The pictures of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court with that of his wife, Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, the Head of Service (HOS) of Lagos State, on the front pages of some national newspapers on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, was certainly an embarrassment to Lagos State government.
This scrnario encomium.ng gathered was what led to the announcement of Mrs. Folashade Sidikatu Adesoye as the acting Head of Service to replace Mrs. Olabowale Ademola, the incumbent HOS, who was said to have asked for leave of absence to enable her prove her innocence in the law courts.
Prior to that Thursday, December 15, 2016, when the announcement of the acting HOS was made, ENCOMIUM.ng gathered there had been whispers in government circle on what to do with her since she was mentioned by investigators that her account with GT Bank was used as a conduit pipe by her husband to collect gratification. But the government couldn’t do anything because there were pressures from the powers that be in the state not to upset the apple.
It was the embarrassing picture of hers and husband in national newspapers that eventually forced the government to give her soft landing by announcing that she has sought for leaves and she was granted by the governor.
A top government official who spoke with ENCOMIUM.NG under the condition of anonymous said what the governor did was right.
He said since the woman has not been found guilty by the court, the government cannot sack her. Her case is still pending in the court and she has not been found guilty yet. What the civil service laws says is that such a person should be put on interdiction (stay at home) and be placed on half salary pending the determination of the case.
According to the state official, if she’s eventually found guilty by the law court, she would be dismissed from the civil service. If not, she will be reinstated to her former position and be paid all her entitlements that had been denied her.
We gathered that Mrs. Ademola is not due for retirement from the civil service until November 10, 2017, when she will turn 60.
Mrs. Olawabola Ademola, a 1981 graduate of Economics from University of Ibadan, Ibadan, joined the Lagos State civil service in 1995 from the private sector.
The Msc Economics, University of Lagos, Akoka and fellow Institute of Chartered Accountant rose through the ranks to become a Permanent Secretary in 2010. She was appointed the Head of Service (HOS) October 26, 2015, following the retirement of Mrs. Folashade Jaji, the then HOS.
Her appointment as HOS then was not devoid of controversy. We gathered then that tests were conducted for Permanent Secretaries and Dr Yakub Bashorun, the then Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives scored the highest marks.
There were already jubilations among the rank and file in the Ministry of Agriculture that their Permanent Secretary would be the next HOS of Lagos State.
A week later, it was Mrs. Olabowale Ademola that was announced the new HOS. An unconfirmed report had it then that pressure were put on Governor Ambode by the powers that be to appoint her as the new HOS.
Of course, she was the most senior Permanent Secretary as at that time but the governor was said not to be interested in seniority but rather on aptitude test performance.
Will she be exonerated by the law court and restored to her position as HOS? Only time will tell.
- TOLANI ABATTI for encomium.ng