LAGOS NIGERIA. Opposition figures and civil society groups amongst others in Lagos State, have faulted the worrisome appointment of Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola as the new Head of Service in the state, saying the action sacrificed career progression and was ‘politics taken too far.’
The current Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had, on Monday, sworn in Muri-Okunola as the 21st HoS in the state, in place of the departing former head Mrs. Folashade Adesoye who retired in December 2018.
At 46 years old, Muri-Okunola is said to be the youngest ever HoS in the history of Lagos State.
PDP governorship candidate Mr Jimi Agbaje, in a statement by his campaign organisation’s Directorate of Media and Publicity, on Thursday, condemned and described the appointment as “insensitive, unjust and disruptive of the civil service hierarchy.”
He said, “Indications are that, to pave way for the assisted meteoric rise of the new Head of Service (HoS), the current Lagos State Governor was asked to forcefully retire no fewer than 21 permanent secretaries by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, between January and November 2018, considered as superiors and more experienced to the new man.
“There is a sense of shock and injustice in all of this. It is bound to create bad blood and injustice within the system.
“These are seasoned personnel capable of fitting perfectly and effectively in that office. But in this era of impunity, they have been offloaded prematurely.”
The new HoS has been dismissed as “part of the oligarchy controlling and monopolising all the levers of power in the state.” He also cited his position as the PA to former Governor Bola Tinubu.
“HakeemMuri-Okunola lacks broad-based exposure. Whoever becomes HoS is usually a civil servant with widespread exposure, as he must be abreast of all issues related to the bureaucracy and governance. “But all these rules and traditions have been bent for this appointment,” Agbaje added.
He also stated that the development portends much “grave danger” to the State’s bureaucracy, long established on the foundations of merit-nurtured progression through the career ladder.
“From all indications, this might be too far-fetched and difficult and it has a way of impacting negatively on governance, taking into cognizance that the civil service is the engine room of not just government but of the society also.”