Andrew Ayabam: Revenue Generation And The Revolutionary In The Saddle

By Akosu Emmanuel Lubem
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Men of substance often times remain obscure until they are scratched. This is indeed true of Andrew Ayabam, Finance Management Expert and Banker per excellence. Until now he was almost an anonymous personality around the Nigerian Public spectacle. But today, a proof and worth of his expertise and proficient mettle makes him the celebrated bride in both the Private Sector and several revenue generating agencies in the country.

Today the Federal Government of Nigeria finds him worthy of elevation to serve in a rather challenging and lofty capacity as a Director at the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), the Nation’s revenue generation agency - covering Benue, Niger, and Kaduna states in the management of its revenue generation and remittance drive.

This appointment to pundits did by no means appear surprising as many owe it largely to his tract records of service over the years and certainly his near untainted, meticulous and prudent undertakings in both Public and Private Sector callings. Prior to his present status, Andrew Ayabam had earlier impressed equally his former and present employers with a brilliant career and excellent record in the banking sector where he rose through the ranks to the top echelon of its management.

He later became a Regional Manager of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB). He was appointed the Chairman, Board of Internal Revenue Service, (BIRS) in 2010 and practically proved that he was equal and above the challenges of revenue generation, management and remittance in Benue State. He left the services of Benue state Government with prints too difficult for any after him to fill, not to talk of even surpasse.

The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari having realized the centrality and critical demand for revenue generation and management in complementing key policy drive of the government in the face of acute dwindling of crude oil fortunes may have looked thoroughly at the best hands necessary to achieve its intended goals and targets. The appointment of Mr Andrew Ayabam at the FIRS no doubt indicates a pointer that round pegs must be put in round holes. The need for government to ensure it met up with increasing demands of its citizens for better infrastructure and welfare conditions which must be fore mostly anchored on a well structured and transparent management of its revenue generating mechanisms appear apt in the circumstance. Thus the need to enthrone merits system in its selection process may have necessitated the well deserved appointment of Andrew Ayabam at this level. This worthy rise is indeed well thought out, quite merited and deserving at a time the Nigerian state is completely enmeshed in serious economic dilemma.

Ayabam’s journey to revolutionary revenue generation , management and remittance in Benue state which later became a model for several states was first and foremost anchored on sheer transparency, professionalism, absolute dexterity, determination and the selfless mandate to render enduring service to both the government and people of Benue State. He took over a revenue generating board in Benue State that had its structures and operating systems virtually vandalized and almost rendered to pulp. The poor state of its personnel and managerial conduct were either deeply corrupted or endemically inept in its operation and procedures. IGR within the state had drastically fallen to as low as N2 million monthly which in any case ended up for private use.

But Ayabam came saw and eventually conquered. He practically surpassed the expectation of his employer within the span of few months as he spurred the IGR of the state to over N1 Billion. Armed with the needed IGR law in Benue state as Amended by the Benue State House of Assembly, he unveiled the necessary professional tact and with the desired tools in his Kitty he brought about transformation in the revenue generation regime. With a rather profoundly unique and proactive approach to work, he ensured better efficiency and transparency in the system. This display of professional prowess was remarkable as no segment of the Benue community suffered untold hardship and loss even in their business engagements. Social and economic conditions across the state became rather virile, robust and prosperous while he lasted at the helm.

The BIRS under Ayabam became successfully rejuvenated and overwhelmingly result oriented. The Agency created enormous employment opportunities for a very vital segment of the society - the unemployed graduates within the Benue environs and beyond. Graduates from various disciplines who were hitherto harassed across the country in the course of job search and left to their unfortunate state were later gainfully absorbed by the BIRS under Ayabam’s hold. Over 2000 employment slots were opened. 1600 of these were graduates who would enjoy better compensatory and motivational packages as employees of BIRS. These employees went about the businesses of the organization with dignity and productively dished out intended results and better delivery. The BIRS had in place better working conditions with ICT stocked offices to compliment its reliability, greater accuracy and speedy results.

Andrew Ayabam no doubt had utilized his best chances for the good of mankind. He had ensured even as a Banker that the people received gainful employment and social empowerment. His CW Ayabam Foundation had over the years intensified its mandate on youth empowerment schemes to the admiration of many. His private business ventures has in its employ a reasonable number of employees which has helped cut down unemployment in the state considerably.

When in 2014, Ayabam declared his intention to run as Senator representing Benue North-East Senatorial District, his declaration received wide acceptance, cheers and a roared support from teeming Benue populace raging from the graduates who were direct beneficiaries of his employment drive, the artisans, market men and women, farmers, the aged and retirees who felt the impact of his vast employment agenda for Benue graduates who fell among virtually every house hold.

Ayabam sojourn into politics was anchored principally on pure principles and his deep conviction to serve a generation who daily yearned and craved for genuine change and a turnaround of their socio- economic status. Even though many a typical Nigerian politician had failed to remit on promises, Ayabam was seen by many as a last resort for the people to bet on and have him re-awaken their unfortunate status. After all he had been tested times without number and proven to be an effective voice for the oppressed. He stands on the popular side of history to reckon with the people and their near battered conditions.

Though not deeply enmeshed in the wobble bobble of Nigeria politics with its accompanying ills like thuggery, intimidation, self chauvinism, pull- him down syndrome, betrayal and sometimes mindless killings, he however chose to fly his aspirations to serve humanity on the ticket of the APC – A party he believed was rather ideologically driven on its mantra of change and had membership drawn from people of conscience who selflessly paid the price to retrieve the nation and its people from the shackles of underdevelopment insecurity, corruption, ignorance, poverty and neglect.

Andrew Ayabam’ recent height as a Director, FIRS may not appear surprising as he had proven in the past that even a state like Benue State possesses better potentials that can to a large extent effectively become self sustained through efficient and prudent management internally generated resources for overall growth of the state. It indeed shows a potent cursor that he is better placed mentally and physically to live up to his new capacity which fortunately falls in a better placed environment like FIRS. As they say, gold fish has no hiding place. Fairly speaking, Mr. Ayabam’s recent call to serve his country Nigeria at a more challenging and delicate point of the nation’s economy is well deserved. Only time shall tell the worth of this rare business maestro. Indeed only a little of such a time would be required for his worth to play out almost effortlessly but significantly glaring.

Akosu Emmanuel Lubem
Freelance Journalist, Public Affairs Commentator
07038578549. [email protected]

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