For about three hours, former Senate Leader, Teslim Kolawole Folarin was the guest of the Oyo State Police Command on Thursday. He was grilled over alleged stockpiling of arms as well as his association with the ousted Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Lateef Akinsola Tokyo. It had been alleged that Folarin was stockpiling arms in a bid to cause trouble in the state.
Before he was quizzed by the police in Eleyele, his Oluyole Estate and Iyaganku GRA homes had been thoroughly searched by policemen who were in their hundreds. Heavy police presence was noticed in the area and it lasted for hours.
While he was being queried by the police, the former Senate Leader had a number of PDP bigwigs around who waited on him at the police headquarters. They included High Chief Lekan Balogun, Senator Hosea Ayoola Agboola, Hon Muraina Ajibola, Hon Tajudeen Alesinloye as well as Alhaji Azeem Gbolarumi.
Though the police investigation is believed to have stemmed from a petition written against the former Senate Leader, meanings are already being read to it in and outside the state. Senator Folarin disclosed after his encounter with the police that he was on his way to Abeokuta to greet and sympathize with former President Obasanjo over the fire incident in his house when he received a call that the Commissioner of Police wanted to see him over a petition that had to do with security. He disclosed that the incident might not be unconnected with the build up to the 2015 elections. The former Senate Leader also expressed surprise that political blackmail had already started in January 2013 with the next elections still about 2 years away. Speaking on his relationship with Akinsola, he said “my relationship with Tokyo is just purely of an Ibadan man to another Ibadan man. Let us take it cool as politicians after all, 2015 is still far away. Power comes from God. I know this has political undertone. It could have come from anywhere not only from the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) but also my party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well.
I am still bereaved because I am mourning my only elder blood brother. How would I have thought or caused breach of the peace of my darling state? Everybody knows I am non-violent person. I am an easy going and my type of politics is always issues-based. And coincidentally, the ACP who quizzed me is my neighbour and I asked him have you ever seen me harbouring thugs or fomenting trouble with anybody in our area?
Folarin saluted the courage of the police commissioner and his team of professional officers for the way and manner they handled the matter.
Street Journal’s findings have indicated that it would be difficult to divorce the anonymous petition from the 2015 elections. It is a general belief in most parts of Oyo State that Senator Folarin’s eyes have been on the Governorship position for some time now.
Findings revealed that in his days as Senate Leader, a team of executives of the NURTW from Oyo State led by Tokyo who was the then Chairman visited Folarin in Abuja and a number of things were discussed including the politics of Oyo State and the 2011 elections. Street Journal was reliably informed that those who followed Alhaji Tokyo to Abuja, including his Deputy, Late Lateef Salako “Elewe Omo” felt aggrieved that none of them got a share of the “gift” given to them by the Senator.
That incidentally marked the beginning of Tokyo’s troubles. Members of his executive reportedly went ahead to report to the then Governor that Foalrin was trying to upstage him and he had a willing ally in their boss, Alhaji Tokyo. In no time, in-fighting started between Tokyo and his erstwhile “boys”, two of Lateef Salako’s night guards were reportedly murdered and Tokyo became the suspect. He had to face the law and he was removed as Chairman with Lateef Salako Elewe Omo replacing him.
Under Salako, the NURTW became loyal to the Akala-led government and though the transport union often prided itself a being apolitical, its members were willing tools in the hands of politicians.
The turn of events suddenly changed, with Otunba Alao Akala and Senator Folarin locked in a battle for the control of the PDP machinery in the state, congresses were conducted to elect delegates. It was in one of the ward congresses that Elewe Omo, the then NURTW Chairman met his untimely death. This time, Folarin was the suspect. After a legal tussle, he was set free.
Street Journal’s findings have shown that the battle for Oyo State in 2015 has started already. Candidates have started emerging. Just before the end of 2012, the Oyo State arm of the Action Congress of Nigeria named Governor Abiola Ajimobi as the party’s leader in the state following the death of Alhaji Lam Adesina. He was also unanimously adopted as the candidate for the 2015 governorship election.
As it stands, Senator Folarin has the structure of the PDP and it might as well be assumed that if the status quo remains, he would emerge as the party’s guber candidate.
Alhaji Tokyo on the other hand has openly stated that he worked for the electoral success of the present administration in 2011 and that he was “betrayed”. Having being re-instated by the Court, Tokyo is of the opinion that he should be allowed to serve out his term. As such, Tokyo is perceived to be embittered that he has not yet been reinstated as ruled by the court and might have every reason to join forces with anyone just to get at the present administration. It is also on good authority that Senator Lekan Balogun was one of those who advised Tokyo to approach the court when he was removed as Chairman. He also stood by him and did all he could to ensure that he got justice. Incidentally, Senator Lekan Balogun is also acknowledged as “Leader” by Senator Teslim Folarin and they are known to be quite close.
One fact however remains that the petition might have come from within the PDP or the ACN as analysts have opined that Folarin would still have some internal battles to contend with before he gets the ticket. And with 2015 still ahead, people of Oyo State might be right to believe that the show has just started.