Nigeria’s Future Shines Brighter with Purposeful Leadership, Collective Endeavors

Oyede Latifat is a seasoned chartered accountant with over two decades of experience. She shares her career trajectory and insights gained from her working years including once serving as Project Accountant in a World Bank Assisted Project on Commercial Agriculture Development. In this interview with DAYO EMMANUEL, she discusses how her professional journey has shaped her personal life, emphasizing the importance of orderliness in both spheres. While acknowledging the challenges facing Nigeria’s economy, she remains optimistic, affirming that with effective leadership and collective effort, brighter days lie ahead.

Excerpts:

Can you briefly summarise your journey so far in the public work space?

I have HND (Accountancy) with Distinction from Lagos State Polytechnic, now known as Lagos State University of Science and Technology.
I am also a Fellow of the noble Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), and with over 20 years in the public sector space,
I would say the journey so far has been one with vast experience.

You have such a robust working experience in the public sector. How does it feel being in the public space?

I was opportuned to work in a World Bank Assisted Project on Commercial Agriculture Development for several years as the Project Accountant. There, I had the practical knowledge and exposure on Public Finance and Accounting. The project primarily aimed at improving agricultural production systems across three value chains viz rice, poultry and fish farming for small and medium scale commercial farmers in five participating states in the country.
I was also involved in the development of business plans, contract management and disbursement of project funds targeted at empowering over 350 women and youths.

During these periods, anybody conversant with World Bank assisted projects will agree with me that the job then required lots of documentations and procurement and financial procedures and processes to be followed in achieving the set targets, outcomes and meeting deadlines. So, these and many more various trainings and capacity buildings on financial matters equipped me in developing myself professionally.

Also, I headed the Finance &Accounts department of another agency involved in the construction and rehabilitation of public schools which required lots of knowledge and demonstrations of professionalism in public finance and accounting in order to achieve the desired goals and objectives and in compliance with stipulated Financial Rules and Regulations.

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Presently, my role as the head of Finance&Accounts of an important agency saddled with the responsibility of generating revenue is by no means easier in comparison with the previous places where I have worked.

Going by your records you’ve always been around finance, accounts, documentations how has your discipline influenced your private life in terms of orderliness and financial discipline?

I will rightly say that my chosen discipline has significantly influenced my private life in terms of orderliness, careful budgeting and instilled financial prudence in me, and made me a frugal person by recognizing the value of my time, health and happiness over material possessions in life.

Nigeria is going through a tough time economically and the experience is affecting all other sectors including security and crime management. How do you advise the government as someone who is close to the people seeing the real time issues?

Yes it is true we are at our lowest ebb no doubt. But the good thing is we already identified our problems and I belief we are half way through in addressing them. Government has reached a critical juncture and faced with pressing problems and needs collaboration of its citizens in finding solutions such as investing in citizens engagement. Open and transparency governance will also enable citizens gain insight into what government in doing in order to build trust. With all the adequate and appropriate measures this present Government is putting on in the right places and direction, coupled with our cooperation, we shall all see light at the end of the tunnel.

I like you to also advise students in your area of study. Since you are through it and now in the real world, what should they expect after their youth service if they want to continue in the accounting/finance line?

My sincere advise for them to succeed in the accounting world is to understand the subject by devoting time, choose their priorities wisely and get ready for the real world quite different from what is being taught in the four walls of the school .It’s a gradual process, don’t rush, but be resolute in your chosen career.

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