FIRS: How cabal ditched Tinubu, snubbed Fowler’s renewal request
The non-renewal of the tenure of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Chairman, Babatunde Fowler, by President Muhammadu Buhari was an obvious snub to the overtures of Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Tinubu who brought Fowler on board as FIRS Chairman had since last year begun a concerted lobby for Fowler, reputed as one of the best tax experts in Nigeria. Political Economist had predicted early this year that Fowler’s tenure would not be renewed not on account of incompetence but on account of nepotism.
Presidency insiders told our reporter that Tinubu was granted good ears in his lobby for his protégé but “it was a false hope”. Those who run the Presidency whom Nigerians refer to as ‘cabal’ had already made up their mind that Fowler must go after he had delivered beyond expectation and raked in trillions of naira more than any tax man ever.
In a letter dated December 9, 2019, (the day his tenure expired) Mr Fowler himself had requested for a renewal of his tenure but unknown to him, the cabal had penciled down a replacement in Muhammad M. Nami, a tax consultant whose experience and qualifications fall far below that of Mr Fowler.
In the letter, addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Fowler had begged for a reappointment for a second time, citing provisions of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 “to consolidate and build on the achievements we have recorded in the past four years.”
However, Aso Rock insiders told Political Economist that the Presidency was only waiting for the formal expiration of his tenure, having found a replacement for him since last year.
Recall that Fowler was queried in August this year to explain the dwindling tax returns, a query he gave a detailed response which exonerated him of any form of incompetence. His explanation showed that while tax from oil sales had dropped due to prevailing global price slump during the period under review, his tax revenue return in the non-oil sector was second to none in the history of the FIRS.
An insider told our reporter that the query was deliberate to test waters and set the stage for his exit from the service after he has set up a ‘seamless and working tax management system’.
By this development, Babatunde Fowler is expected to hand over to the most senior director in the organisation, who will take charge, pending the senate confirmation of the new board.
Nami, a well-trained Tax, Accounting and Management professional, has almost three decades of practical work experience in Auditing, Tax Management and Advisory and Management services to clients in banking, manufacturing, services and public sectors as well as non-profit organisations, the statement by Presidency said.
Nami, with highly-rated qualifications and professional practice and licenses from relevant professional bodies, is an expert in rendering advisory support services to investors in respect of new business start-ups and management of existing businesses.
He has also continuously rendered outsourced services to clients in trading, service and manufacturing sectors of the nation’s economy.
Nami attended Bayero University, Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he obtained Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 1991 and Master of Business degree in 2004 respectively.
He is a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Institute of Debt Recovery Practitioners of Nigeria and Associate Member of Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.
He started his career with PFK in 1993 and rose to the position of Senior Consultant in charge of tax management and advisory services.
He is currently the managing consultant of Manam Professional Services (Chartered Tax Practitioners and Business Advisers) based in Kaduna, Abuja, Niger State.
Nami has served, and is still serving, on many companies’ board and statutory board audit committees.
He was appointed as a member, Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Stolen Assets in November 2017 by President Buhari.