Hakeem Olayinka Muri-Okunola, commonly known as HMO, has distinguished himself as the 21st Lagos State Head of Service, leaving an indelible mark on the administrative landscape of the Centre of Excellence.

With his erudite demeanor, suave approach, temperate disposition, meticulous attention to detail, and vast skillset, HMO has amassed an impressive resume that positions him as a beacon of leadership.

As the lead Human Resource executive in the Lagos State Civil Service, HMO has demonstrated uncommon forthrightness and empathy in his role. His commitment to fairness and meritocracy was exemplified when he personally intervened in a case where an individual, despite excelling in an entrance examination and panel interview, was unjustly overlooked due to the lack of a “godfather” in the system. HMO embarked on a thorough investigation, assessing the candidate’s performance and ensuring her appointment based on merit, elevating her from the lowest ebb of despair to the realm of opportunity.

HMO epitomizes the true spirit of the Omo Eko, the indigenous people of Lagos, shattering the misconception of the brashness often associated with Lagos boys. He is a patient listener, ever eager to unravel the complexities of life and resolve any enigma that presents itself. Despite his relatively youthful age, HMO possesses the wisdom of a sage, distinguishing himself as one of the rare leaders who listen more than they speak. Surprisingly, as he ascends to the fifth floor of leadership, HMO resists the allure of excessive fanfare typically associated with Lagos, instead focusing on the task at hand.


HMO’s career trajectory, rooted in his legal background and social orientation, attests to his competence as a civil servant. Becoming the youngest ever Head of Service in Lagos State at the age of 47, HMO has not only injected fresh ideas into the civil service but has also dispelled doubts about his capabilities arising from his age and proximity to the Lagos ruling class. Rising from a successful stint in the private sector, HMO served as the Personal Assistant to former Governor Bola Tinubu, as well as holding the positions of Permanent Secretary in the Youths and Sports Ministry and the Lands Bureau Ministry under former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. A proponent of result-oriented digitization, HMO has introduced innovative approaches to public service and administration within relevant agencies.

Despite his position of power and the accompanying privileges, HMO remains a stickler for excellence, eschewing mediocrity in favor of the highest standards of performance in every aspect under his purview. A truly detribalized administrator, he holds Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the man who afforded him his initial foray into public service, as his idol, valuing humanity above social divisions.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Lagos State University, HMO completed his mandatory Nigerian Law School education in 1995 before earning a Master’s degree in International Business Law from Westfield College, Queen Mary University of London, England, between 1998 and 1999. HMO’s qualifications and educational background further underscore his expertise and commitment to excellence in his role as a public administrator.

In HMO, Lagos State has found a leader who embodies the qualities of a true statesman, combining excellence, empathy, and a relentless pursuit of progress. As he continues to steer the ship of the Lagos State Civil Service, with his visionary approach and dedication to service, the future of the Centre of Excellence appears brighter than ever under his unparalleled leadership.