•Sanwo-Olu to new HOS: ‘Citizens’ hopes rest on your shoulder, you must succeed’
•Governor approves 500% Car Refurbishment Loan for State workers
Mr. Olabode Shuaeeb Agoro, on Tuesday, formally stepped into office as the 22nd Head of Service (HOS) of the Lagos State Civil Service, succeeding Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, who voluntarily retired last September after about five years at the saddle.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu superintended the event where the 56-year-old Agoro took the oath before members of the State Executive Council, House of Assembly lawmakers, Body of Permanent Secretaries and political leaders.
Also, heads of State Government’s parastatals, retired Heads of Service, state employees in different cadres and traditional rulers thronged the Banquet Hall in the State House, Alausa, where the ceremony to usher in the new Lagos public service’s helmsman was held.
Following administration of the oath, Agoro performed his first official assignment, getting the Governor’s approval for the long-sought request of a 500 per cent increase in the Car Refurbishment Loan Scheme for the state employees.
Workers responded to the news with spontaneous celebration. The welfare scheme heralded the arrival of a new sheriff in the Lagos State public service.
Sanwo-Olu described civil service as “a resource centre” of the Government, likening public service to a wheel that keeps governance and the government running.
The Governor congratulated the new HOS, noting that the constitution entrusted the office of the Head of Service with “enormous” responsibilities to provide direction and leadership for the public workforce. Sanwo-Olu urged Agoro to dedicate himself to the task of governance and work to build on the achievements of his predecessors.
He said: “Office of the Head of Service, in a cosmopolitan State like Lagos, carries a lot of responsibility. This is so, because Government relies significantly on the public service for the implementation of policies and programmes. Lagos public service has a great reputation of competence among its peers, but there is still so much to be done in order to continuously raise the bar of professionalism, and to ensure prompt, effective and efficient service delivery that meet global standards.
“Given the high expectations of our citizens, this is the task that our new Head of Service must completely dedicate himself to as he takes on the huge responsibility of providing direction and leadership to the most vibrant and progressive public service in the country. I have no doubt about his capability to lead the Civil Service, and to build on the legacy and achievements of his predecessors. My confidence and trust are predicated on his exemplary contributions, remarkable dedication and his professionalism. Agoro has displayed these attributes over the years as a public servant.”
Sanwo-Olu said his administration recognised the important role public service played in the governance and delivery of democracy dividends to the people. This, he said, was the rationale for constantly prioritising the welfare of civil servants.
The Governor said he raised workers’ salaries last January by 20 per cent, which is above what is obtainable in other states to cater for the welfare. He added that he procured and made staff buses available to transport workers to and from work, thereby reducing their transportation costs due to the current economic situation.
Sanwo-Olu said his Government had ensured housing slots were reserved for civil servants in housing projects undertaken in the State.
The Governor said Muri-Okunola’s tenure as HOS was marked by significant success in the implementation of his administration’s development agenda, urging the new HOS and civil servants to join hand with his Government as it set out to surpass expectations in ground-breaking and milestone achievements across the pillars of THEMES Plus agenda.
Sanwo-Olu said: “Agoro’s journey has been marked by diligence, integrity and a deep love for Lagos and our people. As you take on this new role, please know that you carry the hopes and aspirations of many. You must succeed. On our part, be assured of our full support towards easing the tasks and the challenges ahead of you. I wish you success and pray that you will lead the Lagos State Public Service to new heights of excellence.”
Before his appointment as HOS, Agoro was the longest serving Permanent Secretary, supervising the Lagos State Government Lands Bureau. He also served as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Land Matters to former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Giving his vote of assurance, Agoro said he inherited “a fantastic, vibrant public service” from his predecessor, pledging to build on the legacy bequeathed to him.
The HOS hailed Sanwo-Olu for prioritising the workers’ welfare, pointing out that the approval of the Car Refurbishment Loan Scheme would go a long way in motivating the state employees and raise their dedication.
“My assumption of office as the 22nd Head of Service will bring about new opportunities for the civil servants. Their welfare and working environment will be paramount,” he pledged.
The immediate past HOS, Muri-Okunola, who was physically present at the ceremony, is now the Private Secretary to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.