Posted by News Express | 16 May 2013 | 6,801 times
Facts have emerged on why the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, got the boot exactly a week ago.
Industry sources who spoke with News Express said he was sacked for playing to the gallery and failing to deliver on his mandate as the chief promoter of the country’s tourism industry.
“Most of the work is to be done in Nigeria but most of them were left unattended,” one of the sources said. “The former NTDC boss believed change must come from foreign trips, which have ended up yielding nothing other than money for the boys.”
According to the source, “Almost everyone is agreed that Runsewe as NTDC boss was the wrong man for the job; he dragged the NTDC back throughout his entire stay in that office. He was more into self-promotion that developing Nigeria’s tourism and he had a posse of journalists he bought over to so his every bidding; if you did not belong in that group, you were not considered useful. In addition, he had an unquenchable thirst for travelling abroad to almost every tourism trade show with a host of journalists in the guise of promoting Nigeria as a destination and wooing investors. There is nothing on ground to show that those trips yielded much. He was in Dubai at the Arabian Travel Market when he was sacked.”
News Express learnt that Runsewe, a seasoned journalist, was also accused of favouring some stakeholders and ignoring others when they could have helped immensely with selling Nigeria.
The experience of Come to Nigeria, a tourism magazine published by a Nigerian in the UK, was given as an example. According to a source, the magazine’s publisher “paid repeated visits to the NTDC office in Abuja to seek the corporation's endorsement (not money) so that they could use that as tool to secure relevant adverts from tourism related businesses but Mr. Runsewe didn’t honour their request. Why would someone not help people whose only passion is to promote Nigeria’s tourism?”
The source said it’s instructive that “when news filtered in the Runsewe had been eased out, people were celebrating the news like it was Abacha that died again. They were happy to be done with him and looked forward to a better era and what the new CEO will bring to the table.”
Some industry stakeholders have however chosen to look beyond Runsewe’s sack to ask questions about the NTDC’s parent ministry. One stakeholder asked: “What has the Minister of Tourism himself achieved since occupying that position?” The answer, according to him, is “Nothing,” adding: “So it’s not just Runsewe we should focus on.”
Speaking in a similar vein, yet another stakeholder said: “If you compare what’s going on in aviation locally, with Stella Oduah spending huge sums on the airports, you will agree that Chief Tourism Minister Edem Duke is doing nothing. So where is the budget for Ministry of Tourism going?”
According to the stakeholder, “Edem Duke was a private tourism practitioner (he owned hotels in Calabar) and he was once the head of FTAN (Federation of tourism Associations of Nigeria) before he was appointed minister. With such a connection to the industry, everyone expected him to perform wonders but he has been another disappointment.”
But even as stakeholders or a section thereof celebrate Runsewe’s exit, others have expressed worry that he has been replaced with another non-industry person.
Whether the new NTDC DG, Ms. Stella Mbanefo, a banker, cares better remains to be seen.
•Photo: Otunba Runsewe.
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