By Benjamin Okri
The moment I came across that report by The Cable, alleging ‘suspicious’ approvals by the former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhamad Nami, I guessed that Nami would strongly and forcefully respond to the allegations. Less than three hours later, Nami actually responded and matched every bit of the allegation with detailed explanations. Nami’s rejoinder is already generating more reactions as Taiwo Oyedele, who chairs the Presidential tax reform committee has come out to corroborate parts of Nami’s own narrative.
The Cable’s story, which was most likely leaked to the media by those who think that they ‘love’ the new Acting Chairman of FIRS, Zaccheus Adedeji, is already generating reviews by members of the public. Now, instead of concentrating on their jobs, both Oyedele and Adedeji are being forced to be making further explanations, no thanks to those who think that they are doing them favour by leaking official documents to the media.
Nami’s quick response, shredding those allegations are to me expected; because I know Nami fairly well. Here is a man that keeps records. It will be difficult to catch him off-guards. It is still expected that those who ‘love’ Adedeji would still look for more official documents to leak. At the same time, it is expected that Nami would again respond word to word.
This is why this piece of advice is important and necessary: allow the new administration in FIRS to concentrate. Nami has done his part and handed over to Adedeji in a convivial mood. Adedeji is well cut out for his job. He will do well and succeed if he is not being distracted by those who ‘love’ him.
Without any iota of doubt, Adedeji is a man ‘loved’ by the people. Even without his knowledge and consent, these his ‘lovers’ or ‘supporters’ can go any length to ‘protect his interest’ without knowing that they are actually making the times difficult for the present administration in FIRS.
And at this point it is important to remind these ‘lovers’ of the rules of engagement in public service in relation to leaking official documents. The FIRS is expected to view the act of leaking official documents as acts inimical to the well-being of the organization. The FIRS should go the extra mile to discourage this act by investigating and sanctioning the people found culpable.
An insider’s account says that the factor that heightened Nami’s success story in FIRS was basically his mastery of the art of governance and his passion for the job. There are many things one cannot accuse Mr. Nami of no matter how biased or interested the person wants to be. Nami can’t be accused of lacking the prowess to manage a tax organisation. He was able to stick his abundant expertise in the face of his detractors. Nami cannot be accused of arrogance. You can’t catch him flogging anyone with his position or knowledge. Nami can’t be accused of flouting the rules. Every decision he had taken was rooted deeply in the laws and approved policies of the FIRS. Nami cannot be accused of extravagance or wastefulness. Nami cannot be accused of indiscretions. He is known for his ability to measure several times before cutting. And a number of times, he cuts once and gets it right. A number of people who had attempted to accuse Nami of indiscretions ended up sounding like a broken drum—uncoordinated and unbelievable.
As mentioned earlier, Nami has done his part. And he has left the Service with a fairly good record of performance in terms of revenue target and organizational management. He has handed over the baton to Adedeji. All eyes are on Adedeji to out-perform Nami. And it is expected he does…if these his ‘lovers’ would allow him to concentrate.
Benjamin Okri sent this piece from Port Harcourt