MY MENTOR – FOUNDER, ReStraL LTD AND ASSOCIATE AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY, MRS IFUEKO OMOGUI -OKUARU

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Born on December 10, 1962, the fourth of five children and the only girl; Mrs. Ifueko M. Omoigui Okauru, MFR would in the 54 years that has followed stamp the acknowledgment of her presence on the world’s mind, bestriding it like a colossus.

Early Life and Education

She attended Queen’s College, Yaba and Federal Government College, Warri for her secondary education. Then onward to the University of Lagos where she bagged a First Class Degree in Accounting, and also the best result for her graduating class, winning in the process, the highest number of prizes ever won by any individual in the Faculty of Business Administration.

She then proceeded to Imperial College of the University of London for a Masters of Science Degree in Management Science, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Her Winning Streak in the Corporate World

She started her career with Andersen Consulting as a National Partner in 1986 until 1996 when she left to found her company, ReStraL Limited, a leadership and management consulting firm of which she was the Chief Responsibility Officer until 2004 when she became its Managing Director, a capacity in which she serves till date.

She also worked with other companies and federal agencies, holding weighty positions that were accompanied with even weightier responsibilities, among which was being the Chairman, Joint Tax Board from 2004 to 2012, and would in the same space of time serve as the Executive Chairman of the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS).

She also had part-time responsibility as Member and Coordinator of the sub-committee on capacity building, United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation on Tax Matters from 2008 to 2012; served as an Independent Director on the board of Diamond Bank from 2012 to 2015, and has continued to serve in this capacity on the boards of Central Security Clearing Systems and Seplat Petroleum since 2013.

She also sits as an Executive director at DAGOMO Foundation Ltd, commencing in 2012,  as a Non-Executive Director with Nigeria Breweries Plc, a position she has held since 2013 and a Managing Partner of Compliance Professionals  Ltd since 2012.

She is a member of the Executive Committee of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), and did research work with the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Science as an Associate Researcher in Leadership, Social Enterprise, Culture and the Nigerian Nation.

Her experience, thus listed, is truly evident of an astute professional who knows her onions in her field of passion, be it in academia or the corporate milieu.

Her Legacies

A firm advocate of finding reasons to give back to the country of your patrimony, she scoffs at the idea of setting base on foreign shores despite having such prospects due to her sheer brilliance and the familiarity of kin in these places. Passion for her fatherland no doubt influenced her campaign to champion tax reforms and the modernisation of the Nigerian tax administration system for the eight years she was in the saddle (2004-2012).

1. Comprehensive National Tax Policy

During her tenure, she spearheaded comprehensive tax reforms that led to development of a national tax policy for the very first time which led to growth in annual tax revenues, amounting to over US$15 billion as at 2009, as well as the development and implementation of a tax reform agenda to improve the funding quality and effectiveness of tax administration in Nigeria.

2. Drafting and Ratification of Tax Laws

She oversaw the modification of nine principal tax legislation, four of which were passed into law, these being:

  • FIRS (Establishment) Act 2007,
  • Value Added Tax (Amendment) Act 2007,
  • Companies Income Tax (Amendment) Act 2007,
  • National Automotive Council (Amendment) Act 2007

She also coordinated the implementation of a national tax database, including the Tax Identification Number, TIN. Four other bills – including the Petroleum Profits Tax Act – with considerations to graft it into the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), currently before the National Assembly.

She also currently serves as Chairman of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (ETF)

Recognition and Awards

She is the first female Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria, and the first female Chairman of the Joint Tax Board of Nigeria. She is a recipient of several awards for distinguished service among which are:

  • Member of the Order of the Niger, MON (2000)
  • Member of the Federal Republic, MFR (2006)
  • Government Personality of the Year, Thisday Newspapers (2007)
  • Induction into the National Women Centre’s Hall of Fame (2007)
  • Named among the 50 outstanding graduates of the University of Lagos, UNILAG (2007)
  • Excellence Award by the Benin National Congress (2007)
  • Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa), Benson Idahosa University, Benin (2009)
  • Named one of the global tax experts in advisory capacity and global best practices by Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations (2009)

She enjoys singing, dancing and solving problems, and is happily married to Asishana B. Okauru, a man she admits is “one of the best things that ever happened to her, her friend, her worst critic and her best admirer.” Together, they are parents of four children – Clara, Michael, Samuel and Nete.

 

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