By Oladipupo Awojobi
The Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has been lambasted for condemning the appointment of Hakeem Muri-Okunola as Head of Service of Lagos State.
The Convener of Ibile Progressive Youths, IPY, Bayo Plunter, in a press statement, said that Agbaje’s outburst was unnecessary, uncharitable and diversionary.
The IPY comprises about 20 groups of young and dynamic professionals from the three senatorial districts in Lagos State.
The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, had faulted the appointment of Mr. Muri-Okunola as the new Head of Service in the state, saying tlhis appointment sacrificed career progression and was ‘politics taken too far.’
Agbaje, in a statement by his campaign organisation’s Directorate of Media and Publicity, on Thursday, 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 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.”
But the Ibile Progressive Youth countered Agbaje’s position, saying, ‘Recent statements of Mr. Jimi Agbaje, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate, including his unprovoked attack on the new Lagos HoS are increasingly unnerving.”
The group further said: “While the appointment of Hakeem Muri-Okunola, a dynamic, qualified and hard working young man has been roundly applauded by progressive minds, it is a bitter pill for Mr. Agbaje and his ilk to swallow.
“It is evident from Mr. Agbaje’s statement shows how desperately he wishes the wheel of progress in the Centre of Excellence be reversed.
“His statement smacks of bile, divisiveness and incitement of our hard working civil servants to rebellion over a simple, constitutional executive action.”
“While IPY remains non-aligned, but keenly monitoring the activities and promises of the governorship candidates involved in the political contestation for Office of Governor of Lagos State, we are concerned about the direction of Mr. Agbaje’s campaigns.”
The IPY wondered why Agbaje, who it said claimed to be an indigene of Lagos State, would fault the appointment of Hakeem Muri-Okunola, a true son of the soil and an indigene of the state, as HoS.
The group added that it was obvious that the PDP was not in support of the “Not Too Young To Run Law” passed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If a young man like Macron could be elected as the President of France, Austria on December 12, 2018 elected the world’s youngest president, who is 31 years old. His name is Sebastian Kurz.
“Before those elections, he was the country’s foreign minister.
“So, why are we now trying to criticise a government that is trying to encourage the youths?
“In any case, the questions are: Was Governor Ambode right in retiring Permanent Secretaries? The answer is yes. Was he right in appointing an HoS? The answer is yes. Also, is Muri-Okunola qualified for the post? The answer is yes,” the group said, adding that Agbaje is oblivious of the trend in politics and governance around the world.
The IPY described the PDP and Agbaje as a sinking ship that is trying to get to the shore through any means.
The group also berated Agbaje for displaying “arrant ignorance” over the issues surrounding the appointment of Muri-Okunola as the new HoS.
IPY reminded the likes of Agbaje that after the retirement of some permanent secretaries by the state government in 2015, only two permanent secretaries were ahead of the new HoS and they were Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, who retired in November, 2017, while the immediate past HoS, Mrs. Folashade Adesoye, who was also his senior in rank, took over as HoS on November 10, 2017.
“So, by hierarchy, it was the turn of HMO to take over after Mrs. Adesoye retired in December, 2018 after years of meritorious service to the state government.
“The appointment of Hakeem Muri-Okunola was not about politics, he was the next person in rank after the exit of the two PS, who were ahead of him.
“So, Agbaje would have done better not to wash his dirty linen in public. Is this the kind of person that wants to become the Governor of a state like Lagos,” the statement read.
Hakeem Muri-Okunola got into the civil service in 2001, when he served as the company secretary/legal adviser of Ibile Holdings Limited.
In 2003, he became a Personal Assistant to the Executive Governor of the State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
In 2005, he became the Executive Secretary to the Governor, Land Use and Allocation Committee.