Though they are career officers, they wield power and call the shots in the present administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed in Kwara State. These men and women discharge their duties effortlessly and are highly revered by colleagues in the state. Some of them also have direct access to the Chief Executive Officer of the state and even command more respect than some of their commissioners. Meet the Kwara State Super Permanent Secretaries.
Permanent Secretary, Finance: Benjamin Fatigun: He is an associate of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and enjoys unrestrained access to him having worked under him (Ahmed).
The working relationship dated back to when Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed was commissioner for Finance in the state. They were said to have worked harmoniously in managing the finances of the state and this, according to those in the know is why he is strategically appointed to manage the Finance, Treasury and Revenue ministries as permanent secretary, he was however formerly the director, Inspectorate Treasury Headquarters before his appointment as Permanent Secretary, Government House.
Fatigun and his Commissioner, Alhaji Ademola Banu were able to put in place efficient and effective administrative financial policies. The duo have also ensured safe custody and effective inflow/disbursement of public funds among other duties.
He is very conversant with happenings at the ministry that he has represented his commissioner at several functions and also at the Kwara State House of Assembly. Fatigun hails from Obbo-Ayegunle in Ekiti Local Government Area of the state.
Permanent Secretary, General Services, Alhaji Rafiu Ayinla: He is seen by many, not just as a Super Permanent Secretary but the most powerful of all. He is said to be an ally of the Governor and one of the most experienced Permanent Secretaries in the state, having served in similar capacity at the Ministry of Finance and Health. He was also director, Purchasing Finance and Supply (PFS), Ministry of Finance and is said to be the only most senior officer in the state Civil Service after the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold. Ayinla is also one of the two Permanent Secretaries to have been included in the list of a 31-man committee for the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state, slated for May to underscore his influence and wealth of experience. He easily accessed the governor and could get so much done for the ministry, even where the commissioner is helpless.
Permanent Secretary, Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Maryam Ayodeji Garba: It is not a secret that Hajia Garba is known to some of her colleagues as an elder sister of the Governor. Like Ahmed, she hails from Share, Ifelodun Local Government Area. She was formerly at Governor’s Office as a director and would see the governor without recourse to protocol.
According to reports, this diligent woman consistently secures approval for programmes of her ministry due to her closeness to the Chief Executive Officer of the state. According to a reliable source at the Government House, the case of a JSS 3 student of Cherubim and Seraphim College, Ahmed Garba, who recently injured his spinal cord during environmental sanitation in his school, was attended to by the Governor after Hajia Garba interceded. The family of the teenager was paid the sum of N1million through the Ministry of Education, thanks to the quick intervention of the ‘governor’s sister’.
She is one of the 14 Permanent Secretaries appointed by the Governor in October, 2015 and enjoys a robust relationship with her Commissioner, Engr. Musa Ayinla Yeketi.
Permanent Secretary, Health, Works and Transport, Alhaji Abdullahi Ayodeji Yusuf: Some refer to him as super permanent secretary and his portfolios underscore that in the mould of Babatunde Raji Fashola, who is equally manning “three ministries. Not many senior civil servants in the state have the opportunity of overseeing prominent ministries like Health, Works and Transport. For the portfolios to be handed over to one man says a lot about the confidence reposed in such a person by the Executive Governor of the state. Despite the enormous tasks laid on him, Alhaji Yusuf, who was formerly the director, Purchasing Finance and Supply (PFS) at the Governor’s Office, has continued to discharge his duties smoothly with the support of Commissioners of both ministries; Alhaji Suleiman Atolagbe Alege and Alhaji Aro Yahaya.
As the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Works and Transport, Yusuf oversees activities of agencies like the state Fire Service, Vehicle Inspection Unit and the Kwara State Road Traffic Maintenance Agency (KWARTMA). Also, at the health ministry, he is saddled with overseeing the activities of hospitals in the state and management of health institutions. A source called him one of the few permanent secretaries that know their onions in the state.
Permanent Secretary, Political, David Adesina : He is one of the few that write the Governor’s speeches and hails from Ilorin East Local Government of the state. This privileged and noble role has given him the opportunity to have “input and influence” in political decisions of the Governor. The man from Elesinmeta, in Ilorin East Local Government is the second Permanent Secretary to have been included in the list of a 31-man committee for the 50th anniversary of the creation of the state.
Earlier, he was named by the Governor as secretary of workers’ database committee. The committee, according to the governor, who is its chairman, was to overhaul the payroll of employees in the state.
Permanent Secretary, Sports, Solid Minerals, Elder Ayo Samuel: He is the longest serving Permanent Secretary in the state and arguably the oldest in the service. He was director at the Office of Head of Service, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, Agriculture, Ministry of Information and Teaching Service Commission. The highly respected administrator has the ears of the Governor because of his experience across board. Due to the trust reposed in him by the Governor, he was in addition to his briefs made the Focal Person of the Federal Government empowerment scheme and the home grown school feeding programme in the state.
Elder Samuel hails from Koro, and is the Asiwaju of Koro land in Ekiti Local Government Area of the state.
Permanent Secretary, Government House, Alhaji Abdulfatah Adebiyi: With his office located in Government House, Adebiyi is one of the few Permanent Secretaries in the state with unhindered access to the Governor, especially after he served in the same capacity under Ahmed at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, which some have adduced as one of the reasons for his appointment as Perm Sec, Government House. He was also a former director, Purchasing, Finance and Supply (PFS), Civil Service Commission, permanent secretary, Ministry of Education and Liaison Officer, Abuja. He was elevated to the position of permanent secretary by the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki during his tenure as governor of the state. Adebiyi is from Offa Local Government Area of the state.
Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Liaison Office, Abuja, Alhaji Ishaq Abubakar: He developed a close relationship with Governor Ahmed during his time as Permanent Secretary, Government House. His wife, a Justice, is an influential Judge of the High Court in the state. He is said to have strong poltical connection with those that call the shots in the state.
He holds the title of the Ciroma of Ilesha-Baruba and was appointed the pioneer Permanent Secretary of Kwara State Liaison Office, Abuja due to his working relationship with Dr Bukola Saraki, the Senate President.
Permanent Secretary, Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Devt, Hajia Ajibike Katibi: She was formerly in the Governor’s Office as a director and later posted to Women Affairs as director, Purchasing, Finance and Supply (PFS) before her recent posting to the Ministry of Local Government. Katibi was appointed the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Solid Minerals with 13 others on October, 29, 2015. This wife of a former commissioner hails from Asa and is regarded as a protégé of the former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Rasaq Atunwa. She is believed to wield more power than her commissioner and could get a lot done without much ado.