IT is probably no longer news that Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, a.k.a HMO, the former permanent secretary in the Lands Bureau of Lagos State, has been redeployed to Office of Sports.
What is news is the reasons tale bearers are spreading why the youngest and probably the richest permanent secretary in Lagos State was redeployed from the ‘honey pot’ ministry to a ‘dry land’ one.
There are insinuations within Alaua secretariat that he was redeployed to another ministry because of some shady land deals he was involved in while in the land bureau.
Some of the land deals ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered were part of the land that were recently revoked by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
We further gathered that some of the lands that were erroneously attributed to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the campaign of calumny on some television stations during the 2015 elections were part of the land involved in these shady land deals and they have been revoked by the incumbent governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
We gathered that Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola was pardoned by the governor because he only acted on superior instruction. This explains why he was only redeployed to another ministry and not compulsorily retired like some other permanent secretaries that were also found wanting in the discharge of their duties.
When we called Mr. Muri-Okunola, he did not respond to our call and the text message.
We also did not get any response to the message sent to his e-mail address.
Mr. Hakeem Olayinka Muri-Okunola, was born in January 1972. He was the first son of late Justice Muritala Okunola. He attended University of Lagos, Akoka and Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London, England, where he got Bachelors degree in Law (LLB.Hons) and Masters in International Business Law (LLM) respectively.
He passed out from Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos, in 1995.
His fast rise in civil service have set tongues wagging about his influence and clout in the state. He came into the civil service in 2001, when he served as the company secretary/legal adviser of Ibile Holdings Limited. In 2003, he became the 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.
In 2011, when he was just 39 years old, he became permanent secretary in the same land ministry, a position he held until his last Tuesday, August 4, 2015 posting to Office of Sports.
At 43 years, HMO as he is popularly called, is still the youngest permanent secretary in the service.
HMO’s lavish lifestyle in the past few years has been a source of good stories for society reporters.
Unconfirmed reports has it then that HMO threw a lavish party to celebrate financial success. He is also said to have a personal luxury boat.
Meanwhile, tongues are already also wagging about Hakeem Muri-Okunola’s younger brother, Rasheed Muri-Okunola. Civil servants are raising eyebrows over Rasheed’s rise within the service.
ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that the younger Muri-Okunola too is already rising too fast in the service.
RMO, who was one of the three Personal Assistants of former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), throughout his eight years in office has crossed over to the mainstream civil service on salary grade level 14, a level many believed is too fast for someone who graduated from higher institution less than 15 years ago like him.
Many are of the opinion that Rasheed’s employment and placement in the civil service hierarchy was greatly influenced by his former boss and benefactor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN). Rasheed, we gathered, is presently working at Lagos State Waterways Authority as an officer on salary grade level 14.