Amid backlash over his comment on the death of Buruji Kashamu, an ex-Ogun senator who died of complications from coronavirus on Saturday, Olusegun Obasanjo, former Nigeria president, has admonished that dead people should not be unduly eulogised when there is nothing to praise them about.
Recall Obasanjo had, in his condolence message noted that late Kashamu was able to escape justice but could not evade death.
The statement attracted huge criticism from many, including Ayodele Fayose, ex-governor of Ekiti State and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
“It is regrettable that Obasanjo could say what he said about Buruji Kashamu after his death and when he can no longer question him. Why didn’t he say that when Kashamu was alive?” Fayose had said.
“Nigerians will watch out for Obasanjo’s own end. He should stop forming saint because he is not. He should also remember that his own end will come too and nobody knows how the end will be.”
Tinubu who described the late Ogun senator as a good party man, philanthropist and an astute businessman, called for kindness for the dead. “It behooves on us to be kind to the dead,” he said.
But amid criticism against his condolence message, the former president told Premium Times in an interview that he grew up in a place where anyone known with bad character dies, was mourned and buried without eulogy or praise-singing.
“When I was growing up, in our community, when anyone known with bad character died, we usually only mourn him and bury him. No eulogy. No praise-singing,” said Obasanjo.
“There is an English saying that urges us never to talk ill of the dead. But in this case, we are not talking ill of the dead. We are only drawing lessons from the life and history of the dead. I am not gloating over his death. It is sad for anyone to die and we must mourn him.
“But we must learn from such a passage. There will be bad lessons. There will be good lessons. But we should not just be praise-singing or eulogising the dead, especially when there is no need to do so.
“We should not cover up bad histories and conducts so that the right lessons can be learnt.”
The former president went further to say that he does not care about what people would say about him when he dies, stating that even while he is still alive, people still abuse him.
“As you know, I say my mind as truthfully as I know them and in line with my convictions. People are free to say whatever they want about my comment. I don’t begrudge people for holding opinions on whatever I say or do,” he said.
“Let people say whatever they like when I transit. Now that I am alive, am I not being abused? Whenever I transit, let people say whatever they know or think about me. Let them say it as it is. What my maker thinks of me is what matters most.”
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