamu said.
But making a reaction from Kashamu’s literal support for the opposition party while still holding an office in the PDP, a former Chief Press Secretary to former governor Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Wale Adedayo, threw jabs at the lawmaker, saying that Kashamu is not a good example of what the opposition should be. In a post on social media, Adedayo, who is also a member of the APC, said: “Kashamu delights in throwing jabs at ANY politician, who dares to criticise Buhari or APC, especially if the person has a national stature.
He even loves President Muhammadu Buhari more than the ruling party. “If you are an opposition figure – an elected one for that matter, and you regularly praise the party in power, it shows you do not wish the PDP well.
The summary is that you want the APC to continue in power. The beauty of democracy is that you look at what the ruling party is not doing right, point these/this out, and canvass support for the PDP, which you can claim could do it better.
“Nigeria needs more Fayoses. We do not need a see no evil, hear no evil Kashamu. For whatever reason Kashamu is praising Buhari and APC, it is not good for the PDP to which he belongs, because on the long run, the goal of the PDP is to return to power in 2019. And if Kashamu continues along his current line, then whichever faction the Ijebu Igbo politician belongs to is dead as a credible political party already,” Adedayo said.
But in a swift reaction, the factional State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Bolaji Adeniji, took the ex-CPS to the cleaners, stating that Kashamu has behaved as a statesman who thinks of the future of the nation rather than the next election.
“If Buhari fails and Nigeria sinks, what nation shall the PDP inherit and govern? Shall we in the name of politics frustrate and push Mr. President till he dumps the nation into the pit of economic depression? “The Ijebu Igbo senator remains an avowed member of the PDP and has never disguised so.
Unlike his traducers that have in the past few years swam in and out of the PDP and are even in the tick of negotiations to yet- another- party, Kashamu has been rooted in the PDP, lavishing his personal fortunes on it,” he said. Expanding further, Kashamu’s media adviser, Austin Oniyokor, said: “ I challenge Mr. Adedayo to produce ANY publication where Senator Kashamu took on “ANY politician of national stature over Buhari or APC” other than Fayose.
It is common knowledge that both Senator Kashamu and Governor Fayose hold divergent views on issues. “ Quite unfortunately, people like Mr. Adedayo wants Senator Kashamu to always think and act like a typical politician. The bad news, however, is: Senator Kashamu is an unusual politician!
His style and ways are quite different from many a politicians.” As it stands, the increased mudslinging and personal attacks thrown at each other by both PDP gladiators indicate that all is still not well between them, but in the murky waters of politics, there is no permanent friend or enemy but permanent interest.
Credits : Wale Elegbede