The New Registrar Of Corporate Affairs Commission: A Round Peg In A Round Hole
President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Alhaji Garba Abubakar, an indigene of Bauchi state and a 1988 graduate of law from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU), to head the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in January 2020 . The ministry of trade and investment forwarded the name of Abubakar to the presidency for approval in 2018 . “36 Nigerians indicate an interest in Registrar of Corporate Affairs Commission,” according to a report by an online newspaper, the Periscope. Seven of the candidates that fought for the headship of the commission are incumbent directors. God, the ultimate decider of all affairs, preferred Alhaji Garba Abubakar among the motley group of candidates. There might have been many reasons Mr. President had singled out Abubakar for the job of CAC’s RG. One of those reasons might be his passion for service and altruism.
Industry experts had accused Lady Azuka Obiageli Azinge who acted as the Registrar-General from 0ctober 2017 to January 2020 for lacklustre performance. Under her watch, the commission had witnessed one of its lowest growth, monumental indebtedness, altercation with union, complain of corruption by clients and near total collapse of service. On 25th December 2019 , Sahara Reporters revealed that the Nigerian government prosecuted Ms. Azinge, the former acting RG, on an 11-count charge bordering on abuse of office and flaunting of the code of conduct for public officers. The tribunal recommended for her suspension as the acting Regitrar-General.
The document filed before the code of conduct tribunal accused her of “concealing her Naira, Euro and Dollar domiciliary accounts in Access bank Plc and standard chartered bank.” "She was also accused of receiving allowances, which she knew she was not entitled to as an Acting Registrar-General of the CAC." These were the albatross on the neck of the embattled Ms. Azinge that cost her the job of headship of the CAC.
Mr Abubakar’s appointment, which is in line with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), was the best choice for the commission. Before he joined the CAC, the RG worked with the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (formerly National Provident Fund) as Compliance Officer between 1991 to 1993 . He had a stint with NICON Insurance between June 1995 to December 1997 , from where he moved to the CAC in April 2004 as principal manager in charge of compliance. He rose through the ranks to become a director in January 2016 . As the special adviser to Bello Mahmud, the then Registrar General of CAC between August 2010 to October 2017 , Abubakar sharpened his skills about the intricacies of compliance at the commission. In fact those 8 years were the moment of glory for the new Registrar-General.
A.G as staff call him has what it takes to turn around the fortunes of Corporate Affairs Commission. He had not only been a worthy team player among top management, he also occupied a sensitive and key position that had inputs in every policy formulation and decision making at the commission. Before now, he was a director and a special Assistant at different times. With him at the helm, the Corporate Affairs Commission is in good hands.
Staff consider Abubakar's appointment as a good omen. His Integrity, Patience, calmness, contentment and altruistic mien defines his character. As a child, A.G learnt the values of hard work, self-reliance, respect and service as exemplified by his late father. These are added advantages that will help him create a new corporate culture and image for the Corporate Affairs Commission. On the day he addressed staff after his appointment, he assured them that each one of them would be a dependable ally and a team player in his new resolve to chart a new course for the commission. The Registrar-General warned that it would not be business as usual. He reiterated his passion to serve the Corporate Affairs Commission and solicited support from all and sundry to dedicate themselves to new and strong work ethics to justify the confidence president Muhammadu Buhari reposed in the commission.
A thoroughbred legal officer who knows the Corporate Affairs Commission like the palm of his hand. Abubakar has been in many key and sensitive committees. For instance, He has been a member of the important Governing Council of the Nigerian Bar Association on Business Law from March 2017 till date. He is a member of Inter-Agency Committee Against Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing from 2007 till date and CAC focal on open Government Partnership. The RG is also a member, in-house committee on the review of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), among others.
To run an agency as important and complex as the Corporate Affairs Commission is not in any way easy. It is a Herculean task. It needs a visionary super-manager with a game changing strategy. This, i believe, will not pose a problem to him, because of his broad exposure and because of his pedigree. He has been at the forefront of managing people, resources and businesses. As the scion of late Magajin Rafi and grandson of Prime minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (the name of the gentleman he bears), service and hard work run in his blood. As they say, "every good tree makes good fruits." Alhaji Garba Abubakar is a round peg in a round hole. We hope and pray that his tenure at the helm will be a critical juncture in the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Saleh Bature is Abuja based journalist, social commentator and advocate of dialogue. You can reach him via email at [email protected]