Reuben Abati, former presidential spokesman, says Buruji Kashamu brought him into partisan politics and groomed him in the process.
Kashamu, who chose Abati as his running mate during the 2019 governorship election in Ogun, died from COVID-19 complications on Saturday.
Both of them ran under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement on Saturday, Abati said Kashamu loved Nigeria dearly but he was grossly misunderstood.
“I am completely heartbroken. Senator Buruji Kashamu was my political mentor. Now he is dead at the relatively young age of 62. I feel like an orphan all over again,” Abati said.
“I may have worked with the PDP government at the federal level, but he was the man who brought me into direct, partisan politics.
He was one of the most generous men that I have ever known. He was determined to groom me and he did. He taught me the ropes. He linked me with the grassroots. I learnt a lot from him.
“He was a very simple man who was grossly misunderstood by his political opponents. His persona, his politics was indeed grossly misunderstood but those who knew him personally met a man who loved Nigeria dearly and was unapologetically public-spirited.
“He enjoyed giving other people opportunities. He was humorous, kind-hearted, large-hearted and genial.
With his death, Nigeria, Ogun state, Ijebuland and the people of Ijebu-Igbo have lost an illustrious son, who demonstrated courage, talent and creativity in everything to which he applied his energy.
“His death is yet another confirmation that COVID-19 is real, capricious and wicked. It is also a sober reaffirmation of the maxim that “man proposes, but God disposes.
“He no longer wanted to run for office in 2023, but he made it clear he would support others to achieve their dreams of getting an opportunity to make contributions on the Nigerian stage.
And now, he is gone. Death is a cruel fact of human reality. It puts an end to life and many things.”