In partnership with the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, the AIG Fellowship is awarded each year to an individual who has demonstrated evidence of outstanding contributions to the public good. The 2019/20 AIG Fellowship was awarded to Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru in recognition of her outstanding contributions to public service, as the Executive Chairman of Nigeria’s Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), where she spearheaded comprehensive tax reforms, culminating in the development of Nigeria’s first national tax policy, the modification of tax legislation and a remarkable improvement in the effectiveness of tax collection. Her achievements remain a reference point almost a decade after her tenure in office.

On Friday, October 16, 2020, Mrs. Omoigui-Okauru delivered the AIG annual public lecture titled "Transforming the Public Sector in Nigeria: Reflections from My Leadership of the Federal Inland Revenue Service

During her lecture, she said, “Leading reform or, indeed, any other organisational activity is a team sport. The strength of the institution is in the strength of the team – past, present and future.” The strength of the FIRS team is apparent 10 years after her departure.

Also speaking after the lecture, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, AIG Founder and Chairman said, “The hope and future of our nation lies in the contributions of our young people and those who are truly  committed to the nation’s development. The situation is urgent, we will further expand our scholarships and fellowships and intensify our investments to build a critical mass of capable leaders who can move our nation forward.”

Less than a week after our annual lecture, Nigeria was confronted with the consequences of several years of underinvestment in leadership and capacity building. The Africa Initiative for Governance grieves with the nation at the loss of life and property following recent days of social unrest. We must use this momentary period of darkness as impetus to usher in a new dawn of enlightenment and progress. This is the time to envision what we want our nation to be and to move forward by building and empowering Nigeria’s next generation of leaders.

The AIG scholarship programme awards five scholarships annually to promising future leaders to undertake a Master’s degree in Public Policy (MPP) at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. This September, undeterred by COVID-19 challenges, we embarked on the national selection processes to identify the 2021/22 AIG scholars for Nigeria and Ghana.

Recent events in Nigeria have threatened completion of the scholar selection exercise. We however regard these scholarships as being more important now than ever and will marshal whatever resources are required to complete the exercise in time to meet the closure date for BSG’s MPP application window. Shortlisted candidates will be required to follow stringent health and safety protocols.

Nigeria’s transformation lies in the hands of its youth, who will go on to lead the public and private sectors, and no stone must be left unturned as, we invest in them and build their capacity to rebuild and lead a great nation.