Friday, February 19, 2016 7:26 am
By Eromosele Ebhomele
The Lagos State House of Assembly on Thursday confirmed the appointment of Ifueko Omogui-Okauru, former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, as the maiden chairman of the state Employment Trust Fund.
He was cleared with Akintunde Oyebode, another nominee of the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
Oyebode is to serve as the Executive Secretary of the board.
They were both cleared after being grilled by the lawmakers.
Omogui, a chartered accountant with over 30 years experience, told the lawmakers that the board would adopt strategies that have ensured the success of the traditional way thrift and loans, popularly called esusu.
“Eventhough we are a maiden body, we will start from already laid down template,” she told them.
She explained that she adopted adequate communication, as chairman of FIRS, to make the people aware that paying tax was a social contract while appealing the government to play its own role.
She said her mandate is to encourage employment but that the board would make use of the resident card established for residents of the state to make sure that non-residents do not benefit from the fund.
She further promised that the credibility of the processes to be adopted would endear the fund to the people of the state having in mind that the main role of the fund is to ensure employment.
She commended the state government for earmarking the N25 billion for employment noting that this was proof of the commitment of the state government led by Mr. Ambode.
“We are there to create employment, anything short of that is not our job,” she said while stressing that she had built many organisations from scratch to success just like she is expected to do with the Employment Trust Fund.
She said she would be open for more ideas on how to go about the activities of the fund.
In his comment, Speaker Mudashiru Obasa noted that though Mrs. Omogui-Okauru is highly experienced as shown from her presentation and curriculum vitae, there was nothing that shows how she could effectively relate with the set of people that would desire the fund.
“We are talking about the market women, we are talking about the okada riders, we are talking about the taxi drivers…we are so particular about these people.
“In addition to that, you schooled here in Lagos from primary school. Many of these people would still speak the kind of Language we speak in Lagos.
“There is no way you can establish a smooth relationship when you do not understand the language. This is an area you need to address.
“Somebody asked you about the Economic Team of the last government. Even if we did not know then, we all know now that it was a woeful team. The country is in a sorry state. Everybody is feeling the impact now and we never heard that someone resigned because of mismanagement,” Obasa said.
In a related development, the House has pardoned six Tutor-Generals and Permanent Secretaries of the state for their disrespect to the invitation extended to them to appear before the Committee on Education.
The Chairman of the Education Committee, Lanre Ogunyemi, explained that since the last time he reported that the Tutor-Generals dishonoured an invitation by the committee, the affected officials had met with virtually all members of the House pleading for forgiveness.
The six Tutors-General who appeared before the entire House, also pleaded to be forgiven as they did not intend to be rude to the House.
Spokesperson of the Tutors-General, Iji Mary Taiwo, said: “I want to apologise on behalf of my colleagues for the actions; it was not intentional to disrespect the honourable House and I promise not to repeat the same again.”