Why Teslim Folarin group is being sidelined
By Yinka ADETUNJI
Politics as it is unfolding at the national level clearly indicates that the Senator Teslim Folarin bloc of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state is being pushed out of reckoning.
“It has always been out of reckoning,” a topgun in the party further clarified the situation.
”The group never enjoyed the favour of the president, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, both before his election and after. Asiwaju has been treating its leaders as outsiders. They don’t enjoy his confidence.”
This is discerned when Tinubu came to campaign in Oyo state towards the presidential election and Folarin who was the gubernatorial candidate of the APC had to force himself into the meeting venue and making greater exertion to make Tinubu to raise his hand as flagbearer of the party in the state. This episode was not lost on keen observers.
“It was not hidden Asiwaju was not enamoured with Tessy,” the party chieftain who however does not want his name mentioned said.
But while Folarin was treated with disdain and like an outcast, Oyo state governor who recontested the governorship of the state on the ticket of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Seyi Makinde, cavorted the former Lagos state governor. Tinubu visited him in his office, held closed doors meeting together, which all portrayed a good working relationship and a strong alliance which eventually proved detrimental to the chances of the former Senate Leader.
The trend has continued since after the inauguration of Tinubu as president.
As if he knew his precarious situation as far as the new government is concerned Folarin went underground since after the election only to resurface recently to make few “frustrated” remarks about being thrown under the bus in order for Tinubu to win.
“An analysis of his outburst will show that he is not even in contention for ministerial position,” another source close to APC leadership in the state pointed out.
“If he is hopeful of bagging ministerial slot he wouldn’t have spoken that way, that remark implying he was sacrificed for Tinubu’s victory could only come out of a frustrated mind. It is a dig at Asiwaju. If he is in line to be made minister he would not have spoken in that careless way.”
Meanwhile, the source suggested that Folarin undid himself through political miscalculations.
“First he rooted for former vice president Prof Yemi Osinbajo towards the presidential primary ditching Tinubu.
“When Osinbajo was coming to meet delegates in Oyo state to canvass votes before the presidential primaries the whole APC structure in the state which is in the grip of Folarin was unleashed but when Tinubu came around the attitude of the party was lackadaisical.
“It was obvious the Tessy group was for Osinbajo and non-committal to the Asiwaju project. Not only that, without pretention, the Asiwaju’s men in the state were dealt with as most of them were not considered to stand for elections.
“As an instance, Kolapo Kola-Daisi, son-in-law to late Governor Abiola Ajimobi, was initially declared winner of APC senatorial candidate for Oyo south but this was overturned in favour of Sarafadeen Alli who did not even contest the primary and who eventually won the main election.
“The overturning of Kola-Daisi’s victory whose father-in-law was an ally of Tinubu was an affront. So, Tinubu’s people were dealt with without caution,” posited the source.
During the presidential election however Tessy and his associates worked strenuously for Asiwaju Tinubu’s election but the Yoruba say that a smear of faeces at the edge of the plate brings disgust on the meal.
The point now is that a good number of the representatives from Oyo state at the national assembly are associates of Teslim Folarin.
“Some of them meanwhile have continued to be working against the interest of President Tinubu,” the source added.
“When Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives were to be elected some of them lent support to the candidates opposing the president’s choice, one of the senators was even initially in the campaign team of an opposing candidate, Senator Yari, who eventually lost.
“It is all politics, each is seeking to gain advantage or position but when you lose you lose out. That is partly why none of the legislators in Oyo has bagged any juicy post so far even when we have a ranking senator, Fatai Buhari, who is on his third term. They are not in the good book of Asiwaju, he doesn’t trust them, he sees them as unstable lieutenants.”
It is also learnt that some of them were for Tinubu from the start but “political exigencies swayed them, hither-thither, after Folarin seized the party structure as they had to ally with him to get ticket to contest election.”
Also, Tinubu was not enthusiastic about the election of Folarin, in fact, his core loyalists in the state worked for the rival Makinde but few of them failing to read the body language of the then president-elect strove hard to get Folarin elected. With this they were said to have crossed another red line.
“They will have to warm themselves back into the heart of the president if they would remain relevant in this dispensation,” the source averred.