I first met Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu when I was employed by Mobil Nigeria as a Financial Auditor in May 1985 and he was then Head of the Department where I was posted to work.
As a Chartered Accountant, although I had previously worked as an Internal Auditor at A.G. Leventis Plc which is the holding company of the Leventis Group of Companies,
I found the Mobil Audit Department outstandingly professional in structure, staffing and standard
Under the leadership of Asiwaju, following our operational and financial reviews of different aspects of the business of the Oil Multinational, outstanding recommendations were made that mid-wifed the strategic reforms in virtually all aspects of the business of the Corporation that eventually resulted in operational efficiency and financial growth of the Company.
These achievements received commendations from the Corporation Headquarters in the United States of America and were recommended to other Affiliates of the Corporation world-wide.
As a result of these achievements, the Audit Division was given the additional responsibility of providing Consulting services to other departments of the Company. One of the highlights of Asiwaju’s cerebral endowments was the set of transformatory recommendations made by him following the review of Treasury Operations in Mobil Nigeria in 1988.
The Local Board of Directors was unanimously supported by the Corporation Headquarters in America in appointing Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) to become the Treasurer of the multi-million dollar Company and in their words “implement his Treasury Strategic Reform recommendations”.
Asiwaju undoubtedly lived up to the expectation and reformed the Treasury into a Financial Octopus with the resultant immense
benefits to the Company in terms of world-class financial strategic decisions, management and global integrated business practices.
The multi-million dollar Mobil Headquarters edifice in Lekki which was the first of its kind on that axis symbolizes one of the direct benefits of Asiwaju’s financial strategic decisions as a technocrat for Mobil Nig at that time.
cerebral endowment & his multi-talented skills as a technocrat. I must also confess that I benefited immensely from Asiwaju’s cerebral endowment despite my previous work experience in the Leventis conglomerate which at that time ranked in size and structure with the United African Company (UAC) conglomerate,
I initially found it challenging to cope with the standard at Mobil Nigeria especially as Asiwaju’s skills were simply amazing. Initially, I thought of resigning my appointment but I later decided to be patient, listen to his tutelage and work extra hard.
Eventually, these paid off as my skills became upgraded and I became a star of some sorts, firstly, becoming the first employee to be sponsored on developmental assignment within the two years of his employment and secondly, subsequently being appointed as an International Foreign Resident Consultant (IFR) to six Mobil European affiliates with its accompanied generous salaries, allowances and other benefits.
In August 2000, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as Governor of Lagos State requested Mobil Nigeria to grant me leave of absence to serve the Lagos State Government. The first assignment he gave to me then was to carry out a staff/payroll verification of Lagos State Government employees.
This was then one of his many strategies to increase the quantum of money available for the development of the State by increasing internally generated revenue (IGR) and reducing expenditure through the blockage of expenditure leakages. With the minimum wage benchmark of seven thousand and five hundred naira (N7,500) per month at that time, the assignment revealed that N2billion perannum then was being lost to non-existent employees (ghost workers syndrome).
Needless to say that these savings which could be be extrapolated for the subsequent years became money available for the provision of dividends of democracy to the citizenry.
Asiwaju then directed that the clean employees’ data that resulted from the exercise should be loaded into the well-controlled Oracle Computer system to prevent a re-occurrence of employees’ data manipulation or ghost workers. This staff/payroll verification cost-reduction strategy initiated in Lagos State by Asiwaju has now become the starting-point of financial re-engineering process of every new state governor in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria has also embraced this strategy in the control of its finances.
Almost simultaneously with the Staff payroll verification, Asiwaju initiated a range of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Improvement Strategies.
They included the direct payment of taxes to Government bank Accounts by the payers in order to minimize/eradicate fraudulent practices in tax collection, introduction of
electronic-Tax Clearance Card (e-TCC) in order to increase the tax paying population through easy identification of genuine payers from non-payers. The e-TCC, also, keeps accurate records/history of taxes paid by the holder in addition to eliminating fraudulent tax clearance certificates.
The Asiwaju Bola Ahmed
Tinubu Administration also introduced the Enterprise Registration and Identification Agent (ENTRIDA) scheme to accelerate the expansion of Tax payers’ base of the informal sector. In order to ensure that collections were optimized, Tax Auditors and Tax Monitoring Agents (TAMA) were contracted on commission basis based on the additional taxes collected through their work.
The climax of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu visionary administration in the area of Internally Generated Revenue was the transformation and associated autonomy granted the State Inland Revenue Service (LIRS) in year 2005 which have
accelerated the efficiency, effectiveness and proactiveness of the agency in propelling the IGR of Lagos State from N600 million (six hundred million) monthly in 1999 to about N9 billion (nine billion) monthly at the end of Asiwaju’s tenure as Governor of Lagos State in May 2007 and it is still growing.
This, the whole range of IGR improvement strategies envisioned and implemented for Lagos State by Asiwaju has continued to give Lagos State Government a leading edge in the provision of developmental opportunities and other dividends of democracy in the comity of states in Nigeria and, indeed, African continent.
by Akin Doherty
Excepts from the book “Asíwájú…Leadership in troubled Times”