Chief Olusegun Obasanjo led eminent Nigerians to honour a retired police officer, Tunde Ogunsakin, at the presentation of his book on taxes.
TUNDE, let me ask you, is this book not being launched with money? I will get a chief launcher. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, come up. You will be the chief launcher. How can you write a good book like this and not have a chief launcher?”
That was how ex-president and chair of the event, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, conscripted the lawyer, investment banker and entrepreneur into the role on October 14 when a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Tunde Ogunsakin, presented his A Review of Effective Tax Regime in Nigeria.
Invited originally to the ceremony held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos as one of the book reviewers alongside Abiola Sanni, a Professor of Commercial Law at the University of Lagos, Aig-Imoukhuede ended up playing the two roles superbly.
But if guests thought that was the only drama Chief Obasanjo would treat them to at the occasion where various speakers attested to the integrity of the author, a former Director of Operations at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), they were wrong. Obasanjo caused mirth throughout until he left for another programme and handed over to ex-Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke.
In fact, rather than comment generally as chair of the event, the ex-president reviewed the book. “This is a very, very readable book. It’s in a way technical but the layman casn understand it. If I can understand it, anybody could. I found it interesting; very readable. It’s a book you can read in two, two and half hours,” he began.
The Chair, World ex-Presidents noted that though the author identified the three levels of tax administration – local governments, states and the federal government – in Nigeria, he didn’t specify if they were discharging their responsibilities well. Chief Obasanjo also took him up on the uses of tax and those who evade it but nonetheless commended him, “for a job well done and giving me a copy beforehand. There’s a lot tax administrators can learn from the book to reform the current setup and maximise collection. There’s a lot to be done to make people pay their taxes and to assure them that their money is being judiciously used.”
Chief Obasanjo thereafter yielded the podium to Aig-Imoukhuede, who commended the author for going out of his comfort zone to write the book. “Taxation is of fundamental importance to nation building and it might interest you to know that there was cooking oil tax in ancient Egypt,” he said. Aig-Imoukhuede then had a playful dig at Obasanjo with, “it is unusual for the chair of a book launch to have read the book and review it.”
But Obasanjo would not be sweet-talked. “Launch the book before I go,” he told the chair of Coronation Capital Limited. As the banker prefaced the announcement of the amount with some brief remarks, the former president held out a finger to signify one million naira but the banker did far better than that.
Duke, who took over as chair of the occasion, continued in the same light-hearted trend, revealing that the first time he met the author, he was investigating him. “The nation is at a loss because he’s no longer part of the Police Force,” the ex-governor further noted, adding that almost half of Ogunsakin’s friends were suspects he was investigating.
Chair of Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko, lauded the author for putting his retirement into good use, explaining that “a book on tax will strengthen government and its survival and decent existence.”
Earlier while welcoming guests, Ogunsakin who retired as AIG in charge of Zone 12, explained why he wrote the book. He said: “The decision to publish this book was borne out of my desire to evolve a literature that will be of intellectual value to tax authorities in the area of tax collection and enlightenment campaign as well as encourage the Nigerian populace and institutions to pay tax. I am very inspired by the book and the launch to call attention to a global debate on alternatives to oil as the world leading nations are inventing cheaper alternatives to oil as producing nations are undergoing retrogressive variables which are receding purchase and sales of oil in their various categories worldwide.”
The author reserved special thanks for Chief Obasanjo who got him interested in tax issues by appointing him as a member of the Federal Government Panel on Education Tax. “This fired my enthusiasm to research more into taxation…I am indeed grateful sir, for offering me such unique opportunity to serve in such a strategic committee under your government,” he stated.
Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, chair of the Lagos Internal Revenue Service, Ayo Subair; a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Tunde Lemo, spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dayo Adeyeye, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, ex-Vice-Chancellor of the OAU, Prof Tale Omole and rights activist, Tunde Adeniran, were among guests at the ceremony.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo led eminent Nigerians to honour a retired police officer, Tunde Ogunsakin, at the presentation of his book on taxes. TUNDE, let me ask you, is this book not being launched with money? [...]Read Full Story