THE apex tourism body in Nigeria, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) would need divine intervention to remain as a federal government parastatal.
A reliable source, close to the Senate, who disclosed this to ReportersAtLarge on Monday, explained that the corporation may either be scrapped or merged with another government agency or parastatal.
The source added that there are so many power against the parastatal, “and they will prevail, except for God’s supremacy.”
The corporation, saddled with the responsiblily of tourism promotion and marketing in Nigeria, has, for almost a decade, been in the news for one negative issue or the order.
Since the removal of Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, who could be said to be the most popular NTDC boss in the media, in 2012 when he was away in Dubai on an official assignment, the NTDC DG ‘stool’ has become some sort of banana peel.
Many loyalists to Otunba Runsewe, among the staff of the corporation, the stakeholders and the media, were alleged to have gone the extra mile to to make steering of the corporation’s ship rather more challenging for Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, whose appointment they believed was responsible for the removal of the generous-per-excellence Runsewe. Mbanefo tenure witnessed series of crisis.
Barely six months to the four-year term of Mbanefo as the corporation’s DG, she was removed on November 27, 2016 with a letter, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir David Lawal, with the letter was title “Notification of de-secondment from the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).”
The letter reads in part: “I refer to the attached letter, Ref. No. SGF.6/S.23/1/568 of 8th October, 2013 in respect of your secondment from the Keystone Bank Limited to serve as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) for a period of two years with effect from 6th May 2013.
“You may note from the foregoing that the period of your secondment at the corporation had since lapsed on 5th May 2016.
“Consequently, you are to handover the affairs of the corporation to the most senior officer on or before Wednesday, 30th November, 2016.”
Meanwhile, Mbanefo’s was said to be on full appointment as the corporation’s DG, by the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Mr. Boniface Eboka, Director, Admin and Supplies of the corporation was appointed into the position Nov 30 2016, in acting capacity, following the sack Mrs. Mbanefo by the federal government.
Eboka was removed December 28, 2016 and replaced by Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh, the Director, Hospitality Travel and Trade of the corporation, in controversial circumstances, the same day, and served in the acting alacrity until March 10th, 2017.
Following her appointment, Rae-Omoh fell into controversy over her appointment as a Director, alleging that she was erroneously promoted based on certificate issues.
Dr. Paul Adalikwu, a Director at the Ministry of water Resources was, thereafter, seconded to NTDC as acting DG to steer the ship of the corporation.
Again, tourism stakeholders and travel and tourism experts, who demanded the appointment of an industry stakeholder to salvage the collapsing industry, kicked againsy Adalikwu’s appointment, considering home round peg in a square hole.
This stakeholders believed that the Minister has favoured Adalikwu, whom they said was embroiled in controversy with the Tourism Intervention fund called the Sure-P funds under President Jonathan, to be the Substantive DG.
Adalikwu was later replaced with Folorunsho Coker March 31, 2017.
Staff of the Corporation have been complaining, almost since the resumption of Coker, about his attitude and style of governance, while he and the union body in the corporation have not been on the same page.
Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industries watchers, who spoke with ReportersAtLarge, though expressed their believe in NTDC as a viable body to promote and market the nation’s tourism assets and destinations, but subscribed to the scrapping or merging of the corporation if that will calm the turbulent waters of the corporation and propell true and prwctical development and promotion of the huge and enviable tourism potentials in the nation.