Umbrella body of travel and tourism journalists in the country, the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism [ANJET] has cautioned the Minster of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, over happenings at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC] that has seen the appointment of three acting director generals for the tourism body within five months.
The body described, in a statement issued Tuesday, described the trend as creating instability as well as tainting stakeholders’ confidence in Nigeria tourism in addition to dampening the enthusiasm of the agency’s workforce.
It would be recalled that a circular issued from the Office of the Head of Service, Friday, had announced the appointment of another Acting Director General, Dr Paul Adalikwu, for the tourism regulatory agency, barely two months after Mariel Rae – Omoh had assumed duties.
Adalikwu, a director in the Ministry of Water Resources, who served as aide to immediate past Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, was appointed in an acting capacity subject to confirmation of appointment.
It would also be recalled that Rae – Omoh in December last year had taken over from Boniface Eboka, a senior director at the NTDC, who was appointed in November as acting DG following the de-secondment of Sally Uwechue – Mbanefo as Executive Director.
The travel Press posited that the frequent change of leadership at the NTDC spells a negative indicator for the industry capable of further worsening the fortunes of tourism, still struggling to make any impact in the country’s struggling economy.
“We believe the minister may not have been informed about the true state of affairs at the NTDC before these appointments which has seen four different acting DGs all in a space of five months, in the same NTDC.
“We restate that we are not against the recent appointment of Dr. Paul Adalikwu. However, we frown at the spate of appointments and changes at the helm of affairs at the corporation, which we believe does not augur well for business in the tourism industry or even at the NTDC itself, especially the morale of the workforce.
“This position is also in view of the sack of up to 15 senior members of staff in the gale of terminations which swept through the corporation last Friday. These frequent appointments can only damage the confidence of stakeholders and other investors alike in the industry which is still struggling to find headway in a difficult economy like ours.
“We are of the opinion that wave of appointment of acting DGs under five months is not the panacea to solving the myriad of problems at the NTDC or in the tourism subsector of the country. The action of the minister, therefore, can only be a recipe for worsening the problems at the NTDC rather than solving it. This is aside the unwholesome prospects instability, disharmony and mistrust among the staff in the corporation which these changes portend.
“If Government insists on continuing with this present change, we believe that the desired purpose envisaged by the minister may not be achieved as it would rather divide the ranks of NTDC and that of the industry whose confidence and thrust would have been eroded by the action of the minister, which by implication means Adalikwu may not enjoy seamless support from the industry and his staff,”
Meanwhile, the Acting Director-General Dr. Paul Adalikwu, has described Tourism as the alternative to oil.
Adalikwu, who said this in his inaugural meeting with the staff at NTDC corporate headquarters in Abuja, gave the assurance of repositioning the industry and the Corporation as well as reviving the Presidential Council on Tourism.
He added: “We shall work with the National Assembly, all other stakeholders to restore NTDC’s lost grounds, to enable the corporation move tourism in the country to the next level.
“We shall engage and partner with state governors who are serious to develop Tourism in their states. While, I will ensure that all NTDC’s zonal offices are positioned to deliver on the Corporation’s mandate.
He further said that the Corporation should be renamed as the “Nigerian Tourism Authority” in line with global best practices, Adalikwu promised to engage relevant stakeholders for improved funding of the sector and the Corporation.
“Let’s join hands. Through team work, we would reposition this industry. I came here to work. Give me time, I’ll deliver. I am very focused on making positive changes in the Corporation and the Tourism Industry. If you have ideas on how to advance the Nigerian tourism, come to me,” Adalikwu told the staff.
While disclosing his intention to work on getting a befitting corporate office for the Corporation, the NTDC boss said he would establish more departments in the Corporation to enable the agency deliver on its core mandates.