Government decision to retire nine Permanent Secretaries in Ondo State Civil Service was to appoint young officers as Permanent Secretaries.

Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi who made this revelation yesterday also debunked rumour making the rounds that government took the step to pave way for an anointed Permanent Secretary to succeed the outgoing State Head of Service. The current Head of Service, Mr Toyin Akinkuotu retires in August this year.

It was also allegedly rumoured that the state governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, had asked the affected Permanent Secretaries to proceed on compulsory retirement to allegedly pave the way for anointed Permanent Secretary to succeed the outgoing Head of Service

Affected officers are: Dr Deji Akinwalere, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. C. O. Kolawole, General Administration, Mrs T. O. Kolawole, Culture and Tourism, Gray Eshofonie, Agric Input Supply Agency, Mrs C. I. Oyebade, Commerce and Industry, Mr Francis Olu Adaramola, Local Governments Auditor General, Mr Sunday Adegoke, State Auditor General, Mr Ade Akinbosade, Local Government Service Commission and Mrs Odunayo Ketiku, Local Government Staff Loans Board.

According to him, some of the retiring Permanent Secretaries have spent at least nine years in office as Permanent Secretaries of various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government in the state, adding that their retirement has no political undertone as being rumoured in some quarters.

Olowolabi pointed out that immediately the present administration came on board, many people believed that the Head of Service and some Permanent Secretaries appointed by the governor’s predecessor would be removed, but the governor retained him.

“The government simply took the decision to allow younger officers move to the rank of the Permanent Secretary, to pave way for younger officers to be appointed as PS in Ondo State.

“Most of those who are retiring now have been in that position for at least nine years, while some have been there for 13 years, 12 years, 10 years. So, that is the reason, it has nothing to do with governor paving way for anybody.

“Don’t forget that by the time the governor came on board many people thought that the Head of Service who is retiring now was going to be removed. But the governor ensured that he completes his tenure, just like many other Permanent Secretaries who had been appointed before the governor came in. So, essentially one of the reforms put in place in the civil service”, the commissioner said.

On the claim that the affected Permanent Secretaries have not reached their mandatory retirement age of either 60 years of age or 35 years in service, the commissioner explained that the appointment or otherwise of the PS is at the pleasure of the governor.

“The governor can appoint Permanent Secretaries and the governor can also ask them to go on retirement”, Olowolabi emphasised.

He revealed that their retirement was in line with extant circular in the civil service that any permanent secretary who has served for more than eight years could be retired either reaching retirement age or not.