Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he does not care how Nigerians mourn him when he dies.
He stated this in reaction to the controversy generated by his condolence message on the death of Senator Buruji Kashamu, who died of COVID-19 complications in Lagos on Saturday.
“Senator Esho Jinadu (Buruji Kashmu) in his lifetime used the maneuver of law and politics to escape from facing justice on alleged criminal offence in Nigeria and outside Nigeria.
“But no legal, political, cultural, social or even medical maneuver could stop the cold hands of death when the Creator of all of us decides that the time is up.
“May Allah forgive his sin and accept his soul into Aljanah, and may God grant his family and friends fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” Obasanjo had said.
But some Nigerians, including former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, bashed him for the message and accused him of mocking the dead.
However, Obasanjo said that though it was normal to mourn the dead, the living should learn to draw lessons from the lives they led.
The former president added that no society could develop by pretending that bad men were good just because they died.
“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.
“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,” he told Premium Times.
Reminded that he could be mourned the same way he chose to mourn Kashamu, Obasanjo fired back, “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.
“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.”