In the words of Harry Golden, “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” If there is anyone who believes so much in this witty and philosophical saying, it is no other than Babatunde Fowler, the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Inland Revenue Service. Indeed, if you have an encounter with this notable administrator and social reformer and you tell him he is lucky based on his current position, he will most probably shake his head vigorously and declare that it is all due to hard work.
And for all his years of hard work, there is also providence. Perhaps, this explains his high profile in the Lagos State civil service that later fetched him the appointment at the FIRS.
But unknown to many, Fowler, who is ‘adjudged’ the best revenue collector in the country, is also a devout Christian. He spends his spare time in worship of God. According to sources, the ex-banker, who is said to live a disciplined lifestyle, doesn’t make any move or take any step without seeking divine guidance. He is said to have absolute trust in God and in the efficacy of prayers.
He started out as a marketing intern with Avon Products Inc., New York, under the Vice President in charge of Africa. Having completed his formal education, he was employed by Johnson and Johnson, New Jersey, USA, under the MBA International Development Programme for a year. Thereafter, he was transferred to join Johnson and Johnson, Nigeria, between September 1982 and September 1983.
He made a career change from international finance and marketing to banking in January 1984. As a banker, he had the opportunity to work and also head varied areas of banking operations and business development in two major commercial banks over the next 20 years.
We gathered that upon leaving the banking industry in 2004, Fowler joined the Lagos State government and was appointed the pioneer Permanent Secretary/ Executive Chairman of the Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue on November 24, 2005 by former governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.