THERE is palpable fear among some appointees of former governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, as his successor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is said to be set to sack some of them.
Many of these appointees are said to be head of the agencies set up by the former governor’s administration.
Already, ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered about four of them have been told by the new governor to hand over to the highest ranking official in their agencies.
For instance, the Executive Chairman of Public Works Corporation, Mr. Gbenga Akintola has been relieved of his duty by Governor Ambode.
The governor, we gathered, called him (Akintola) to his office and asked him few questions before he was told to hand over the rein of administration of the agency to the next highest ranking official in the corporation.
When ENCOMIUM Weekly put a call to Mr. Gbenga Akintola, this was what he told us:
Good afternoon sir. Is it true that you have been sacked by Governor Ambode?
- AKINTOLA: I was not sacked, I was redeployed.
Yes, to the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.
Thank you, sir.
You are welcome.
Mr. Akintola, we learnt, is a close friend of the former governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN). He was said to have personally brought him from the United States of America (USA) to Nigeria and made him the Executive Chairman of the agency which is responsible for the maintenance of Lagos roads.
Another person Governor Ambode has given the boot is Mrs. Adenike Adekanbi, the General Manager of Lagos State Infrastructure, Assets Management Agency. The agency has been responsible for all the street lights in many streets of Lagos.
When we called her to inquire whether she has been booted out of office, she told us to send her SMS because she could not hear us clearly. We did but never got a response to our SMS several hours later.
Engr. (Mrs.) Damilola Ogunbiyi, the General Manager of Lgaos State Electricity Board is another Fashola appointee that was alleged to have been relieved of her duty by Governor Ambode.
But we couldn’t confirm this because she did not respond to our call, SMS and message on her email address.
Engr. (Mrs.) Ogunbiyi was first appointed Special Adviser to Governor Fashola on Electricity before she was moved to Electricity Board. Many people believed she was a relative of Mrs. Olusola Oworu, the then Commissioner for Commerce and Industry because when she came to Alausa Secretariat, she was always in her office.
Ms. Ronke Azeez, the Special Adviser (non-cabinet) to Governor Fashola on Eko Project, was also alleged to have been relieved of her duty by Governor Ambode. Eko Project is World Bank sponsored to provide infrastructure in public schools. But a source close to the government said if Ms. Azeez was actually relieved of her appointment by Ambode, then she deserved it because, according to her, she is a political appointee. She should have left with Fashola’s government on May 29, 2015. Ms. Ronke Azeez also did not respond to our calls and SMS.
Ms. Yinka Fashola, the immediate elder sister of the former governor (paternal) who is the General Manager of Lagos State Residents’ Registration Agency (LASRRA), is also alleged to have been booted out by Governor Ambode.
Our investigation, however, revealed that as at Friday, June 5, 2015, Ms. Fashola was still the General Manager of LASRRA.
We gathered that she and her senior management team were to meet with Governor Ambode that Friday, June 5, 2014, but for some inexplicable reasons they could not meet with the governor.
The meeting was, therefore, shifted to Monday, June 8, 2015.
Ms. Yinka Fashola, who is six months older than the former governor, was said to have joined the Lagos State civil service during the eight year reign of her brother as governor. ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that Ms. Fashola relocated from London and did her youth service with the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology. She remained in the Ministry until 2011, when Lagos State Registration Agency (LASRRA) was established by the government and she was posted to the place as the General Manager.
Ms. Fashola also did not respond to our call and SMS.
There was also the story of resignation of Mr. Tunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman of Lagos Internal Revenue Service (LIRS). We gathered that Mr. Fowler also met with the governor, Mr. Ambode, who told him point blank that his tenure as the head of the tax agency will expire this year (2015).
The governor, we gathered, later told the Head of Service (HOS), Mrs. Folashade Jaji, to do the needful in making sure the man is eased out of service.
We gathered that Mr. Tunde Fowler himself tendered his letter of resignation, although he is not an appointee of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola. He was appointed in 2005 during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the governor of Lagos State.
It was because of him that the law guiding the entry age into the Lagos State Civil Service was amended from 45 to 55. As at the time he joined the Lagos State Civil Service, he was 46.
Mr. Fowler later responded to our SMS with these words: “Good morning, the Gov. did not ask me to resign. Thank you.”
When we further probed whether he is still the Executive Chairman of Lagos Internal Revenue Service, this is what he wrote in response to our text message. “I am still the chairman and as soon as I resign I will let you know. Thanks.”
– TOLANI ABATTI