By Iorliam Shija
“In your name, the family name is at last because it’s the family name that lasts.”
Once again, the name “Ayabam” has returned to the Benue State administrative circles and with it, mixed reactions . In 2010 when he first appeared as Chairman of Benue State Internal Revenue Service, BIRS, those who knew his pedigree before then were very hopeful and certain of what he would bring to bear on the system.
Those who were unaware of his pedigree so rather focused , perhaps on his age and then boyish looks , comparatively to the task before him , were uncertain and confused. He eventually surpassed both expectations of those who believed in him and those who didn’t. He performed well and stamped his name on the streets of Benue State for all to see and admire .
Mr Andrew Ayabam was born on Thursday, 25th September, 1969, to renowned teachers , Mr Christopher Wayo Ayabam, and Mrs Cecilia Adi-Jatu Ayabam( both of blessed memories), from Ushongo Local Government, at Mkar Christian Hospital, Gboko, Benue State.
Since the Ayabams had lived principally in Benue State, Andrew with his siblings had his upbringing in and around the major Benue towns of Makurdi, Gboko and Otukpo; most of the times, going on transfers with the father. The latter who as a devoted Christian, well known disciplinarian and astute teacher, was deliberately raising Andrew with his siblings, to be good citizens and devoted Christians.
To lay a solid educational background for his son, the father had enrolled him in the best schools in the land then: Robert F Kennedy, Gboko, St Francis Primary School Otukpo, Demonstration School Makurdi, WM Bristow Secondary School, Gboko. He later attended University of Jos, where his got his first degree (Bsc) and then Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU)where he had his masters(Msc).
Mr Andrew Ayabam started his banking career with Afribank(Now known as Polaris Bank) in 1997. He was with the bank from then till 2006 when he joined FCMB. With tact, dedication, show of unusual abilities and unequalled workmanship in the banking system, he got a quick rise to the top cadre in a record time .
Even with all these achievements , at a relatively young age, as it is style, he made no noise. He remained calm, did what should be done as a focused professional and shared quality time with family ( Mr Ayabam is married to Mrs Deyila Hembadoon Ayabam (nee Adedzwa), Daughter of Prof Adedzwa; the marriage is blessed with children.
In 2010, Governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Torwua Suswam, in quest of a person who will improve the Internally Genarated Revenue, IGR of the state which was at its record low , identified his talents and brought him to head the state revenue service. Within few years, he was not only able to raise the IGR, he also created jobs for the agency, leading to enhanced awareness and increased in revenue generation.
As a result of what he did in his first coming, it is to his credit that every house you go to in Benue State, you will surely see someone that Ayabam had employed . Because, government in her wisdom, converted most of the contact staff he employed to drive the process as permanent staff of the state’s service.
There is no place here to pen down what he has been doing in Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, his last employers before coming back to BIRS. The figures speak for themselves.
This Ayabam pedigree , was made in Gboko! As early as 1849, the Mbayion people are said to have settled in what is today known as Gboko; although it took the activities of the Christian missionaries to lay the foundation of the town. Also When Captain RW Downes wrote a report on his assessment of why the British found it difficult to rule the Tiv people, part of his recommendations, which were put in place, was the creation of a Tiv Divison, hence Gboko became its headquarters in 1932.
With Christian missionary activities, government presence and educational facilities, Gboko town was naturally set to become a great town, one which no parents should have fears raising their children in. But events that proceeded seem to conspire against this logic. Although Gboko has produced quite a number of great men, yet In Benue state, in the recent past, the term “IorGboko”, roughly translats as “Gboko people” connotes disorderliness . But that is the town our hero emerged from.
Ayabam tells us therefore that we can be different; we can withstand pressure and make meaning out of our lives and others. He believes faulty systems can be reactivated. That is what has run through his service years .
The parents, especially, his father, a well-known teacher who had taught at GSS Gboko, GSS Otukpo, Government College Makurdi, Government College Katsina-ala and also was the first to teach/introduce Science Education at Queens of the Rosary Secondary School, Gboko, should also be commended for the time and resources they put in to raise a refined son, like Andrew.
Ayabam has not only shown to the younger people that , with carefulness and dedication to service, much could be achieved, but he also communicates to leadership, in Benue State and Nigeria, that leadership must be courageous and goal oriented.
Ayabam says with creativity in leadership that makes allowance for the new technology , team work and is idea based, much can be actualized and targets can be met.
In just a short time, during his first coming , Ayabam brought sanity and clear thoughtfulness to leadership structure . In this his historic second coming( he is the first person since the body was created in 1976 to be appointed twice ), he has no option than to do more for that is the Ayabam pedigree: creating records or breaking already set.
The simple and unassuming man that he is, Mr Andrew Ayabam has not only lived his life in the open, he is accessible; he uses the new media platforms, effectively and his phones are always open.
The governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, appointed Mr Ayabam as Acting Chairman of BIRS on 15th July, 2019. He was confirmed as subtantive Executive Chairman of the board on Thursday, 18th July, 2019 by Benue State House of Assembly.
19th July, 2019