Unveilling the real Buruji Kashamu, the man Nigerians elected as a senator + His very dirty past

If there is one wealthy Nigerian who has been enmeshed in several controversies about his personality and wealth, one name that strikes the mind is that of multi-billionaire businessman and People’s Democratic’s Party’s chief mobilizer in South West of Nigeria, Prince Buruji Kashamu, Chairman, Organisation and Mobilisation Committee of PDP, South West
His controversies immediately begin from his origin, then to his politics, business concerns and wealth. While he claims to be a Nigerian from Ijebu Igbo, Kashamu is also said to lay claims to being from a royal family in Benin Republic. So confusing was his identity that a United States District Court in Chicago had during a celebrated drug trial mentioned “a man alleged to be Buruji Kashamu, a Beninoise multi-millionaire, resident in Nigeria.” Prince-Buruji-Kashamu
Generally described as a man of many names, having been associated with several nomenclatures, in social circle he is known as Esho Jinadu or Esho Ekun omo Jinadu literally meaning ‘Esho the tiger, son of Jinadu’, this common name with which musicians hail and sing the praises of Buruji Kashamu at every social function he attends. And those who know the man confirms that he relishes his being praised sang with these names, and he cannot hold back the great urge to dance and spend large amount of money when he is so being praised. As popular fuji musician, Kwam1 once sang, ‘Oruko to ba wu ‘ni la ‘nje leyin odi’ (You bear whatever name you like when you are outside your town) other popular nomenclatures by which he has been so known are: Ola Shamu, Wole Adeosun, Kasmal, Bukas Kasmal, Nacoil, Seicb Benin. Esho Jinadu appears as a variation of Jinadu Esho a popular socialite of olden days made more popular through praise singing by late Sakara maestro; Yusuf Olatunji. Wole Adeosun too seems like an edited version of Oluwole Adeosun, an Egba chieftain and notable banker, who was a former Managing Director of First Bank Plc and later Minister for Communications.
An Ijebu Igbo native, who spoke to National Infinity, told the fairy tale of Buruji Kashamu’s wealth. Said he, “if about fifty Dangote trailers loaded with Buruji’s money got missing, the man Buruji will not feel the loss because of his capacious wealth”. Indications to that kind of thought was the huge sum he claimed to have invested in politicking in Ogun State, for instance, he had openly and publicly confirmed that he spent about N3billion to join forces with former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the fight to seize the political machinery of Ogun State PDP from the reins of the then Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. And already, as if to further show off his wealth, Buruji Kashamu says his budget for the upcoming governorship election in Ekiti State is N1bn and same for Osun State in a desperate bid to expand his political kingdom and help the PDP capture those states.
His entry into the political landscape was like a ravaging fire in the harmattan. He stormed the Ogun State PDP sometime in the year 2005 during the reign of Olusegun Obasanjo as president, using the vehicle of his ‘Omo Ilu Foundation’ with a flurry and backed by a huge goodwill from his people in Ijebu Igbo. The foundation was an empowerment programme that was very popular in the Ijebu axis of Ogun State. Through the ‘Omo Ilu Foundation’, he gave empowerment opportunities to his people in the form of cars, skills acquisition equipment and funds to support and improve the welfare of party members.
Described as a very close friend of Adebayo Alao-Akala, whom he assisted financially during his quest for the Oyo State governorship in 2007, Alao-Akala, it was who introduced him to Governor Daniel in Ogun State. Governor Daniel was said to have embraced him having heard so much about him and his Omo-Ilu Foundation’s populist programme in Ijebu-Igbo axis. Their amalgamation led to OGD-Omo-Ilu, a marriage of their political interests. During his short lived romance with Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Buruji Kashamu promised the embattled governor, who was then embroiled in a political fiasco with a group of legislators in the state house of assembly known as G-15, led by the then speaker, Hon. Tunji Egbetokun, that his mediation would end the crisis. Rather than mediate, Kashamu, moved in and built his own followers in the house. Buruji’s entry into the PDP in Ogun State coupled with his very appealing and larger-than-life image was soon to become a threat to Otunba Gbenga Daniel and his political camp. By the time he came out to square it up with OGD, he has built a strong followership in Ogun PDP. Though Daniel, then in his second term as Governor 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 Daniel’s anointed gubernatorial aspirant at the primaries and rendering the hitherto all-smiling and confident Governor totally irrelevant in the scheme of things in the State politics.
Buruji boasts that the enormous money he expended on Ogun PDP so bewildered Gbenga Daniel because as a sitting governor, he never imagined anybody spending so much, to fight him politically that he lost total relevance in Ogun PDP after serving as a two term Governor on its platform thereby forcing a sitting governor to scamper out of PDP to float a now moribund Peoples Party of Nigeria. Kashamu is also the unseen hand that is fuelling the simmering crisis in Ogun Labour Party. He allegedly gave a factional exco of the party $50,000 and a lawyer to spur them into battle in order to make the party uncomfortable for Gbenga Daniel.
Through his uncompromising style of politcking, he claims the glory for truncating the tenure of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Engr. Segun Oni, both former governors of Ekiti and Osun States on the platform of the party, as National Secretary and South-West Zonal Chairman of the party, respectively. He was able to cripple the political machineries of political old horses and self-acclaimed godfathers and positioned himself as the de facto Earl of South West PDP and the Duke of Ogun politics.
Today, his uncompromising style of politics has pitched him in a headlong battle with former President Olusegun Obasanjo with whom he claimed to have once aligned to put former Governor Gbenga Daniel in political disarray.
The messy fight which had turned into mudslinging and name calling between Obasanjo and Kashamu came to the fore recently when Kashamu was appointed leader of the PDP in the southwest and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees rejected the appointment and threatened to leave PDP, saying that Kashamu is an habitual criminal and a wanted man in the United States on a drug trafficking related case. Obasanjo had backed up his claims with documents in an open letter to President Goodluck and the leadership of the PDP. The angry elder statesman frowned at Kashamu’s elevation as a party leader in the South-West geopolitical zone vowing not to participate in party functions so far Kashamu remains the party’s leader in South West.
Kashamu Buruji’s growing influence in Ogun PDP and national politics means different things to different party chieftains. To some, a source of worry because of his large and dedicated throng of supporters and influence in the party which had continued to whittle down their political powers; to others, a welcome relief from the strong hold of self-aggrandizing political godfathers
Born on May 19, 1948 in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, he began life in Ebute Metta area of Mainland Lagos as a bus conductor. His sudden wealth attracted the attention of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in 1995, when the then chairman of the agency; Major Gen. Musa Bamaiyi personally led his men to seal off his Jinson Motors on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, during a clampdown on some suspected car dealers on allegations of money laundering and hard drugs related offences. Kashamu allegedly escaped miraculously from NDLEA detention cell and fled to Benin Republic where he relocated his businesses and invested heavily in what was described as the largest Cotton Ginnery Company in West Africa in which he allegedly conned the Beniniose government of its investments.
Of all the controversies surrounding the person of Buruji Kashamu, the greatest of all seems to be the unending controversies surrounding his identity and which ultimately revolves around his alleged large scale involvement in drug related activities and of which the United States Government is hell bent on having him extradited to face long term drug offences charges which dated back to the 90s and of which 11 of Buruji’s co-conspirators including some American citizens who served as his drug couriers have been jailed and have served various prison terms.
The Chicago Court identified Kashamu as a drug smuggling king pin who is currently in Nigeria.
Declaring him an escapee from the law in the US, the Court stated “since Kashamu has retained a Chicago law firm to represent him in this matter, and the only information the Court has regarding his whereabouts indicates that he may be somewhere in Nigeria, the Court can safely infer that Kashamu is aware of the charges against him, and is purposefully absenting himself from the United States to avoid arrest and arraignment on charges. This Court therefore considers Kashamu a fugitive.”
The Court papers indicate that Kashamu is the kingpin of an international smuggling ring dealing in narcotics. According to U.S government’s evidence tabled before the court, as far back as 1992, “Kashamu was the head of this smuggling organization.”
Disclosing the modus operandi, the court papers state that Kashamu would normally invite his smuggling crew composed of different nationalities around the world to spend time with him in Republic of Benin, where he directed affairs including financing, and facilitating the smuggling of heroin into the United States.
Sometime in 1998, Buruji Kashamu was caught in London by the British Police over money-laundering and drug-trafficking offences. He was detained at London’s Heathrow Airport with large amount of hard currency including six passports of different nationalities in his possession.
Through a standard name check, the British Customs authorities found out that there was an outstanding US warrant for his arrest on narcotics trafficking charges, his street drug trafficking name at that time was Kasmal.
He was therefore detained, prosecuted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and investigations conducted by National Infinity also show that upon his return to Nigeria, after serving out a four-year jail term in a British prison, he was operating his business using Kasmal International Limited with various allegations of shady deals to his credit.
In continuous response to the massive allegations of being a drug king pin involved in large scale drug trafficking business, Buruji Kashamu had continued to publicly make it known to whoever cared to listen that he was not the one being sought after by the United States Government, but that the alleged crime was committed by his brother; Eso Jinadu who is now late. Kashamu, in his defence, also claims that he had been cleared by a British Court and produced what purports to be the decision of a Magistrate Court in England. Kashamu also referred to his recent issuance of German visa sequel to his clearance by international security agencies as a further proof that he is not a fugitive and that the U.S may have been looking for a wrong person.
According to information available to National Infinity from those in the know about Buruji Kashamu’s politics, he was said to have spent well over N5billion to advance the cause of the needy and the PDP in his home state Ogun.
Because of his enormous wealth, one of his political associates told National Infinity Buruji is not in politics to make money. He is a well-established entrepreneur with business tentacles across West Africa but his type of billionaire, doesn’t get published in Forbes because of the nature of his business.
Noted another source, the cleanest business Buruji Kashamu has ever done is politics, even as bad as he is playing it now.

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