From immediate past Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru came an admonition to the FIRS Management yesterday: surpass in two years, what we have done in a decade.
Omoigui Okauru who spoke in Abuja at a sent-forth dinner in her honour by the FIRS said surpassing what she did with others during her tenure is the honour the FIRS could do her and other former chairmen of the FIRS like her predecessors: Mallam Balama Manu, Chief David Olorunleke, Mall Ibrahim Zukogi and Chief Kayode Naiyeju.
Said Omoigui Okauru: “I thank all stakeholders, the staff, members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, The Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, former Presidents, the incumbent President, former ministers, members of Board without whom we couldn’t have done all what you are praising us for.
“`When I came to FIRS in May 2004, I did not come with any special assistance or aid, and when I was leaving in April 9, 2012 I did not go with anything, I left with my bag.
“All we have achieved for the period of my stay in FIRS, I owe it to all of you, for your support, dedication, hard work and cooperation. Now that I have left, the greatest honour and respect you can give us is to take FIRS to a level higher than we left it.
All I did was to provide direction. When you talked about what we achieved, we couldn’t have achieved it but through YOU all, through team work, through you all, the team. Apart from the core Management Team made up of Coordinating Directors, there is the EMM (Enlarged Management Meeting), there are the RCs (Regional Coordinators), there were Tax Controllers and those who work from the headquarters.
“We couldn’t have achieved all we did, in terms of the passage of the tax bills and FIRS Establishment Act without the National Assembly Liaison Committee—some of whom I see in this hall, we couldn’t have achieved improvement in salary without you ( Mashi – Ag Executive Chairman FIRS and Onyegbule Chris the former Board Secretary). This spirit of working together must continue. The best gift for me and all my predecessor who contributed to where we are today (Zukogi, Olorunleke, Balama Manu, Naiyeju the Working Group and the Study Group) .. . “ I have one request.. and the greatest gift you can give us is to take FIRS to where we can’t dream of., you can achieve what we did in a decade in two years and surpass what we have achieved. On my part, I will continue to do my best to serve the country in whatever capacity I find myself.’’
“I have confidence in the Management of FIRS led by Alhaji Kabir Mashi and his Coordinating Directors, Mr. Osy Chuke, Mr. Sunday Ogungbesan, Mr. Onyekachi Ihedioha, Alhaji Abdullahi Attah and Mr. Andrew Ejemeyovwi, other members of Management I have confidence in you all. Continue the good work. I must acknowledge that the words of encouragement and the support from Mr President enable me to have a successful and complete my tenure in office.’’
It was a night of encomiums for the former FIRS chairman as FIRS Board members, Ag. Chairman and staff took turns to celebrate the former Chairman
Coordinating Director, Onyekachi Ihedioha described Omoigui Okauru as one of the greatest Nigerians as she made several FIRS staff including himself to get a job without knowing anybody or without a God-father.
Ag Chairman, Kabir Mashi described the former Chairman as “Our sister, our leader and our mentor. I salute her for her dedication to duty, thoroughness and passion.
“For her several battles for FIRS and for the assurance she will always be in the front to lead FIRS battles, I have named her Sarkin Yaki FIRS. (War leader of FIRS) We pray for you, wherever you are you will continue to support us.. We promise not to disappoint you and we will keep the flag flying. May Allah continue to bless us all.
Board member and former top executive of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, HMRC in the United Kingdom, Dr. Mark Abani saluted, the former FIRS Chairman for her integrity -for saying all she meant and for living it and having a honest heart for the greater good; for being absolutely focused on any goal she sets her mind upon, for her determination and for not accepting that anything is impossible; for being extremely open minded even with board members that were challenging, for her first class brain, for consistently developing herself and the people around her.
“She is an academic with primacy on the practical applicability of academic knowledge. She has improved herself and people around her tremendously in the last eight years, driven and developed processes that have tried to instil and embed transparency in the organisation. She has given hope, belief and confidence to upcoming generations.
Minister of state for Finance Dr. Yeriman Lawan Ngama was also full of praises for Ifueko: “She has brought FIRS to the level where everybody says she has done very well. We have to give it to her because she has changed the context because when you change the context every other things change.
“I know she has her own life to live but I am sure in anything she chooses to do, she is going to excel. .. The best thing you can do for yourself is to do your job and get recognised for that. As we sent you forth today, I believe you can be called on any day to come and serve your country.
Another Board member and the longest serving Chairman of the FIRS, Chief David Olorunleke, who saluted Omigui Okauru’s qualities and contribution said “On this occasion, we found it very difficult to say bye bye to Ifueko. When I first met this petite lady—when I said petite, I mean small and smart looking, I think that was during Vision 2010, the former Head of State, Ernest Shonekan, was the chairman and we were members.
“We did not know where the Chairman (Shonekan) got this young lady. We were wondering what is this young lady doing in the midst of old, and experienced civil servants. But she was the one that gave us the strategy we were going to use. She said then the strategy was for us to know where we were. Where we are and where we want to be in 2010.
“She said that in many simple terms. At the time she finished we were all surprised and asked where did this young lady learn this? This lady could be small in appearance. But her heart is bigger than that of all of us.