Subject to approval by the Lagos State House of Assembly, Lagos Times can authoritatively confirm that Hakeem Muri Okunola, has been appointed as the new Head of Service (HOS), Lagos State.
Until his appointment, Okunola was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports.
Okunola’s appointment follows the statutory retirement of Mrs Folasade Adesoye, the 20th Head of Service, who bowed out of office, after a ceremonial send off was held in her honour at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, on Thursday, December 20, 2018.
By this appointment, 47-year old Okunola, who is popularly called HMO, becomes the youngest person ever, to occupy the much exalted position in the history of the Nigerian civil service.
He also becomes the most powerful civil servant in the state.
The Head of Service position was formerly combined with the Secretary to the State Government during the military regime and the appointed civil servant automatically becomes the Deputy Governor, but the offices were separated in 1999, after former Governor, Bola Tinubu, assumed office.
Okunola studied law at the University of Lagos, before obtaining his Masters Degree in Business Law at the University of London.
HMO was employed as Company Secretary at the state-owned Ibile Holdings before he was headhunted by former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who made him his Personal Assistant.
He was later moved to the Ministry of Lands as Executive Secretary and later upgraded to Permanent Secretary.
The son of highly influential Late Justice Muritala Aremu Okunola, who died in 2004, came into social, financial and political renown, where he flourished unfettered under the administration of former Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who gave him a free hand to run the Ministry of Lands.
However, Ambode’s government redeployed him to the Ministry of Sports, a gesture believed was apparently moved to render him powerless.
HMO virtually disappeared from the social scene and never went near anything beyond his Ministry, but fate has now smiled on him, as he has risen to the zenith of an exemplary civil service career.