By Nathaniel Ikyur
It was an open secret that he’s return to head the Board of Internal Revenue Service, BIRS again was certain. To some of us, his return was long overdue. It didn’t come as a surprise. It was a deal sealed shortly after Gov Samuel Ortom won a second term arising from poor management of the revenue of the state by the immediate past Chairman.
Before his first appointment around 2012 or so, revenue generation in Benue State was enmeshed in the drawbacks occasioned by the antics of the civil service. There was sharp practices in various revenue outlets. Revenue officers were bereft of what it means to man tax collection or deliberately frustrated revenue generation or both. At the end, government never had enough from it’s internally generated revenue heads. It was purely designed to favour those who manned the office. Consequently, the Benue Board of Internal Revenue Service, BIRS became dormant. But Andrew Ayabam ‘s appointment changed all of that.
Ayabam, a sociologist turned banker reinvigorated the tempo in BIRS and brought out the hidden treasures the state was missing out on. His banking expertise was an added advantage. New innovations were brought in to give life to the dormant economic lifewire of the state. Suddenly, the revenue of the state began to shoot up.
Apart from giving the board and indeed the state a new lease in financial boost, Ayabam’s BIRS became the new haven for young men to be employed and given a fresh start in their lives. As at the last count, hundreds were employed, courtesy of Ayabam. These BIRS graduate-recruits formed a major pool from where the Suswam administration absorbed into the Benue civil service while some were retained by the board itself.
But as it’s inherent in human nature, Ayabam’s success story at BIRS didn’t come without a fight. It’s said that the fight was even from within the government he served. Fingers were pointed at top officials from his local government who were close to the ex governor.
Others accused other highly placed officials in the last administration who frustrated Ayabam’s drive in getting optimum results from his blueprint. The squabbles that followed forced former Governor Suswam to relieve Ayabam of his appointment even before the expiration of his tenure.
Now, Gov Samuel Ortom, desirous of stepping up his service delivery in his last tenure has found the expertise of Ayabam worthwhile. Ayabam’s second coming is to shore up revenue generation to give the government enough resources to meet up with it’s obligations to the people of Benue State. Ayabam’s return, as insiders hinted, will also boost the morale of the BIRS staff across the state which has been lowered in the last one year plus. With this re-appointment, it’s certain Gov Ortom has waved aside every political sentiments arising from his victory at the 2019 general elections to bring in a man with capacity to deliver loads of financial increases to the purse of the state without dipping his hands in the state till.
May God help you. Amen.
Ikyur is a journalist and writes from Makurdi @TheNewsroom