Why Lagos Shouldn’t have Special Status  – Femi Okunnu

Femi Okunnu, A former federal commissioner for works has provided rationale in a recent interview on Arise TV, for his opposition to the idea of granting Lagos State a special status.
Femi Okunnu
Femi Okunnu

According to Okunnu, he said, "Lagos State doesn't need any special status. I disagree with those who, out of context, began demanding special status for Lagos when it ceased to be the federal capital. That has its own historical meaning."

“The special status as at the time before they moved to Abuja was because diplomatic missions at that time didn’t pay rates that ordinary persons and companies pay. They were exempted from that. 

“Basically that was what gave birth to special status for Lagos. It ceased to apply when the federal capital moved to Abuja, so there should be no special status for Lagos or any other capital of the country.”

The elder statesman faulted the calls for special status for Lagos State, stressing that Lagos doesn’t need special status.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the corruption perpetuated by politicians and suggested that the government should ensure that permanent secretaries rather than ministers should be saddled with the responsibility of accounting in the ministry.

On corruption in the country, he said, “As regards pilfering of money by politicians, when the British left the country, they left a very good civil service. The administration was very good. In 1958 there was nationalization which led to the recruitment of the best brains in the Nigeria civil service. 

“Until the regime of General Babangida, the permanent secretary of a ministry was the accounting officer, not the minister. Babangida changed it, took it away from the permanent secretaries and gave it to political appointees. That is one vital error that the government I hope will correct.

“Make the permanent secretary of the ministry who has worked there for years, let him or her be the accounting officer and not the minister. The minister shouldn’t touch a kobo. In all my seven years, seven months in General Gowon’s government, I didn’t touch a kobo. It was the permanent secretary who will account for the money being voted for the ministry every year. 

“That’s all, restore the office of accounting officer to the permanent secretary. He’s there before the minister is appointed, he will remain there after the minister has gone. 

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