Politics, Seat of Power

How Olabowale Ademola emerged new Lagos HOS

Olabowale Toluwalope Ademola

MRS. Olabowale Toluwalope Ademola, who was appointed the new Lagos Head of Service (HOS), by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, on Sunday, November 1, 2015, has every reason to thank God for the appointment.

Yes, she is the most senior permanent secretary who, under normal circumstances should be the next HOS.  But she wouldn’t have been the most senior permanent secretary if Governor Ambode had not sacked the 15 permanent secretaries, in August 2015.

Because among the 15 permanent secretaries that were sacked, five were her senior in the hierarchy of permanent secretaries in the state.

The five permanent secretaries who are her senior include Engr. P. O. Bamgbose-Martins, Mr. Mubashiru Adekunle Ajanaku, Dr. Aderemi Desalu, Mr. Lawal Pedro and Mr. Ashamu Sewanu Fadipe.

If these five were not among the 15 booted out of service in August 2015, certainly one of them would have been appointed the new Head of Service (HOS), to replace Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji, who retired on Monday, October 26, 2015.

Again, despite being the most senior permanent secretary, two of her junior colleagues, precisely Dr. Yakub Olajide Bashorun and Mr. Fariudeen Akodu, who are also interested in occupying the position, impressed it on the authority that an election must be conducted among the contenders and whoever emerged winner in the election should be appointed the next Head of Service (HOS) to replace Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji.  Certainly, the authority bought into this idea of conducting an election.  From a reliable source, the election was conducted among three contenders which included Mrs. Olabode Toluwalope Ademola, Dr. Yakub Olajide Bashorun and Mr. Fariudeen Olalekan Akodu.

Dr. Yakub Olajide Bashorun was said to have polled 33 votes out of the 48 permanent secretaries that constituted the electoral college.  He was, therefore, declared the winner and the HOS designate.  He was already being congratulated by friends and colleagues.

Facebook was agog with deluge of congratulatory messages.  In fact, the staff of Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives where Dr. Bashorun is the permanent secretary, threw caution to the wind and started celebrating the appointment of their permanent secretary as the new Head of Service.

This, we gathered, did not go down well with the powers that be within the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

The state government traced the leakage of the election result to one Tunde Onigbanjo, the Director of Protocol, in the Governor’s Office, who was privy to the election and who took it upon himself to announce on Facebook that Dr. Yakub Olajide Bashorun, is the next HOS, without being officially instructed to do so.

Mr. Onigbanjo, we learnt was removed from the Governor’s Office and posted to Ministry of Local Government.

Whether this is what worked against Dr. Bashorun or as another rumour mill has it that it was the powers that be in the state that impressed it on the governor to appoint Mrs. Olabowale Toluwalope Ademola as the 19th Head of Service in the state, we really cannot say.  Certainly, her appointment and the announcement of her appointment came as a surprise to everyone.

It was announced around 5 p.m on Sunday, November 1, 2015, by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Haruna Habib.

Mrs. Ademola will be the third woman in a row that will be occupying the number one civil servant position in the state.  She took over from Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji, who took over from Mrs. Josephine Oluseyi Williams.

She was born in November, 1957.  She had her primary education at Corona School, Yaba and Lagos University Staff School.  Her secondary education was at Queen’s College, Yaba, where she obtained her WASC and HSC in 1973 and 1975 respectively.

Her university education was at University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree Second Class Upper in Economics in 1981.  She also bagged a Masters degree in Business Administration from University of Lagos.  She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).  Her public service journey started in 1995 when she joined Lagos State Water Corporation as Controller Audit.  She later moved to mainstream civil service in 1999 and rose to become Permanent Secretary in 2010 and was posted to the Debt Management Office.

She was recently redeployed to Lagos State Civil Service Pensions Office, from where she was appointed the HOS.  She is married to Justice Ademola of Federal Appeal Court, Abuja.


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