Politics, Seat of Power

Lagos elevates 8 to permanent secretary

 …As Governor reiterates that the appointment process was driven by merit

In order to beef up its service delivery and improve efficiency in its civil service, the Lagos State government has promoted eight of its directors to the post of Permanent Secretary.

This brings to 54 the number of Permanent Secretaries administering the State’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in line with its excellence posture with which it has become a reference point in governance in the country.

The lucky Permanent Secretaries, who were selected out of the lot that contested for the exalted position are, Engineer Olujimi Hotonu, Mrs Oluwatoyin Adegbuji Onikoyi , Mrs Jokotola Ojosipe- Ogundimu and Mr Michael Dawodu while the newly appointed Tutors General are Mrs Florence Ogunfidodo, Mr Yinka Gbemi Olaniyi and Mrs Margaret Solarin as well as Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin who had been appointed since August 2, 2013.

The Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola while swearing in the new Permanent Secretaries at the Lagos House, Ikeja, urged them to be of good behavior to justify the confidence reposed in them.

He explained that the process that led to the present point has been driven by merit that has seen examination written by all directors who are eligible interviews both written and oral adding that among the appointees are Lagos indigenes and non- indigenes which is a reinforcement of the belief that if everybody is allowed to compete, all would be well.

“Interestingly also it has addressed the issue of gender. We have four women and we have four men. I am sure our women can compete and what we must not do is to close of competition on their faces. This process has demonstrated that”, he added.

Governor Fashola reiterated that some of the appointments will send strong indicators about where the heart of the government is as appointments that allow Principals to now become Permanent Secretaries very clearly indicate that the State values education, adding that from the time when there was only one Permanent Secretary in charge of Education of the whole state, there are now seven Perm Secretaries in charge of education and there could be more

“Now our schools have been broken into education districts, so every of those districts are now led by Permanent Secretaries who often times are serving principals who moves up on responsibility of leadership and are accountable to the Commissioner and Permanent Secretary in the ministry of education and to the Governor and the Special Adviser about what happens in that districts and in this way, we have tried to promote competition amongst our districts”.

“Over the last few years, our children’s annual WAEC performance has grown from seven percent to 41 percent. But as it is always the case here, we will not be satisfied and I have told the Commissioner for Education that in this year’s exam, we should expect no less than a 60 percent pass. You have done it before because you have moved up from 19 percent to 38 and you can double that by moving from 41 to 60, we are not asking you to do something you have not done before”, he emphasised.

He stated that something similar has played up in the Ministry of Health which has moved on from the time when it was one Permanent Secretary to three now and from the time when it was only one Commissioner leading the Ministry, a sub set has been created focusing on public health, which is an emerging concern now led by a Special Adviser and in the area of Primary Health Care led by Dr Oguntimehin.

He added that the team at the Primary Health Care Centre will provide leadership support for the Special Adviser and the Commissioner in ensuring that the common issue of infant and maternal mortality can be adequately dealt with at the flagship Primary Health Care Centres and provide happiness and a better quality of life to women, children and the people in general.

Governor Fashola also said that the latest appointment has also taken cognizance of infrastructure with the inclusion of an engineer, public accounting and general administration that provide support for the entire public service which all have appointees.

While welcoming the new Permanent Secretaries into leadership responsibilities, the Governor reminded them of the oath that they have taken before man and before God, emphasizing that the people of Lagos would hold them accountable with those oaths especially those parts that say they would put public interest above their own interest.

To the family members, Governor Fashola said he would love to congratulate them but thinks their responsibility is bigger as government would expect their relations who now serve at the exalted level to dedicate more of their time to the service of the public and therefore they would have to bear the brunt of their absence.

He also appealed to the family and relatives of the new appointees not to be the source of pressure upon them that may lead them to breach their oath of office.

Earlier while presenting the new appointees, the Head of Service, Mrs Seyi Williams had thanked the Governor on behalf of the members of the Standing Committee on Appointment of Permanent Secretaries for his insistence on giving credence to exemplary performance and merit as some of the core criteria for elevation into appointive posts in the Public Service.

She informed that the Governor approved the appointment of the seven new Permanent Secretaries from different cadres in the State Public Service on December 31, 2013 while the approval of the appointment of the 8th person, Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin took effect from August 2, 2013.

In his vote of assurance on behalf of the new Permanent Secretaries, Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin thanked the Governor for the opportunity given to them to serve the State, saying they would discharge their responsibilities adequately and responsibly.

The event was witnessed by many dignitaries including a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice George Oguntade, members of the body of Permanent Secretaries, families and relatives of the new appointees.

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