HAMMAN TUKUR AND THE NATIONAL HONOUR
Daily Trust Dec11, New
Nigeria Dec12, Daily Champion Dec19, Daily Times Dec22, 2003, Saturday Times Jan 17, 2004
those conversant with the Nigerian economy in the present democratic dispensation, a constitutional agency has created tremendous
awareness and public participation on issue bordering on public finance such as monetisation policy, revenue generation, federal
allocation and fiscal efficiency. The agency is the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, under the leadership
of humble and courageous Engr. Hamman Tukur who was recently named for
the conferment of national honours of the Order of Federal Republic (OFR).
Though some leaders have received a lot of accolades from fair commentaries, chieftaincy titles, honorary degrees,
sponsored advertorial and solidarity rallies, there are some achievers whose introverted disposition of refusing to blow their
trumpets are not widely acknowledged. Engr. Tukur falls in this category. Even
though various groups and individuals have nominated him for traditional titles and awards, he often humbly refused such honours
that are usually attached to monetary values, unwholesome reciprocation and objectionable conditions. Not all honours are
bad but the rate at which honours are dashed to wealthy and public office holders without any commensurate contributions and
achievements made the motives of such exercises questionable.
Tributes are also not intended to praise-sing but highlight some emulative sterling qualities and selfless sacrifices
made by individuals and organizations towards a better and prosperous society, not to eulogize selfishness and accumulations
of wealth. Having been close to the chairman at official and personal levels, due to the nature of my professional calling,
I may say that Nigeria is truly blessed
with people of high integrity, honesty and piety.
It may surprise many to note that, under his leadership the Commission received tremendous support from the stakeholders,
especially from President Olusegun Obasanjo who has magnanimously endorsed most of its recommendations for economic rejuvenations.
It is within the first term of the democratic dispensation that the Commission introduced monetisation of public officers’
pay to reduce wastage of funds and instill discipline in the management of public properties; it resolved crises over disputed
oil wells among states in the Niger Delta; it proposed fair and just revenue allocation formula and created awareness on the
need for transparency and accountability in the oil and non-oil sectors for more revenue to the federation account for the
benefit of Nigerian populace. It serves as a forerunner in the campaigns for financial independence of the tiers and constitutional
panels. The Commission also successfully reconciled federal and states’ external debts and by extension recommended
better measures of managing those debts.
As a man who doesn’t believe in cheap publicity to boost any egocentricity, the deployment of this writer to
the Commission on its inauguration in 1999, as Public Relations Officer was received with skepticism. Afterall since the establishment
of the Commission in 1988, there never existed Public Relations Department in whatever nomenclature. It took some level of
reasoning for the consideration of the officer that information dissemination in a democratic era is vital for maximum public
participation in policy formulation and success of people-oriented programmes. The acceptance of the officer also coincided
with the decision of the Commission to marshal out best strategies to seek for public contributions through submission of
memoranda on some of its constitutional roles and requirements.
As a man who appreciates excellence no matter from which tribe, religion and age, Engr. Tukur allowed this writer to
provide full machinery for the Public Relations Unit and to also recommend relevant and qualified officers to beef up the
unit without allowing godfatherism and sentiments into the exercise. This was also extended to state representatives in the
Commission to recommend experienced and qualified staff from their localities to boost its manpower through a recruitment
exercise. The Chairman’s relationships with the committees and departments in the Commission are exemplary.
On personal note, in Public Relations Unit, where the young staff benefitted from regular training to enhance their
professionalism, the chairman neither subjects their press releases to his scrutiny nor interferes with media strategies in
unethical ways. The environment is so conducive to practice public relations
that the officers do have opportunity to engage the Chairman in hot and cordial debate on public issues on one-on-one basis.
To sustain the integrity of the Commission whose activities cut across the tiers and arms of the government, Engr. Tukur initiates
an open door policy of listening and attending fairly to issues brought before the Commission. As an avid reader of most national
dailies, he studies public moods, accepts constructive criticisms, and acts on those relevant to the workings of the Commission.
As a man who values the importance of a well-informed public, the press have access to information that would better the lot
of Nigerians and is straightforward in discharging his responsibilities.
Though being the chairman of the Commission, he doesn’t allow his position to becloud his sense of reasoning
as he sees himself like every other member. Every session of the Commission is a reflection of Market of ideas where members
armed with relevant materials, like lawyers, to debate and take up issues through factual presentations, historical perspectives,
legal and constitutional provisions devoid of political undertones and fables. It may surprise many Nigerians that for the
past four years as the Chairman, he has never travelled outside Abuja
or abroad on official assignments. As a dynamic leader who delegates responsibilities, he prefers members to represent the
Commission at most of the public fora. Though he has higher respect for politicians, but due to his stubbornly principles,
he has strict reservation to partisan politics and sectional alliances. It is
in account of this that he abhors political solutions in place of laid down rules and procedures to resolve sensitive fiscal
Even though to those in business of mass-communication, goodwill is expensive, not in monetary terms, the chairman
created and sustained it through honesty and open interaction with stakeholders. In fact being a constitutional body, the
Commission under him does not treat issues and policies based on sentiment, emotion and politics but purely through acceptable
technicalities and constitutional provisions for fair judgments.
How come he was able to carry out his roles so meticulously and succeeded? The answer is not far-fetched. He had garnered
a lot of experience from academic circle, bureaucratic environment and structural consulting at different stages of his life.
For many years he was the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, Managing Director National Electric Power Authority, Director General
Ministry of Power and Steels and that of Petroleum Resources and was on retirement when the government of President Olusegun
Obasanjo invited him to serve in the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
Though Engr. Hamman Tukur was shocked on learning of the award, he nevertheless credited it to the united family of
the Commission, where some of its members like Otunba Ayora Kuforiji-Olubi, General AB Mamman (Rtd), Chief Bayo akinola and
Alh. Salihu Jega have received similar awards. The Order of the Federal
Republic award to this dynamic Nigerian is truly deserving and timely
for his selfless service, patriotism and loyalty to the nation.