Governorship candidate of the Oyo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 election, Teslim Folarin, has said that the party has nothing to offer the people of the state.
According to the former Senate leader, who said his major preoccupation now is to support Governor Abiola Ajimobi to succeed, “it is obvious that the PDP has nothing else to offer the people in Oyo state, and as one who has dedicated the rest of his life to serve the people, I am not ashamed to say that I will pitch tent with anyone who serves the people, and in this case, the governor . So, I am with him.”
Speaking on his rumoured defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, he described Ajimobi as the new face of Oyo politics.
He said his silence was strategic because “After every race, a winner emerges. The losing contestant congratulates the winner and leaves the stage, allowing the winner to enjoy his victory.”
He continued: ”If you will recall, I was the first candidate of a major party to congratulate the governor even while all the results were not yet announced and before Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had formally declared a winner. My agents on ground across Oyo state had informed me of the trends on the field and as a true democrat, whose interest was to render service to the people, I felt no qualms to yield to the wishes of the people which was that Senator Abiola Ajimobi continue with his mandate.
“Still in that spirit, I have also taken an informed backseat to watch how events in the state proceed. It’s only normal that the chief executive in the state be given some time to implement his programmes for the people.”
On the recent photographs of him, Ajimobi and former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala in a London meeting, Folarin explained that beyond politics, he and Ajimobi are cousins.
“People forget that the governor and I are cousins and had been in close relationship even before venturing into partisan politics. However, I must state it clearly that mine is a creed of politics without bitterness. What is there to be bitter about? The governor won a free and fair contest; it was obvious that no one could have upset him. His popularity was just too high, His performance campaigned for him and his leadership by example paved the way for history to be made in Oyo with the emergence of the first ever two-term governor in our state. The significance of that victory is that Governor Ajimobi has emerged as the new face of Oyo politics. In fact, I make bold to say that he is now the leader of the new politics in the state. Combine that with his administrative leadership of government that makes him the most important political leader in our state in the last 20 years. So, when that person invites you over for a chat, the Yoruba spirit of Omoluabi demands that you heed the call. It was in that context that former governor Alao Akala and I met with him.”
He disclosed that he nurses no problem with Ajimobi administration, adding that “The governor himself will be the first to tell you that he is not perfect. That attribute is the sole preserve of divine beings. Look, let’s tell ourselves some home truths? What is the essence of politics? Service to humanity. If that is the case, and if a man, bestowed with the sacred mandate of the people, delivers on that, it is only fair to commend the person. I don’t just criticise for the fun of it. The governor’s achievements so far stand head and shoulder above what we have ever seen in Oyo state. And don’t forget that there are still two more years to address other areas of concern. For me, if it is indeed the pursuit of service to the people that politicians are all after, then why chastise someone who is doing it spectacularly well? At any rate, if I see lapses, the governor’s open door policy has made it possible for people like me to have the channels to reach him and I can affirm that he is a listening governor.”
Revealing that he is disturbed by the turmoils in his party, he said: “Perhaps this explains the romance with the governor. That is preposterous! My relationship with the governor predates our incursion into politics. We are cousins. That being said, as a leader of a major political party, the turmoils in my party saddens me and my supporters. This is a party that we gave sweat and blood to build. I for one have made very painful sacrifices. Recall that I was framed up for murder and detained in prison just to ensure that I did not participate in the electioneering processes at the time.
“It is also instructive to note that elements within my party sabotaged our efforts to reposition the party. Yet, we trudged on without rancour, knowing that the decision is to serve the people. There would be fifth columnists among us that are not guided by the ideals of selfless service that we hold dear. We are not afraid to embrace other options that will make our quest to serve the people possible, especially if like minds and people that hold such ideals invite us to collaborate.
“The stage where we are now is to give the governor all the support that he needs to succeed for our people. I must confess that the governor’s style, mien, vision and pragmatic approach to leadership makes it very easy to support him. I am, therefore, not in doubt about my commitment to giving him my support, but also making myself available to him if and whenever he needs my inputs,” he said.