The All Progressives Congress (APC), Oyo state chapter, parades a creme of gubernatorial giants. There is no chaff among the creme of the governorship aspirants; they’re all wheats. But a weightier wheat among them is Senator Teslim Kolawole Folarin, a third-tenure senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a former governorship candidate, a traditional chieftaincy holder being Laguna Olubadan of Ibadanland and one of the most astute and foremost political players in Nigeria.
Teslim Folarin appears to be adequately cut out for political positions at the highest level. Having studied Political Science in the University of Ibadan in theoretical terms, Folarin added practical experiences to the scholarly politics he learnt at UI under the tutelage of late Chief Lamidi Ariyibi Adedibu. It needs be stressed at this point because of amateurish political critics that late Chief Lamidi Adedibu was a progressive politician. It may be argued that he spent his last days as a stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). But if we refreshed the strongman of Ibadan politics’ political credentials, it will be unarguable that Baba Lamidi Adedibu hobnobbed more with progressive parties than with conservative parties. Baba was in the Action Group (AG), a progressive party, of Chief Obafemi Awolowo at the outset of his political career in the 50s. He joined National Party of Nigeria (NPN), a conservative, in the Second Republic. Adedibu was in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), another progressive party, during the botched Third Republic. At the return of democracy in 1999, Chief Lamidi Adedibu was a staunch member of All People’s Party (APP), another progressive party, before he later joined the PDP where his political career ended through death. The point here is that Baba Adedibu was a progressive politician though political circumstances saw him traversing the conservative circle. It’s therefore correct to say that Senator Teslim Folarin got his calculation right when he joined politics through late Chief Adedibu.
In his career journey, Senator Teslim Folarin was deliberately preparing himself for public service. After his university education in Nigeria, he moved to UK where he garnered impeccable civil service experience, having worked in the public service, especially at the management level in the Department of Trade in London.
Returning to Nigeria, Senator Folarin was in the senate between 2003 and 2011, representing Oyo Central, serving two terms, the second term of which he was the charismatic senate leader when Senator David Mark held sway as the president of the senate.
Folarin’s political astuteness came to the fore in his struggle for the soul of the PDP and his aspiration to be the governor of the state in 2011. Through his political dexterity, Folarin was able to get hold of the PDP, struggling with political heavyweights like Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Alao-Akala and others, while he also emerged the governorship candidate of the party. One unforgettable act of political sportsmanship Senator Folarin exhibited during the 2011 governorship election was that while the results of the election were being collated and it was glaring that late Senator Abiola Ajimobi was in the lead, Senator Teslim Folarin was the first governorship candidate to congratulate late former Governor Ajimobi. Senator Folarin later joined APC at the instance of late Senator Ajimobi who was his elderly cousin. The Oyo South senatorial ticket of the APC went to Folarin and he was elected senator for the third term in 2019, winning the incumbent, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu.
As a public office holder, Senator Teslim Folarin has made considerable impacts in the lives of not only the people he represents at the senate but also Nigerians generally. Apart from regular financial, vocational and job empowerments the senator does, he also sponsors and cosponsors bills that have had direct positive impacts on Nigerians. At present in the senate, Senator Folarin is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content while he is also a member of other committees, including INEC, National Intelligence, Constitutional Review, Airforce, Finance and Committee on SDGs.
This intervention is to state clearly that Senator Folarin has garnered enough political and public service experience that an aspiring governor needs to perform meritoriously. It’s to also state that in the APC, there is no chaff to separate among the governor aspirants. This intervention is about Senator Folarin today. It’s going to be about another aspirant tomorrow, until the sterling stuffs all APC governorship aspirants are made of are propagated for people of Oyo state to be able to make informed choices at the polls come 2023.
Oyo state must be rescued from the dogs!