Jim Obazee, erstwhile executive secretary of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) of Nigeria, was sacked because the federal government wants to capture an estimated $178 billion believed to be annual remittances to Not-For-Profit Organisation (NFPO) in the national GDP, Armada can authoritatively report.
We also gathered that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Ikechukwu Enelamah may have also been involved in that matter since the said remittances are made into churches, charitable organizations and religious societies.
Aside sacking Obazee and the entire board of FRC, Corporate Governance Code (CGC), initiated by the council which had earlier forced a leadership restructure in Redeem Christian Church God (RCCG) of which Osinbajo and Enelamah are pastors, was also scrapped.
In suspending CGC, Enelamah stated that the newly reconstituted FRC needed wider consultation with stakeholders before its implementation and to further the ease of doing business in Nigeria. But investigations by Armada shows that federal government’s reasons for scrapping the code never existed. Even more, personal and religious group interests may have culminated in the forced exit of Obazee.
Implementation of the code was part of an international accounting standards requisition if the country must attract international investors. The $178 billion, roughly a quarter of the national GDP, say sources, were part of the findings of a study commissioned in 2013 by a group of accounting professionals which led to the phrasing and acceptance of NFPO governance code by erstwhile administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Initially meant to be implemented in 2014/15, former president Goodluck Jonathan, we gathered, put it off so as not to inflame passion ahead the decisive 2015 general election, which he lost to current President Mohammadu Buhari.
While not trying to hem in revenue streams of churches, mosques, charity organizations and religious society, the former administration, while rebasing Nigeria’s economy, realised that these revenue streams needed to be properly captured as part of the GDP. Even more, the country had been under tremendous pressure to adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards if it must continue to attract offshore investments and be respected by the international community and organisations.
As part of the deal, new laws were to be enacted and a new body was to be formed to coordinate these whole efforts. When Enelamah’s predecessor, Olusegun Aganga, gave the mandate to restructure governance regulatory structure in the country, the body closest to making this happen is the National Accounting Standards Board (NASB). Head of its technical committee, Jim Obazee, was asked to midwife the creation of the FRC, the super regulatory agency. By the end of 2014, the entire governance code to regulate all corporate organizations in the country, in line with international standards, was already in place.
Rather than allow the code to take effect, Obazee and his entire board at the FRC were sensationally sacked by the administration that succeeded the one who empowered him. The sack has, however, upped the controversy over the CGC. Experts, for instance, wonder how the set of codes issued by FRC inhibit the ease of doing business when the core mandate for setting up FRC and making laws to back it up is to align the country with requirements of international accounting standards.