The Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje has faulted the appointment of Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola as the new Head of Service, saying the action sacrificed career progression and was politics taken too far.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had on Monday sworn in Muri-Okunola as the 21st Head of Service (HOS) in the state, in place of Mrs. Folashade Adesoye, who retired in December 2018.
Reacting to the development in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos by the Directorate of Media and Publicity of the Jimi Agbaje Campaign Organisation, the PDP candidate described the action as insensitive, unjust and disruptive of the Civil Service hierarchy.
Indications are that, to pave way for the assisted meteoric rise of the new HoS, the Lagos State Government had between January and November 2018 forcefully retired no fewer than 21 permanent secretaries, considered as superiors and more experienced to the new man.
“There is a sense of shock and injustice in all 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,” he said. “But in this era of impunity, they have been offloaded prematurely.”
Agbaje dismissed the new HoS as part of the oligarchy controlling and monopolising all the levers of power in the state, having served as the Personal Assistant to former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which had imbued him with very abnormal privileges.
“Muri-Okunola lacks that broad-based exposure, which makes him a misfit for the post on which he has been imposed,” Agbaje said. “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 said the development portended grave danger to the state’s bureaucracy, founded on the foundations of merit-nurtured progression through the rungs of the career ladder.
“It is befuddling to imagine how officers who are 15 years older than the new HoS will take orders and directives from him. From all indications, this might be too farfetched 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 the society,” he said.