…. Bags honourary doctorate degree from Benson Idahosa University
The Executive Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs Ifueko Omoigui Okauru has advised Nigerian graduates to use their potentials and skills acquired in schools to create job for themselves as there are many areas in the country yet untapped. Shespoke in Benin when the Senate and Council of Benson Idahosa University, BIU conferred on her a Honourary Doctor of Science degree in Business Administration.
Mrs. Omoigui who was the only person so honoured by the university at its 5th Convocation ceremony, where the university graduated 509 students, was commended by Edo state Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who saluted her attainments, recalling that he first noted her brilliance at the Vision 2010 meetings where she headed the Technical Team. The Governor noted that the award demonstrated that it is possible to be so honoured by the Nigerian academic community even if one is not rich but has integrity.
In her remarks at the occasion, Omoigui Okauru told the graduands that “As you leave school, remember you have concluded one phase and started another in the phase of learning and development. If you thought that all the hardwork you had to do to graduate was over, I am sorry to disappoint you. Learning is a journey and you will need to regularly and constantly update your skill and knowledge base.
“Quickly begin to think of how to multitask and how to earn a good living without being dependent on anyone. Please do not fall into the trap of thinking that there is a job out there that your uncle, aunty, friend can help you. Believe me that will corrode your self-confidence and belief in yourself.
“Rather, look for the job yourself that aligns with what you want to do. If you do not find what you want, create the job yourself. Even if an opportunity that presents itself is not what you prepared for initially, broaden your educational scope and perspective. No job is not worth it. Every aspect of society is a potential business.. from the shoe cleaner…. to the road cleaner… to the doctor.. to the teacher… to the accountant…to the tax officer.… to the waste manager. The key is discovering what you are good at, align to the potential out there and make a success of it. Be interdependent and not dependent on others. Have confidence.”
While enjoining the new graduates to pray and be close to God, Omoigui Okauru asked them to build a network of relationships, acquire skills, have the right attitude and seek the support of the family.
The FIRS chairman who saluted the founder of the university- Late Archbishop Benson Idahosa for his vision in establishing the university and the doggedness, with which he worked to realise the dream of the university equally praised the late Bishop’s wife- Archbishop Margaret Idahosa-for seeking out and honouring the man who designed the Nigerian flag and giving him a bungalow.
She said that the Honourary Doctorate degree bestowed on her places her “as part of the Benson Idahosa University Community and likewise places the Benson Idahosa University Community in the business and community of taxation.”
University Orator, Professor P. A. Igbafe, who read the citation on Ifueko Omoigui Okauru described the FIRS Executive Chairman as one of the remarkable women who have won public acclaim and admiration in Nigeria’s national life. He said: “Ifueko has thus become a professional colossus, respected at home and well celebrated abroad: She is diligent in her business, a motivator of her team. She is a dogged fighter for reforms she believes in, and a champion of change and a believer in worthy causes. She now interfaces with development partners- the World Bank, Department of Fund for International Development(DFID), International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)- all in the bid to secure technical support and assistance for the Federal Inland Revenue Service.
He continued: “She is an achiever who has recorded an outstanding performance in the public theatre of this country- a humble, committed, visionary, determined, tireless, simple and intellectually gifted individual. Her contributions so far, as been proved in a few other outstanding cases of feminine performance, in Nigeria, are a justification of a national policy shift that is gender-blind- a forceful argument that, irrespective of gender, responsibility should be given to individuals on the basis of potential and promise, demonstrated ability, talent and flair.”
Ifueko represented Nigeria at the United Nations UN tax conference: Revenue’s Role in Quest for Inclusive Development: the South- South sharing of successful Tax Practices in May 2008 in New York, and equally represented the country at several other international conferences which discussed best practices, transfer pricing, international cooperation and contemporary tax issues. Her revolutionary and systematic approach to revenue collection in the country has culminated in two very wholesome developments. The first is the phenomenal growth in annual tax revenues amounting to over 20 billion US Dollars ($20, 000,000,000). This has to an extent, reduced Nigeria’s dependence on a monolithic source of revenue-oil.
The second is the development and implementation of a Tax Reform Agenda to improve the funding quality and effectiveness of tax administration in Nigeria which has culminated in the drafting of a comprehensive legal framework leading to the passage of four Acts- The Federal Inland Revenue Service(Establishment) Act and National Automotive Council( Amendment) Act, all in 2007. She is at the moment coordinating, among other things, the development of a national tax policy as well as the implementation of a national tax database: including the implementation of a unique Tax Identification Number, U-TIN, for the country. Collectively, these measures amount to a revolution in the revenue collection system in Nigeria.
Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okauru holds Bachelor of Science Degree of University of Lagos and Masters of Science from Imperial College, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (ACTI), Chartered Tax Practitioner and recipient of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) an
d Member of the Federal Republic (MFR). She has been the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service and Chairman, Joint Tax Board of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In August 2009, she was appointed, on individual recognition as, a member of the United Nations’ Committee of experts on Tax Matters in International cooperation. She also represents Nigeria on the council of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) launched recently and successfully on the November 19 2009. She served as a member of the steering group that led to the formation of the ATAF.