THE Head of Service (HOS) is the topmost civil service position in the Federal and State civil service.
During the military era, the position was combined with that of the Secretary to the Government (SFG/SSG), making the holder the de facto deputy governor of the state. But since the advent of civilian government in 1999, the two positions have been separated with different people holding them.
The Secretary to the Government (SSG) is now the exclusive preserve of politicians, while the Head of Service (HOS) is the preserve of the civil servants particularly a serving permanent secretary.
In Lagos State, for instance, the position is an exclusive preserve of the most senior permanent secretary in the state, though the governor for one reason or the other could alter this arrangement.
The position makes the holder the No. 1 civil servant in the state. He or she automatically becomes a member of the State Executive Council (Exco), the topmost decision and policy making body of the state which is headed by the governor of the state.
The HOS is like any other member of the state cabinet and is entitled to all the paraphernalia and perks of office of a commissioner or special adviser of a cabinet rank.
That is, the HOS earns the same salary N520,878.00k per month earned by all commissioners and special advisers in the state. He or she is also entitled to N500,000 per month running cost of a commissioner or special adviser.
Whenever he or she travels abroad, he or she gets the $2,000 per week estacode too and N150,000-N200,000 transport and accommodation allowance for local travel (within the country) of a commissioner or special adviser.
The HOS, unlike the other members of the state cabinet, may not start or end with the tenure of the cabinet. The HOS, like any other civil servant, retires at the mandatory retirement age of 60 or 35 years in service.
Surely, at his or her retirement, he or she gets a parting gift of a car, usually a jeep (the last two retired HOS in Lagos got a Range Rover each) and undisclosed amount (sources said between N10m to N15m) from the governor.
The incumbent Head of Service (HOS) in Lagos Sate, Mrs. Sherifat Folashade Jaji, maybe two times lucky. When Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) leaves on May 29, 2015, she, like other members of the state cabinet, will get a parting gift from him and when she retires in October 2015, she gets another parting gift from the incumbent governor. The HOS supervises the permanent secretaries and other top civil servants in the state. Their posting, promotion and welfare is under his or her purview.
Since the advent of civilian rule in 1999, the HOS in Lagos State have been Alhaji Raufu B. Tinubu who fell out with the governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because he did not extend his tenure of office as HOS. He was followed by Mr. Sunny Akinsanya Ajose, who though lost the election (election was conducted that year to elect the HOS and the electorate or electoral college were from level 15 and above) to Alhaji Yakub Balogun but still became the HOS because Balogun was prevailed on to step down for him.
Yakub Balogun later took over at the end of Ajose’s short tenure. Alhaji Yakub Abiodun Balogun himself did not complete his tenure. He left office in 2010 to contest for Lagos Island Federal Constituency seat of House of Representatives.
Mr. Adesegun Olusola Ogunlewe defeated Mr. Kamol Abiodun Junaid in another HOS election to replace Yakub Balogun as the Lagos State Head of Service.
Mrs. Josephine Oluseyi Williams was lucky because there was no election before she was appointed the next HOS to replace Ogunlewe by Governor Fashola.
It was from Mrs. Williams that Mrs. Folashade Sherifat Jaji, took over last week as the new Head of Service. She too was lucky because there was no election before she took over.
– TOLANI ABATTI