The barrage of troubles that have continued to assail, Ogun East Senator, Buruji Kashamu is deepening, The Difference checks have revealed. And given the current pressure that the senator is enmeshed in, pundits are already beginning to wager if he would be able to close the year successfully as a free man.
Amongst other damning situations, what had looked like a solid public relations manouvre to help sweeten his image may have misfired with scores of Nigerian students disassociating themselves from an award given by the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS to the Ogun State Senator.
It will be recalled that a “Golden man of the year award’ had been conferred on the Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu last week by the apex students’ body.
In separate interviews with students, they described the award investiture as “a complete show of shame”.
The Public Relations Officer of Obafemi Awolowo Students’ Union, Emmanuel Ojedokun, described the award conferment exercise as a completely unnecessary move.
He said: “the current set of NANS leaders are political jobbers who need to be shown the way out if they fail to leave honourably.”
“Obafemi Awolowo University Students’ Union is not part of the latest move by NANS,” Mr. Ojedokun said.
Also speaking, a students’ representative from the University of Lagos, Tope Ojedele, who is the president of the school’s press team expressed disappointment at the action of NANS.
She said “The action of NANS is very questionable especially looking at the integrity issues relating to Mr. Kashamu. The award is more like ‘cash and carry’”.
“We want the NANS leaders to resign if they cannot explain the reasons for the award since they may have their own reasons.” She however expressed the fear that given the current degenerate state of affairs within the students body, even the next set of NANS could be worse.
Samuel Opeyemi, another student of Obafemi Awolowo University, also condemned the award by NANS.
“It is pitiable and laughable that the National Association of. Nigerian Students leaders have decided to drag the name of the association into the mud,” he said.
“If we as students have no integrity, I wonder where the hope for Nigeria would be coming from,” he said, adding that ‘It is high time we had a new set of leaders in the apex students’ body.”
However, a student leader of the University of Ibadan and president of the Union of Campus Journalists called for caution in condemning the NANS leadership.
“Though the action of the NANS leadership is condemnable, taking hasty steps in dealing with them may spell doom,” he said.
“The only thing we may want to do is to go back to the drawing table so we can comprehensively restructure NANS. Moreover they may have their reasons for giving the award to Kashamu. We need to listen to their reasons,” he said.
Reacting to the condemnation of the award given to Senator Kashamu, NANS through its South West General Secretary, Comrade Oloja Olanrewaju said: “Buruji Kashamu is an untiring hardworking man who has an exemplary leadership style. During the 8 months unpaid salary saga in Osun state, he supplied 5000 bags of rice and 1000 gallons of kerosene to the workers. He has also supported democracy and education and that is part of how he emerged as a senator in Nigeria and that is why we think he deserves the award,” the NANS chief concluded.
NANS has been at the receiving end of criticisms since it conferred ‘Golden Man of the Year award’ on Buruji Kashamu with many stakeholders condemning the move and calling it a political and unnecessary move.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Elections Petition tribunal has also made it a double blow on the embattled Senator as it declared Friday that indeed Kashamu had not been duly elected as senator. This new ruling is also coming amidst the politician’s long-running battle to avoid being extradited to the United States of America to face trial over his alleged involvement in the illicit drugs’ trade.