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Sanwo-Olu and his ‘first half’ cabinet nominees

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[FILE] APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (right) exchanging greetings with Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu


When Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu released his list of commissioners and special advisers last week, many were surprised that it was not a full list. Making it public, the Governor said the 25-man list was the first batch, as another is to be released soon. Though there were new faces in the list, some traditional names appeared also.

A statement by his Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile said: “In fulfilment of his election promise to accelerate his administration’s development agenda, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, transmitted a list of Commissioner-designates to the House of Assembly for ratification.”

According to him, the governor arrived at the list after a careful selection based on their cognate experience in their respective professions. The list, Akosile said, comprised technocrats and politicians, who understand the challenges of the state, noting that the painstaking and laborious selection process was in line with the agenda and vision of the administration.

A break down of the list showed 17 men and eight women that would be sworn in as members of the State Executive Council. Also in keeping to his promise of fielding youths, Governor Sanwo-Olu included persons who are in there early and mid-thirties in the list of nominees.

Though the state assembly is on recess, it is expected to resume for legislative fireworks tomorrow. There is a likelihood the Governor might sent the second list tomorrow or before the Assembly concludes work on the 25-man list. It was however gathered that politics of interests is responsible for the Governor’s inability to send a full list, especially as some local governments are yet to have persons on the list of nominees. This, it was learnt was due mainly to managing interests among the power brokers in those local governments.

In the first batch, there are eight women and this seems to be in line with the Governor’s promise that women would be given places and integrated in the decision making processes of the state. No doubt, the next line of action would be for the Governor to ensure that women are given prominent slots in his cabinet, though he started well with the appointment of a woman as the Secretary to the state government.

The tradition in the state, especially from the last two administrations, is to have between 35 to 40-man list of special advisers and commissioners. The immediate past Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode had 35 special advisers and commissioners outside the special assistants and senior special assistants. A break down showed that he had 23 commissioners and 12 special advisers. His predecessor, Babatunde Raji Fashola had 38 special advisers and commissioners in his first term, 21 commissioners and 17 special advisers. In his second term, his cabinet was trimmed down by two from 38 to 36. He increased his commissioners to 23 while the special advisers were 13.

Drawing from what has happened so far and the direction Sanwo-Olu’s administration seem to be headed, his cabinet might be a big bigger. This is because like Tinubu did, which Fashola and Ambode did not adopt, Sanwo-Olu has appointed a Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff, an indication that more appointments are on the way.

It was learnt that the next batch of nominees might not be less than 15. And politicians, who needed to be compensated for the work done during the elections, would dominate. It was even gathered that aside internal politics, the Governor wanted to be strategic by first releasing a list dominated by new names and those felt to be technocrats.

Speaking on the list, Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) Debo Adeniran said many on the list are not known names, except the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Tunji Bello and one or two other names.

“I know that Tunji Bello is an experienced hand on the job. I believe that whatever happens, people like him, will always put in their best, even if they disagree with the entire system. Other nominees cannot be easily x-rayed by me, but what we expect is those who will hit the ground running.

“The governor up till now has not been doing much. For him to have waited this long before nominating his commissioners is a misery and that he has not been able to start, where the former governor stopped is also unexpected. So, he needs a team that can push him to work or he pushes to work effectively. What Lagos wants is not just service delivery but quality service delivery that will ensure that potholes are fixed, water runs in taps, including power and improved ease of doing business.

“If there is no alternative, they should not destroy people’s means of livelihood, like they have done through demolition of stores and ceasing of motorcycles. They should ensure that they care for the rich and poor, not concentrating on the rich that have the wherewithal to take care of themselves. There should be participatory governance, transparency, probity and accountability, which are important.”
Not minding that some of the nominees are not known faces, Adeniran said what the state needs is not personality, but the capacity to deliver quality good service to the people of state. To him, this is what matters. “Once they deliver there is no problem,” he said.


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