Home FEATURED FIRS: Fowler Hands Over, Thanks Buhari

FIRS: Fowler Hands Over, Thanks Buhari

Mr. Babatunde Fowler, former Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), handing over to Mr. Abiodun Aina, Coordinating Director, FIRS, at the FIRS office on Monday.

Immediate past Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue

Service, FIRS, Tunde Fowler, yesterday thanked President Muhammadu

Buhari for the privilege he had to serve the nation and for what he

was able to do with the support of all Staff.

Waxing biblical, Fowler noted that the taxman job is one of service to

one’s fatherland as it gives one the opportunity to serve fellow

humans and the nation.

Change, he noted is constant.  It is normal that people will always

resist change, he noted.

He spoke at about 6: 35 pm as he handed over to the Coordinating

Director Domestic Taxes Group, Abiodun Aina, who promised to steady

the ship of the FIRS.

Said Tunde Fowler in a handover over ceremony at the Boardroom of the

FIRS: “Let me thank all of you who are here for what we have been able

to do for our country. From the driver to the senior staff, everybody

played a role.  But with change, sometimes there is resistance. People

will not understand the vision, will not understand the reason for the

change. But hope in leaving FIRS, I’ve left behind something,

something, positive, that each and every one of you can build on.

“We have got a mandate. That mandate is not just to collect revenue.

It’s a mandate to collect the maximum amount of revenue for all

concerned for the benefit of all Nigerians.

“There is nothing automatic about having a second Term.  Some of you

might say it’s a big surprise.  It a privileged to serve one’s

country. And if you have the privilege of serving your country for one

term and you believe you have done your best, you have to thank God

for that.

For those of you we are leaving behind, Ï do not want to get too

scriptural. But I believe that anything that you do, that helps your

fellow human being, your neighbour is a blessing. And I believe that

this job that we have been given is a job that will continue to help

all Nigerians and all people residing in Nigeria.

“We have the opportunity to show the world that Nigeria has a lot to

offer. It was during this period that we had a top Director,

representing Nigeria and the world at the OECD. It was within this

period that Nigeria, for the first time chaired ATAF (African Tax

Administration Forum), for two years running. It was within this

period that Nigeria through your support, was appointed as the 1st

Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee of Tax Experts. So we

have a lot going for us.

“I like you to keep the flag flying, But I hope that sometime, when I

visit, my picture will be somewhere on the wall..

“One thing, for people who have known me for a while, is that some of

them refer to me as a shark. I like to keep people on their toes. Some

of you might have thought that I don’t appreciate your contribution.

But some of you… might have been able to do things better. And part of

my role is to bring out that s potentials in you. And I hope I have

been able to do that. I am content.

“I like to thank the President for giving me this opportunity of

service. It’s a privilege of service to your country. But at the same

time, I believe I leave behind a good crop of directors that can move

this organisation forward.

I will say that for the incoming Chairman, for the incoming Board of

Directors, give them the support. The vision, I believe, is the same

vision that we have. But how to go about it may differ. Open

yourselves up to change. At this point, it gives me extreme privilege,

to hand over the running of this organisation until the Senate

approves the  new Board, to someone who has been here, to someone who

understands the working of the FIRS, to someone who has been part of

the change.  And I believe that you will give him the support, not

even the support you have given me. But more support. SO that when he

hands over the organisation to the new board, they will see that this

organisation is one that shares the same vision, and of course

believes in his mandate. With these few words, I like to say it’s a

pleasure working with all of you.

“Some of you might have thought that don’t like you. But I assure you

it was work. But I believe in this room, we have got a lot of talent

regardless of what happens, keep the flag flying.

“On this note, Mr. Aina, I have the privilege of handing over FIRS to

you.  God bless FIRS. Long live the Republic of Nigeria.

Acting Executive Chairman, FIRS, Abiodun Aina spoke in glowing terms

about Fowler. Said Aina: “Thank you very much Mr, Chairman, my boss,

my brother, and my good friend Sir. As you hand over to me I say what

I’m I running. You have fought a good fight. You laid a very solid


“Within the intervening period that I will be holding forte, I promise

you to steady the ship, by the grace of God. You have done a lot

within the space of four years. You have transformed FIRS. You have

modernised it. There has been a lot of innovations. And under you we

have achieved great heights. When we look back in 2015, collection was

about N3, 3 trillion. At the end of 2018, with your leadership, we

were able to move to N5. 32 Trillion. That was the highest collection

ever, in the annals FIRS. You brought dynamism to FIRS.

“You introduced so many programmes that repositioned FIRS: Tax Amnesty

Programme, implemented VAIDS, increased the no of taxpayers

nationwide to over 20 million in a spate of four years, began placing

lien on the account of taxpayers to ensure that each capable corporate

taxpayers pay his/her dues, fostered collaboration amongst the states

through the Joint Tax Board, began robust information sharing  amongst

states, launched the JTB TIN so that states might have access to data

for tax purposes, deepened FIRS’ embrace of technology for tax

purposes and many more.

“But like you also mentioned in your speech, change is usually

resisted. And so you stepped on toes. That is normal. Leadership is

not a popularity contest. And I’m sure you know that very well. And

that was why you were focused on carrying out the mandate that was

given to you. I can tell you on behalf of my colleagues here that we

will miss you.  You have left a very big shoe behind. We will do all

we can to ensure that we will keep the flag flying.

“Thank you very much for what you have done for us.

As Aina ended his brief remark, directors and heads of department  in

attendance, held  hands and sang For his a jolly good fellow, chorus”

for the outgoing executive chairman. Many pumped hands and thanked

Fowler for his contribution to the Service.


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