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Open letter to Ogunlewe

My dear Head of Service,
I WISH to heartily congratulate you on your well deserved appointment as the 16th Head of Service of Lagos State which took effect on May 21, 2010.

Without any stretch of imagination, you are eminently qualified to assume that position having served in many capacities and establishment agencies, one of which was being a private secretary to two former governors of Lagos State.

Your excellent career progression and your disposition as a thoroughbred technocrat stand you in good stead for this exalted position. Besides, the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola believes in you and has so much respect for you which made him to confirm your appointment. It is on the strength of this that l felicitate with you and wish you a meritorious service to the State.

Having said that, I do not want you to get scared or intimidated by the supposed achievements of your immediate predecessor, Mr. Yakub Balogun. Most of the things that he claimed were his achievements were not truly his. Majority of the things he ascribed to himself as his achievements were programmes which were in existence before his assumption.

The two things he can actually lay claim to were the creation of Post Service Department and Introduction of Long Service Award. Anything outside these two were fillers.

My advice to you is to concentrate on the official responsibilities of the office. In the process of carrying out those responsibilities, you would be seen to have recorded some remarkable achievements because administrative achievements are not visibly seen but can be felt.

In essence, what I am trying to say is that you should not deviate from being a pure technocrat you are known for to an overnight politician. Any attempt to be a politician as your immediate predecessor did may make you lose focus and identity.

I also wish to advise you to treat both male and female members of staff equally irrespective of background, cadre and religion. Your immediate predecessor was known for his bias for the female gender so much so that on the occasion of his send-off party, 99 per cent of those who testified to his good deeds were women.

He sometimes openly showed his disdain towards men in matters official and social. When Governor Fashola decided to give Directors brand new official vehicles, all the Tokunbo vehicles previously being used by the Directors were withdrawn from them and reassigned to lower officers. Interestingly, most of the lower officers that benefited from those vehicles were women.

There was a story that made the rounds that he refused to give a Hajj slot to a male officer who had a disagreement with a woman in the Service.

In all this, it took the courage of a Chief Imam of the Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, in his sermon on the final day of Yakub Balogun, to tell him to his face in the midst of the congregation that he, Balogun, should ask for forgiveness from God because he had offended so many people in service.

And this brings me to the issue of pettiness. You are known to be level-headed, humble, gentle and a pure technocrat. Your immediate predecessor was not known for these qualities.

A man who called himself Head of Service stunned members of his Staff at one of the events in the Office when he openly showed the hatred he had for Mr. Rafiu Babatunde Tinubu, the 13th Head of Service, a towering figure who brought formidable reforms to the State Civil Service, by swearing that he would never forgive nor greet him whenever they meet.

Fortunately, the junior staff showed more maturity than their boss by advising him not to tread that path and that life is not like that. A boss who does not know the limit of public expression of anger certainly does not show good example of leadership.

I know you are too decent to involve in such frivolities as dishing out money to officers at occasions in order to be seen as being a ‘good man’. It is not until when you start dishing out money to people on occasions that you will be seen as being generous or good. Only feeble-minded individuals involve in such a trivia. It is immoral, unethical and unsalutory.

I would also strongly advise that you reshuffle and redeploy your Permanent Secretaries particularly those who have spent more than five years in a  particular Ministry/Agency, except those of professional status like the Ministries of Health, Justice, Works and Infrastructure, etc.

As a member of the administrative class and being a beneficiary of the posting to Lands, l don’t know how you can summon the courage to address the misnomer of Administrative Officers being made Scheme Officers in Lands Ministry while Lands Officers are made redundant and useless.

A situation where the sons and daughters of a Kabiyesi and key political figures are posted as Administrative Officers to Land Ministry to handle Schemes and who eventually perpetrate criminalities is a major cause for concern.

Mr.  Adeleye, a civil servant,  writes from Lagos.


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