FG yields to pressure, removes Sally Mbanefo as DG, NTDC
The Federal Government has yielded to several calls by stakeholders in the Nigerian tourism and hospitality sector for the removal of Sally Mbanefo as the director general, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) for her incompetence and in ability to coordinate government and private sectors in driving the tourism vision of the country.
The removal announced today was contained in a November 27, 2016 letter which was signed by Babachir David Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation. The letter titled “Notification of de-secondment from the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), also directed Mbanefo to handover the affairs of NTDC to the next most senior officer.
It would be recalled that Mbanefo was appointed as Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) on May 6, 2016 while Olusegun Runsewe, the then DG, NTDC was on official assignment at Arabia Travel Market in Dubai, UAE.
Stakeholders in the tourism sector, who seemed to be carried along by Runsewe then, frowned at his removal, especially as the then DG had one year to complete his second tenure. But unfortunately for Mbanefo, the stakeholders who keep calling for her removal for not delivering her mandate of promoting domestic, and also carrying them along, were disappointed when the new administration failed to remove her among the first set of director generals that worked under President Goodluck Jonathan.
Her tenure also witnessed some internal wrangling at the corporation as members of staff embarked on several industrial actions to protest poor working conditions among others.
According to Pascal Edomi, a tourism expert, Mbanefo’s removal was not only overdue, but constitutional as it implied that Federal Government did not approve a second tenure for her going by the fact that the period of her secondment at the corporation from the Keystone Bank Limited had since lapsed on May 5, 2016.
However, the Nigerian tourism stakeholders are calling on federal government to appointment an industry person who knows the issues at stake and ready to work with everybody to make tourism count in Nigeria, especially now that government is serious at diversifying the economy using tourism as the lowest hanging fruit.
“We want an industry person and not political appointees that will be arrogant like Mbanefo because of their political goodfathers. We want results and not promises that will not be fulfilled till they leave office”, Ayomide Balogun, a tourism stakeholder, said.
Already Federal of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), the umbrella body of private sector tourism, and other interest groups are lobbying for replacement.
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