THE National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) gathered the industry top players to honour three Nigerians who left the comfort zones to give Nigeria footholds in aviation and tourism promotion.
It was indeed a very proud outing for the association which seems to have rebounded under the leadership of Bankole Bernard to give the industry direction in a recession and in so doing occupied the tourism and aviation space.
The NANTA award night which rallied people from all walks of life, honoured some stakeholders who have contributed immensely to tourism industry while in office. Among them were Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the former Nigeria Tourism Development Copoperation (NTDC) boss, Folarin Folorunsho Coker immediate past wave making stetLagos tourism brander and Commissioner of Tourism in Lagos and Alhaji Muneer Bankole who went home with NANTA Eminent Person Award. He was so honoured for keeping Medview flying on London route and for giving Nigerians an airline that can compete with foreign carriers, cheaper and better.
According to Bernard, “unbelievably, NANTA awardees were at one point or the other faced with government impunities and backlash for their uncommon service to the fatherland”
Muneer Bankole, before his venture into airline business breakthrough, was once a staff of rested Nigeria Airways which forced most of its workers into uncertain future. Otunba Runsewe despite his dedicated service to Nigeria was kicked out on political reasons and Folarin Coker asked to go and rest despite visible and believable turnaround he brought to Ambode’s tourism quest.
To all these gentlemen, Bernard felt and submitted that treating our heroes past with disdain would discourage others equally talented Nigerians from coming out to serve.
Bernard urged both state and federal governments to restrain from hasty decisions when it comes to aviation and tourism administration, but rather throw the ‘dirty bath water away’ and not the baby.
Personalities that graced the occasion were former President Obasanjo, Senator Sirika, Minister of Aviation, both represented Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onunugu, Dr Nike Akande, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Mr Pisto of South African Tourism and NUJ President, Waheed Odushile among others.