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Dr. Rabiu Olowo: What To Know About Lagos State’s Youngest Commissioner

Dr. Rabiu Olowo’s presence is sought after in Alausa, the nerve core of Lagos State governance. He is the youngest and arguably the smartest commissioner in Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s cabinet, at the age of 37. As the state’s Finance Commissioner, he oversees the fiscal policy of Africa’s fifth-largest economy.

Dr. Olowo navigates the maze of public policy, taxation, and revenue generation with the deftness of a seasoned specialist, bearing the weight of many ministries on his budgetary management. Everyone listens when he speaks, whether it’s at a high-stakes cabinet meeting or a lecture hall at Lagos State University. The administration’s financial strategy is hinged on the young commissioner.

But Dr. Olowo is more than a lofty title and powerful responsibilities. He’s a polymath, a man whose genius spans from the halls of power to the halls of academia.

Growing up, his ambitions were as broad as they were specific: he wanted to be an accounting and finance titan, consulting for the world’s greatest corporations. Fulfilling this vision was the result of years of hard effort, intense curiosity, and a dogged pursuit of perfection.

Dr. Olowo is a colossal figure in academia. He is a Practice Professor of Business, Finance, and Accounting. His academic record is as outstanding as it is varied. A graduate of Harvard’s famous Kennedy School of Government. He also has an MBA from the University of Lagos and an MSc in Accounting and Finance from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University. His PhD in Forensic Accounting and Auditing from Kogi State University distinguishes him as a thought leader.

He has produced numerous scholarly contributions to the domains of Business, Accounting, and Public Policy in addition to his degrees. His contributions to the Future of Finance, Whistleblowing Culture in Africa, and Sustainable Finance Options in Agriculture have had a significant impact.

He was recently recognized in the governance category of the 40 Under 40 Africa Awards for his outstanding efforts in income, expenditure, debt, and investment management for Lagos. At the Leadership Excellence Awards, Dr. Olowo was also selected the 2022 Public Finance Administrator of the Year.

Lagos State received a triple-A rating from the International Ratings Agency Fitch under his leadership, owing to enhanced accountability, transparency, and budgetary management. Within his first three months in office, he oversaw the N100 billion Series III Bond at 12.25 percent, the largest by any sub-national organization in Nigeria, and arranged a N150 billion syndicated loan at a competitive rate.

Dr. Olowo’s governance is as transformational as it is innovative, from organizing the financial and technical close of West Africa’s first metro line, the Lagos Blue Line, to championing the development of Imota Rice Mill, Africa’s largest. His collaboration expanded to the Ministry of Agriculture, demonstrating his cross-sectoral influence in governance.

He was key in reviewing a new law that would allow for a more flexible tax policy, encouraging voluntary compliance and thereby broadening the tax net. Under his leadership, Lagos State’s revenue increased at a compound annual growth rate of almost 12%.

Despite the heavy pressures of his ministerial responsibilities, Dr. Olowo’s passion for academia never wavered. He is a Lecturer and Executive-in-Residence at Lagos State University’s MBA and DBA programs, where he teaches finance and accounting on a volunteer basis. This dedication to information sharing demonstrates a leader who not only does but also teaches, fostering the next generation of fiscal managers.

Dr. Olowo’s influence extends beyond Lagos and beyond Nigeria. He was the first Nigerian asked to present a presentation at the ACFE Global Fraud Conference, which was attended by over 2000 international delegates in Baltimore, USA. His experience in Internal Control Systems has taken him throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, giving him a multi-geographical perspective that will be beneficial in his capacity as commissioner.

His story isn’t only about the intersection of academia and governance; it’s also about hard-won achievement, a reflection of what can be accomplished with the appropriate combination of intellect, diligence, and purpose. As he conducts Lagos State’s financial symphony, his notes touch on accountability, innovation, and transformation, establishing him as a maestro in a complicated governance ensemble.

Dr. Rabiu Olowo leads with calm and accuracy in the complicated dance of public policy and economic prudence, leaving a legacy that will definitely shape Lagos State for future generations.

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