By Benjamin Omoike
Fresh facts have emerged on the reasons behind the recent cabinet shake-up by Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which saw Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuff deployed from Ministry of Home Affairs as commissioner to Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
A reliable source within the Home Affairs ministry which pleaded anonymity revealed that the dissapearance of four pilgrims on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the subsequent cover-up of the incident by the ministry under the watch of Uzamat necessitated her deployment by the governor.
The governor had recently carried out a shocking cabinet reshuffle as some key members of the cabinet were moved from their former ministries to new offices.
The absconded pilgrims belonged to batch one and two of the pilgrims who traveled on the platform of the Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Board last year.
Though one of the absconded pilgrims was apprehended by the Israeli authorities and immediately repatriated back to Nigeria, the other three absconders are yet to be found.
There were also allegations of highhandedness by Uzamat, who was alleged to have used her positions as then Commissioner, Home Affairs to sideline and usurped the roles of the Permanent Secretary; Mrs. Adebunmi Adekanye, by single-handedly allotting slots to her cronies.
She also allegedly withdrew slots usually approved by the state government for State House correspondents and others, and when the issue came up she reportedly called their bluff.
Her matter came to the head at this year’s annual Thanksgiving ceremony organised by the state government within the premises of the seat of power, the State House, Alausa, Ikeja.
This year’s event which organisation was handled by the Home Affairs ministry under Mrs Uzamat was adjudged by those who attended to be the worst and badly organised ever by the state government.
The annual event which usually attracts large turnout of party faithfuls, top government functionaries, top clergy witnessed lack of good organisation which the state government was known for in the past, and befitting the presence of such dignitaries.
The event witnessed more embarrassing moments when the security operatives had to fire teargas to scare away the large crowd who were battling to get the gift of travelling boxes provided by the state government.
Many were said to have collapsed on the floor due to the effects of the teargas.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was reported to have been embarrassed by the incident having made all necessary arrangement for the success of the event.
The governor was also reported to have been briefed on the commissioner’s penchant for highhandedness in the ministries she has occupied in the past.
Uzamat was first appointed by former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as Commissioner for Youth and Social Development in 2015, where she later went on to become Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment in 2018.
While many had expected she would not return as commissioner under Sanwo-Olu’s administration, as many of her colleagues who served under the past governor did not make it back, Uzamat, like a cat with nine lives, was reappointed by governor Sanwo-Olu to head the Home Affairs ministry before her recent deployment.