By John Ikani
In about a few hours from today, the tenure of Yewande Sadiku as Executive Secretary and CEO of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) will end. Appointed to the position on September 26, 2016, her five-year term will expire on Sunday, September 26 this year.
The outgoing NIPC boss is one among very few leaders in Nigeria who personify the definition of leadership as “not a position or a title but action and example.” This is as Ms Sadiku has positively altered both processes and results in NIPC over the last five years whilst serving exemplary leadership qualities.
In the beginning was selfless desire with impressive track record
It is commendable to note that Ms Sadiku’s foray into public service was borne out of an ardent selfless desire to serve her nation and humanity by extension. Her drive, focus, attention to detail and passion for transparency and accountability made her the star of investment banking arena and suitable for the NIPC assignment.
Leaving a high-paying job as an investment banker – with a 23-year banking career – to honour an appointment from the Federal Government at NIPC was a rare testament of her strong desire to serve, especially since it resulted in a massive pay-cut for her.
To get things in perspective, Ms Sadiku reportedly earned above N53.7million a year as of September 2016 when she left her exalted job as executive director at Stanbic/IBTC Bank to accept the NIPC job. Her cumulative salary as CEO of the investment agency is N11.4 million a year.
What’s selfless desire without convictions and courage?
Unlike the great multitude of clueless chicken-hearted heads, Ms Sadiku was a leader armed with strong positive convictions and the courage to act on them. She believed Nigeria’s public sector could be salvaged from its putrid rot with the right quality of visionary leadership and went about setting the tone about what is acceptable at the NIPC without fear or favour.
Consequently, she faced and battled resistance from her staff, board members and other interests who are stuck in crooked old ways. These known and unknown persons ensured the reform champion was sued and widely maligned in the media. They also sent petitions demanding anti-graft agencies among other relevant institutions to probe her for unsubstantiated claims.
Transparency, accountability, among other reforms
Described as one of the most investigated public figures, Ms Sadiku was undeterred by the unceasing attacks on her person and administration as she successfully went on to establish numerous reforms that have positioned the NIPC as one of the most open and transparent public agencies in Nigeria.
Notable among the reforms was the revamp of the agency’s website to publicize information that most Nigerian public officers and organisations struggle to keep secret.
The records available include but are not limited to those on IGR income and expenditure, procurement, budget performance, pioneer status incentive reports, court cases involving the agency, FOI requests received and responses made, MOUs and Agreements signed, NIPC annual reports, business registration reports, policy documents, staff information, reports of the One-Stop Investment Centre, research reports and FOI annual reports.
She also developed a daily “Invest in Nigeria” intelligence e-newsletter, which showcases investment opportunities, economic news and investor testimonials into a quarterly Report of Investment Announcements which gives a sense of investors interest in Nigeria.
Not to be left out, Ms Sadiku reformed the Pioneer Status Incentive (PSI) scheme, bringing in new industries and allowing for faster application review and reclassification based on International Standard Industrial Classification.
Therefore, it was not surprising that the NIPC – in September 2020 – emerged second (behind the Bureau of Public Service Reforms) among the 213 Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) assessed for the 2020 National FOI Compliance & Transparency Ranking.
Legacy and bright future ahead
It goes without saying that Sadiku’s legacies at NIPC would last lifetimes. The last five years afforded her an opportunity to serve Nigeria with integrity and she gave the assignment all that she had. It is praiseworthy that the reform champion will be leaving the NIPC better than she met it.
Now, we look forward to seeing her play a greater role on the world stage. This will surely be a positive for Nigeria because her passion for the development and competitiveness of her country will ensure Nigeria benefits from her position on the global stage.
How do we say thank you?
Thank you Yewande Sadiku for setting a very high standard in public service. Thank you for not pretending that someone, somewhere, someday will build the nation of our dreams. Thank you for giving us a foretaste from the flavour of the near future. Nigeria will be great with people of your like. We wish you greater success in your future endeavours.