More than three months have passed since Babajide Sanwo-Olu was re-elected as the executive governor of Lagos state, and over a month since his swearing-in ceremony. However, he has yet to assemble a proper executive council for the state, causing unease among critical stakeholders.
Sanwo-Olu emerged victorious in the March 18 governorship election, securing a total of 762,134 votes. His closest rival, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labour Party, received 312,329 votes, while Abdulazeez Adeniran of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) obtained 62,449 votes.
The governor’s failure to form a new executive council for a state as complex as Lagos, despite dissolving the previous council on May 24, has raised serious concerns. Some stakeholders, speaking anonymously to National Daily, believe that the delay may be linked to the ongoing federal-level situation, where President Bola Tinubu has yet to appoint ministers.
These stakeholders argue that Tinubu might intend to compensate loyalists who were not granted federal appointments with significant roles in the state, thereby causing the delay in appointing commissioners and other key aides in Lagos.
“Recall that the federal government had to issue a statement debunking the rumor that the Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola was being positioned as Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu,”
“This and many more are part of the reasons why Sanwo-Olu is dilly dallying on who gets what in the state,” the source added.
Defending Gov. Sanwo-Olu, his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, in a statement seen by National Daily, said the state has not broken any law by not yet having a cabinet in place.
He said the constitution allows for 60 days after oath-taking, noting that the governor has only spent 44 days in office because he was sworn in for a second term on May 29.
Akosile added that governance in the state is moving progressively even without the cabinet members.
According to him, the permanent secretaries are fully in charge as the chief accounting officers of their individual ministries and they are working tirelessly with governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in conjunction with the deputy governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, secretary to the state government, the chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to the governor as well as the head of the service, to achieve the administration’s vision of a greater Lagos rising anchored on the THEMES+ agenda.
However, despite these assurances, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, picked holes in Akosile’s argument.
He said a state like Lagos which is cosmopolitan and complex deserves a functional cabinet, for the certainty of administration and predictability of policies.
“Presently, Lagos state is operating without an executive council in place. The house of assembly has since been inaugurated and its officers duly elected. Money is being spent daily without commissioners and without an executive council duly constituted,” he added.
Gov. Sanwo-Olu last month re-appointed Tayo Ayinde and Gboyega Soyannwo as his chief of staff and deputy chief of staff respectively.
The governor also appointed Bimbo Salu-Hundeyin, a federal commissioner, National Population Commission (NPC), as the secretary to the state government.