By Ikechi Uko
My attention have been drawn to a widely Circulating petition signed by 5 members of NATOP alleging irregularities in the affairs of NATOP. I have been called by a top Government official someone I respect to withhold any further escalation of the issue until it is resolved. He has asked for Calmness So I will be restrained in my response. I am forced to respond because the petition was copied to all my Clients in Nigeria and abroad so it looks like a hatchet Job to get Ikechi at all cost after the several demarketing efforts of Akwaaba has failed. It is not only a Nigerian issue.
Try to Embarrass him with his international friends seems to be the objective. A childish Criminal recording was attached for full dramatic effect. I know of 4 meetings held last year in Abuja on how to stop Akwaaba in other to launch a new travel Expo in Nigeria. An attempt was made to rubbish the Nigerian media by people who did not attend the event covered by over 40 journalists from all over the Country.
I am also alarmed that respected Leaders of the industry were dragged in and rubbished in the petition. The likes of Kabiru Malan 2 term President of NANTA and former Vice President of NATOP and Currently the President of ATPN were Rubbished as mere friends of Ikechi because he was inducted into the BOT of NATOP. Iyom Josephine Anenih a leading Founding Member of the Federation of Tourism Associations in Nigeria FTAN was also tarred with the same brush.
Gabe Onah the Chairman of the Carnival Calabar Commission who has been former Commissioner of Tourism in his state and Superintends over the biggest Tourism event in Nigeria is further Tarnished because they accepted to serve as BOT of NATOP an association that they have all contributed to build.
Mrs. Garbati is a past President of NATOP a former Deputy President of FTAN, a strong Supporter of NATOP and has kept the association from Collapsing. She even brought in some of the agitators now tarnishing her name and personality. I noticed in the petition every other sentence had a mention of Ikechi Uko and Akwaaba. I didn’t run for any Office before or after. I do not need to defend myself and my contributions to Tourism in Nigeria. I will use the trending meme in Nigeria quoting Charles Okocha ” We global now, I have paid my dues and I deserve some accolades.”
The other Worrying issue for me is the name of Elder Jemi Alade on the petition. I consider Mr. Alade a legend. He is a pioneer Tour Operator. We received the Pioneer award from FTAN together so I respect him. He also participated in all high level meetings of NATOP since 2016 and was present all through the events leading to Jos.
What happened in Jos that has necessitated this bile and letter dripping with meanness?
At the Jos AGM 60 members arrived from Different parts of Nigeria. The Plateau State Government hosted members to dinner party on Sunday. Monday was the Pre event Tour of Plateau and 3 buses were used including 2 NTDC buses Tour Operators along with the Commissioner of Tourism and Special Adviser of Tourism Plateau State along with Directors of the state took the Operators round the state and ended the day with a reception at Rayfield Resort.
The next day was the AGM proper. It was fully Hosted by Plateau State attended by the Deputy Governor and state Executive council and transmitted on State and National media. The President of HATMAN Alhaji Badaki was present along with President of Zoo Keepers association Mr. Andy Ehanire all Members of FTAN Board to observe things. After the conference Members went into the Meeting. After reading of minutes and taking Nominations for BOT. The House approved the nominated Members without Objections. The Audited accounts were presented and this created arguments as some members demanded the Original copies signed by the appointed Auditors. The Financial Secretary /Treasurer produced the documents and it was adopted by the full house.