|Williams Babatunde Fowler|
All things being equal, seems likely that one of the major contenders for the post of the next Governor of highest Bank in Nigeria might most probably be, the boss of the FIRS, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, who by all indices and indication has done exemplarily well.
From all available reports we are getting, we hear that the ‘tax guru’, who prior to his present assignment and post had been the tax boss in Lagos, which unarguably is Nigeria’s number 1 state in all ramifications. Before Mr. Williams Babatunde Fowler became the boss, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and chairman of the Joint Tax Board, he had gallantly shown his exemplary mettle as the boss of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, where he had more than helped to triple the revenue from tax in the state and even helped to bring some major reforms and sanity to tax collection, tax administration in the center of excellence. It was because, what he was able to achieve was so glaring for all to see, that he was somewhat conscripted to do same at the Federal level too, and we hear that like the man in charge at the Customs and Excise agency and like the man alao in charge at JAMB both of who have performed exceptionally and excellently, he has not disappointed at all too.
So with such a record of achievements that’s so glaringly visible, many are already speculating that the next big step for him, might be for him to take over from the current Governor of the apex bank-Mr. Godwin Emefiele whose tenure would soon be expiring, June of 2019 to be more precise. Emefiele the forner MD/CEO of Zenith Bank was appointed to his post on June 3, 2014 for an initial 5 years term, which is renewable by the President, if he so wish,
Though we hear that Mr. Babatunde Fowler is well content to remain at his post as the ‘Nigerian tax boss’, but he is also not aversed to and would also be favorably disposed to showing his mettle again, if called to a higher office and higher responsibilities as the Governor of the apex bank too. Those who would love him to switch and take up the post are of the good opinion that he is more than eminently qualified for it. Which truly he is.
Mr. Fowler, 62, he would be clocking 63 come August 12, 2019 has had the privilege to have had an exemplarily private and public services career. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater in the US, with a Bachelors in science in Economics and a minor in political science, he went on to get a 2nd degree from the California state university, Los Angeles where he also went on to obtain his MBA too. He began his career path at Avon Products Inc in the US, before he was employed by Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey, it was from there he was subsequently transferred to Johnson and Johnson, Nigeria afterwards. In 1984 he took a new career path, when he switched from international finance and marketing to embrace banking.
From 1984 till 2004, he dazzled all comers in his new career path, growing steadily from Commercial Bank (Credit Lyonais) where he left as a branch manager after a meritorious 6 years service, heading the only branch of that bank outside her head office. In 1990, he moved to one of the biggest banks then, Chartered Bank as a Senior Manager. He worked there from 1990 till 2004, a good 14 years. From being the head of branch networks, where from just 2 branches he grew the network to 11 in just 5 years. He also became the head of revenue collections for both states and Federal agencies and it was here that he showed he was a guru par excellence. Taking his bank to the position of 3 amongst all the banks in revenue collection. He left the bank as a General Manager in 2004.
Upon leaving the banking world in 2004, he joined the Lagos State Government as permanent secretary/executive chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue. That agency of Government became autonomous in 2006 and Mr. Fowler became the 1st ever CEO of LIRS & the Executive chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue. There began the best years of the Lagos State Government.
With what Mr. Fowler introduced, the monthly revenue of Government leaped extraordinarily from 3.6 billion monthly to 6times what it used to be. The improvements were so much that, it made Lagos State the only state in Nigeria that’s independent of the monthly financial allocation from the the Federation account revenue. In fact Lagos State is the only state in the federation that generates her own revenue far in excess of what she gets from the Federation account.
Now the model that he introduced in just a state then and made to work for all of 9 years from 2006 till 2015, he has carried again to the Federal now and it has been yielding extraordinary returns & results too, to the admiration of all. Mr Fowler is an outspoken advocate against over reliance on oil revenue which has been dwindling.
So from every angle one can look at it, to scrutinize it, the Executive Chairman of the FIRS/Joint Tax Board is more than qualified enough to take over at the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN).
Would he become the Governor?
Let’s wait and see. All we are saying though is, who the cap fits, let him or her wear it.
As an aside, a bird 🐦, had whispered in our ear, saying that the forner Governor of Gombe State, who was also a former Accountant General of the Federation, who in fact had had an 11 years stint at the CBN before in the person of ‘Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo’, 57, who is in fact not an APC party member, but of the PDP might be interested in the post too🙄🤔.