NDLEA what? Our BIG daddy in Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu is free and back to ‘life’! He is back to granting interviews and just had one with Leke Baiyewu. In the interview he explained what he does before politics, how he is coping at the Senate and how he is contented with what God has blessed him with. Very simple and straight to the answer interview. No shade, nothing, just peace!!
What kind of politician are you?
I will say that I am a grass-roots politician and people describe me as a compassionate politician. But I think I am just a tool in the hands of the almighty God. There are also those who will say I am a controversial politician, but that is because I don’t condone injustice. I fight for any cause that I believe in even if I have to fight alone. I hate the politics of deceit and lies.
You reportedly invested heavily in the Peoples Democratic Party before contesting any elective position?
Well, that is because I don’t do anything in half measures. Whatever I set out to do, I do it with the whole of my spirit, soul and body. It is gratifying that those of you in the media recognised the fact that I had spent so much on the PDP. However, the facts are there to prove that no single individual in the PDP, either in the past or present, has committed his personal money and resources into building the PDP in the South-West as I have done. By the grace of God, I was already a successful entrepreneur and businessman before I joined politics.
People say a rich man and party financier like you have no business contesting National Assembly election.
I am not a rich man; I am just someone whom the almighty God has been kind to and I am contented with what he has done for me. I decided to contest the National Assembly election because I want to serve my people. That was why my people voted for me massively. I will forever be grateful to them. That is why I have remained a grass-roots man. I go home almost every two weeks to meet and interact with my people.
Some people are saying that you have been compensated for all you’ve done for PDP by getting a senatorial seat on its platform.
I did not join politics or the PDP in anticipation of any compensation. All I have done are borne out of a personal conviction to liberate our people who were suppressed and short-changed for so long. My idea of politics is that it must ensure fair and equitable distribution of opportunities for all. I am opposed to a privileged few cornering our common wealth and sharing it among themselves at the detriment of the masses. This is the crux of the problem I have with most of our political elite, especially those in the South-West.
How has your experience been as a senator?
It has been a worthwhile experience. This is my first elective position, and I must say that I am still learning the ropes. As an entrepreneur and someone coming from the private sector, I am used to taking and executing decisions with dispatch. But in the Senate, I have learnt that I need to be a process person. I have learnt that for any decision to be taken, it must get the buy-in of the majority. I have learnt the principles of consensus building and collective responsibility. In all, I will say despite the challenges, it has been a great experience.
Have you fulfilled the purpose for which you wanted to be a legislator?
My answer will be yes and no. Yes, because despite not being a noisemaker, I have given quality representation to my people. More than ever before, in two years, I have attracted a lot of projects to the Ogun East Senatorial District. Of the nine local government areas in my senatorial district, there is none of them that did not benefit from at least two projects that I have facilitated. Many of our youths have been employed at various places, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigeria Police, and Security and Civil Defence Corps, among others.
However, I regret the fact that I have not been able to deliver on my promise to lobby my colleagues at the National Assembly towards the creation of Ijebu State. I have also not been able to use the legislative process to ensure the completion of the Olokola Free Trade Zone and the cargo airport projects. This is mainly due to the loss of power by the PDP during the 2015 general elections. Yet, I have facilitated over 30 projects in various parts of my senatorial district. The projects cut across education, health care, rural electrification and the provision of potable water to communities.
Which notable motions or bills have you moved or sponsored?
I have sponsored at least four bills. They are the Mental Health Bill, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency Act Amendment Bill, the Federal Road Safety Commission Amendment Bill and the National Security Tax Fund Bill. While the Mental Health Bill seeks to provide a modern legal framework for mental health care in Nigeria since the first and only one was passed in 1902. The NESREA Act Amendment Bill is meant to tweak the enabling Act setting up the agency and bring it in tune with the present realities as they concern the environment. It is hoped that very soon the bills will be passed into law.
Your appearance in the Senate chamber and at committee duties seems irregular these days, what other duties are taking your time?
That is not exactly correct. It is just lately that I got a strained leg that made my doctors advise me to take some rest. Even at that, I have been forcing myself to do my legislative duties. I thank almighty God that I am feeling better.
How do you spend your average day?
My day begins as early as 4 am. I wake up to say my prayers and then go to the gymnasium. When I was still running my businesses, I would call my managers to get briefings from them and give directives. These days, I consult with my legislative aides. Thereafter, I will take my breakfast, make some calls, send replies to text and WhatsApp messages and, then, set out for work. Of course, I go to bed late.
If you are not carrying out legislative functions, what other things do you do?
Anytime that I am not performing my legislative duties I will be attending to one issue of injustice or another. At other times, God could be using me for many other positive endeavours.
If you have any time for leisure, how do you unwind?
I go to the gym. I read newspapers and try to monitor the news across various channels and platforms.
It appears that you have a penchant for exotic cars. Are you a car freak?
It is not that I am a car freak; I just like good cars and God has enabled me to have a few.
You’ve also been noted for your choice of wines. What can you say about this?
For health reasons, I really do not take much of wine. However, when I have an event and invite people, it is my duty to ensure that they are well taken care of and possibly get whatever they want.
There are instances where you move around with heavily armed security operatives and bodyguards. Is this for security reasons or a status symbol?
I do not go around with heavily armed security operatives. How many have you seen with me since you came to the Senate? I only employ the services of body guards and security personnel when the occasion demands especially when I am going for political events.