– The Sun News

Open letter to Minister of Tourism and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Dear Honourable Minister Sir, the recent disheartening development in Nigeria’s tourism industry, particularly at Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) informed the urge to write you this open letter. Indeed, against our prayerful intention and expectations to reap accelerated tourism growth under this administration and under your watch, we are surprised that the multiplication of rot, maladministration and alleged sing-song of corruption still hold sway in most of the agencies under your ministry.
Notably, sir, your unbelievable silence over the open dislocation and destabilization of day-to-day activities at NTDC rankles the mind to no end. Conflict resolution and crisis management, which has become the major face of diplomatic platforms among nations and peoples at a crossroads of conflict, has not in any way been seen to bear on the ongoing and dangerous face-off between staff and management of the NTDC.
In examining this conflict, one is constrained to believe that there is a hidden agenda between your ministry and the management of NTDC to pauperize and enslave the workforce of the NTDC and take over their jobs for whatever selfish agenda. I have on my table several letters written by NTDC workers’ unions requesting for your intervention to break the ice over noticeable shenanigans of NTDC management, particularly but not limited to poor administrative oversight, and setting up of a tourism project unit against extant Planning, Research and Statistic department saddled with all project responsibilities in NTDC.
For lack of space and since the issues that fuelled the crisis are in the public domain, it is critically important that you rise to stop the de-marketing of Nigeria as a tourism destination and NTDC as prime driver of our national tourism initiatives, which the sad commentary has generated.
Interestingly, I had taken this same step a few months ago to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the mistakes at NTDC so as to help salvage our national tourism pride and restore hope not only to the enslaved NTDC workforce but to the industry, which has suffered unmitigated administrative diarrhea from 2013 till date.
Dear Sir, there is no doubt that NTDC and tourism in Nigeria are bleeding from all fronts and we shall continue to stay bleeding until we find the courage to look for the best tourism hands to manage NTDC. You must agree with me, honourable minister, that the vision and expectations of President Buhari for Nigerian tourism have not received support from the management of NTDC in the last seven months and, sadly, you are left to labour in vain and defend federal government tourism action policies.
Mr. Minister, let us examine some of the narratives ongoing today at NTDC and measure them against the anti-corruption avowal of this administration in order to situate the immediate and long-term damage to the image of the country and tourism in particular.
Tragically, the attempt to make industry professionals, the tourism press, NTDC workforce and Nigerians in general to live in denial of the obvious failings and inexperience of the management of NTDC to help turn arund the fortunes of Nigeria’s tourism business leaves much to be desired.
As a Nigerian who is at the threshold of historical certainty, it is unbelievable that you have by your silence and lack of interest in arresting the drift at NTDC admitted defeat and un-ministerial ability to bring our tourism out of the woods.
Maybe, sir, you are waiting for NTDC workers to be shot and wounded in the course of protesting and voicing their displeasure before you address a town hall meeting to find a solution to the disgrace that hugs us all in the face. To look for a scapegoat or rubbish the history of NTDC workforce intervention and desire for best corporate management of tourism in Nigeria in order to sustain the nightmares in NTDC, places your watch and time as tourism minister under President Buhari in jeopardy.
To end this letter, I must, however, appreciate your efforts to lift up Nigeria’s tourism business and the push same to be accepted as an economic driver in this era. Inasmuch as I am not your admirer, I, however, respect your tenacity of purpose and all pulpit engagements to help embellish tourism, even though such efforts had no progressive impact on our museums, National Gallery of Arts or National Theatre as windows of collaborative resurgence and rebirth of our lost tourism glory.
Your best sacrifice for tourism in Nigeria is to heed the call of NTDC workforce and let tourism change begin from there. Say me well to your family and your special assistant, Segun Adeyemi, a gentlemen and fine journalist.


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July 2018
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