The day started like any other day, until when the thunder-like news came. The entire big complex that accommodates political juggernauts and seasoned public and private brains assumed an air of melancholy.
The chief executive officer was struck in bereavement. For hours, Engr. Hamman Tukur could not attend to regular visitors, not even the several official engagements billed for the day. With his head in his two palms, eyes fixed on the roof of the office and feet tapping the floor, he clearly cut a picture of one greatly pained.
Dr. Emmanuel Nsan and Alhaji Abu Gidado, former ministers, Chief A. A. Abam, a former super permanent-secretary and Alhaji Mohammed Lamin, once Constituent Assembly member and other members of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, were heart-broken when they learnt of the death of their colleague, Chief Ojo Fadumila, one time Deputy Governor of Kwara State. Until his demise, he was an active member of the independent revenue and fiscal body
The commission which boasts of who-is-who from each state and the FCT, received the rude shock with the consolation that the deceased lived a fruitful life with his commitment, and dedication to work and personal contribution to humanity.
Since the inauguration of the Commission in September 1999, Prince Fadumila had been an effective member. Due to his track records in the public service, the commissioner was found worthy to be a member of the constitutional committee on the non-oil sector, which ensured prompt collection and full accountability of funds, apart from monitoring revenues from all non-oil sector sources, especially the Nigeria Customs Service, Board of Inland Revenue and the CBN.
Because of his love for education, which characterized his 32-year teaching experience, he was also a member of an in-house committee on training and welfare, advocating manpower development of the members and staff of the commission for optimal productivity and improvement in intellectual output. One outstanding attribute of the late chief was his down-to-earth humility. He interacted with his fellow commissioners in the same way and manner he related with the management staff, even the junior ones. On several occasions, you would see him freely sharing jokes with members of staff.
I recall a day discussing with him when an elderly visitor who was having difficulty entering the commission’s premises engaged the security men in an argument. Prince Fadumila intervened and instead of directing the elderly man to the office he was looking for, held the old man’s hand and led him up to the office. This was a demonstration of the unassuming nature and charisma of the Prince of Kwara. It was due to the respect and high regard which the chairman had for him, that a powerful delegation of the commissioners and some staff was sent to Fadumila while he was ill. The last of such concerns was the chairman’s instruction that the Secretary of the Commission, Deacon Emerhana, should feed him back regularly on the old man’s health. Just as people thought Fadumila was recovering, death suddenly struck with its cold hands and took away this illustrious and patriotic son of Nigeria.
Born on 15 June, 1938, in Omu Aran, Kwara State, Prince Fadumila held several positions and received numerous chieftaincy titles and honorary awards which included principal of several schools, Member, Board of Kwara State Town Planning and Development Authority, Councilor, Irepodun Local Government, Atun base of Olla Land, Babatolu of Oke-Opin, Grand Patron of Jerusalem, honorary member, Rotary Club, among others.
Apart from Kwara State where his performance as a public officer was unprecedented, he also recorded some successes at the national level. He was a party to the success story of the recommended remuneration package for political office holders, which is seen as a step to minimizing corruption in high places. He was also part of the decision to introduce the direct percentage of federation account, which he described during his presentation to the stakeholders in his state as simple, uncomplicated method by which beneficiaries from the federation account will determine actual revenue due to them.
Even though the commission will miss him, most especially now that it is about to submit the new revenue formula for implementation, his successful contributions to the arduous task of the body will forever remain indelible in the minds of all.
It was no wonder that the chairman of the Commission, Alhaji Hamman, described the statesman as an indefatigable, amiable and supportive member of the Revenue Commission. He added that the entire management and staff who received the news of his demise lacked the right words with which to express the sudden loss of the commissioner, on their sorrow. He also prayed to the Almighty God to grant the family and people of Kwara State the courage and fortitude to bear the colossal loss. Adieu, Prince of Kwara.
This article by Yushau A. Shuaib was originally published in the New Nigerian May 26, 2001