How is the Nigerian administrative system not like a game of chess? Simple: the moves and checkmates cannot be anticipated, losses are set up to be grandly unpleasant for toppled contestants, and checkmates are a rattling episode for even the most uninterested onlooker. With Fowler left holding the short straw at the game windup, the tables of many folks have been positively rattled.
The news of the exit of Babatunde Fowler from the executive chairmanship of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) was a game-changer for numerous folks. Like the reverberation of any tidal wave, some have been buoyed up in excitement by this development, imagining treasures floating their way, while others – like Jonah – have been swallowed up by the whale of despair.
Tunde Fowler was the boss! In more ways than one, Fowler worked the engines of his regime to dispense sympathy and favour for many a lucky man and lady. A man very passionate about the welfare of young people, Fowler is said to have fathered several of these, employing the vast resources at his disposal to make this young woman smile, and that gentleman gush with gratitude furnished mediums of shelter and transport close at hand.
To have been in his good graces! To have been in his good books! Even more unfortunate that although he was held in highest esteem for his benefaction and patronage, folks at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were not so moved. All the more noticeable since Fowler had allegedly already begun breaking fast with the EFCC while in office.
The most publicized of his involvement with EFCC centred around an alleged 2.1 billion which disappeared with the payment of duty tour allowances (DTA) to staff (about 40 senior and junior management staff of the FIRS, including the Director of Finance, Mr. M. Auta, who were all reportedly arrested in May of 2019).
All that bad rep about stealing public funds – or associating with those who do – could not have been savoury for the former FIRS boss. Add that to his withdrawal from the seat and a spiral begins to crystallize. What his associates and supporters would feel! Tunde Fowler would surely be missed.