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FTAN Restates Opposition to Hosting of UNWTO Conference in Nigeria

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With a few days to Nigeria hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) First Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industries.

The event is billed to open on November 14 and run through to November 17 at the newly renovated National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), has again reiterated its opposition to the staging of the event, cautioning it members and other stakeholders in the culture and tourism value chain to stay clear of the gathering.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the President of FTAN, Nkereuwem Onung, in which the federation, which is the umbrella body for tourism operators in the private sector, adduced reasons why the operators are not taking part in the event.

It would be recalled that in July this year the body wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the conference, stating why Nigeria should not host the event and also addressed a press conference on the matter. However, it should be noted that since the federation made public its stand on the conference, neither the Presidency nor the Ministry of Information and Culture headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had addressed the issues raised by FTAN.

Not deterred by this, Onung stated in the press statement that the action of the Presidency and that of Mohammed has authenticated the federation’s claim of disregard and neglect of the tourism sector and the plight of its operators by the Nigerian government.

Noting further that the determination of the minister to host this conference is at the expense of the sector, which he said is at its lowest ebb in its history due to the total lack of attention to it by the federal government.

According to Onung; ‘‘UNWTO conference holds no good for the country other than using scare taxpayers money to fete a few government officials to a hosted buyer event that would not attract any tourist to the country.’’ He added that; ‘‘it is a wild goose chase of no benefit to Nigeria and Nigerian cultural tourism and creative industries.’’

Onung clearly stated that; ‘‘the conference is a jamboree as it offers no enriching prospect or benefit for the development and promotion of Nigerian tourism and that of the operators,’’ noting that; ‘‘what the nation needs is far beyond symbolic show or circus display which the conference represents.’’

He pointed to the fact that the minister has shown so much disdain for the culture and tourism sector that he has never organised or attended any of the sector related activities this year.

 

He gave an instance of the World Tourism Day celebrated in September 27, which was supposed to be spear headed by the minister. But that the minister neither rallied the sector toward celebrating the day nor monitor any of the events staged across the country. The one held in Calabar, Cross River State was attended only by some heads of parastatals under the ministry.

He also pointed out the forthcoming 35th edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture, Eko NAFEST 2022, which is holding in Lagos between November 7 and 13, almost the same time with the UNWTO event. Despite being under the charge of the minister, he has not one day shown any concern about the event while pulling every rope to garner resources for the organisation and promotion of the UNWTO conference at the expense of his primary responsibility.

Yet, Onung said the minister is not bothered by the implication of this unfortunate development, noting that this is not surprising as the minister has never attended NAFEST in over his seven years as minister and not doing so this year again, means nothing to him, as he is more interested in anything that has the toga of UNWTO on it and not Nigeria.

Speaking further, Onung said that is lamentable that President Buhari has kept Mohammed on the job and tactfully supported a man that in all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is a total failure as a minister in charge of culture and tourism, as neither the nation nor the operators have benefitted from his over seven years stint as a minister.

‘‘No investment into culture and tourism business in the last seven years from the government,’’ he cried, noting that; ‘‘This is one of the issues that bother us.’’ He then queried the need for hosting the UNWTO conference; ‘‘What is the benefit of the conference to Nigeria and Nigerian tourism?’’

In the statement, he further noted that the reason why the federation is crying out again is for the public to know that contrary to the news making the rounds that the private sector and FTAN members are not part of the conference as they are not supporting the charade by Mohammed to further pauperise the sector, its operators and Nigerians.

‘‘This is to set the record straight and for people to know that the federation is not part of Mohammed’s charade as it has resolved to entirely boycott the event.

‘‘If we keep quiet this charade will continue and people will not know the pains of the private sector. It is of no use and benefit to us and they have not told us about it and we really don’t see the need for it.’’

Unperturbed by this development, Onung in the statement said the federation is soldiering on with its solo effort of developing the sector by conducting its scheduled businesses and activities for the month of November.

One of such activities, he noted is the hosting of its yearly Nigeria Tourism Investment Conference and Exhibition (NTIFE) billed for November 15 in Abuja.

He called on all operators in the culture and tourism sector not to be worried by the action of the minister but to be more focused and determined to succeed in their various businesses as they have survived the last seven years without any support from the minister and the current.

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Culture

NANTA President Inaugurates Western Zone Secretariat, Recreation Centre

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Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), on Thursday in Ibadan, Oyo State Capital, inaugurated the Western Zone Office and Recreation Centre.

Located within the confines of the National Museum of Unity Aleshinloye Ibadan, the bungalow structured complex, has a restaurant, a bar, toilets and lounge area, with a Conference hall for meetings.

Unveiling the edifice and supported by Nanta veterans, led by nanta’s first female President, Mrs Teresa ( ezeobi) OjO, Nanta President, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, praised the initiative and leadership of Otunba Babatunde Adesokan for the secretariat project.

“From Abuja, kano , Portharcourt and lagos, my charge and directive to all our zonal leadership, is to make nanta proud by leaving behind legacies and strategic income generating projects which can sustain the association at zonal levels and am happy with what Otunba Babatunde Adesokan has done here. This secretariat and recreation centre is an inspiration and commendable,” Mrs Akporiaye stated.

Ibadan National Museum curator, Mrs Pamela otuka Oriyomi disclosed that nanta western zone was allowed to have a secretariat and recreation centre within the museum complex, due to collaboration agenda of the National Museum leadership in Abuja which believes nanta is at the forefront to drive cultural tourism traffic and also a major player in the promotion ofNigerian historical narratives.

Mrs Teresa Ojo, who spoke for the veterans, expressed happiness with the determination and robust commitment of nanta members and leadership at all levels on changing the Nigerian tourism landscape, effectively and effortlessly, through the promotion of Nigeria at the last World Travel Market in London, first ever by any association, , and urged the Otunba Adesokan led western zone, to break more Ceilings, liberating the zone from the shackles of poverty.

“We are proud with Adesokan and his executive for this cheering effort. We want you to do more, locate and promote local tourism sites and create tourism jobs and other strings of income for members.” Mrs OjO, further stated.

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Culture

Anyiam-Osigwe’s Death Has Created a Vacuum Difficult to Fill, Otunba Runsewe Mourns AMAA Founder

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President, Africa Region of World Craft Council (WCC) and Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has described the death of 53 years old founder of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe as a painful loss to Nigerian culture and creative sectors.

Runsewe said her death leaves a vacuum difficult to fill and prays that God gives the family, and the entire Nigerian culture and entertainment sector the fortitude to bear this sudden tragic loss in a year, the industry is looking up to create more jobs for youths in Nigeria.

“What a loss to our nation and industry. On behalf of NCAC, my family and the entire Nigerian and African cultural tourism industry, I condole with the ANYIAM OSIGWE FAMILY.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, who was also the President, Association of Movie Producers in Nigeria, died at a Lagos hospital, aged 53 years old.

Similarly, the DG NCAC, also commiserated with Mrs. Chika Balogun, former DG, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies (NIHOTOUR) who lost her husband recently and who had been interred according to Moslem rites.

“Mrs Balogun is a valued partner and sister and we, at NCAC sends our heartfelt condolences, wishing Chika to stay strong over the loss of her dear husband.” Runsewe stated

Otunba Segun Runsewe also prayed and sent condolences to Mrs Chioma Ezike of Radio Nigeria and Justina Okpanku of Just Tours, both of whom lost their father and mother respectively.

“These are trying times for these our friends and partners and we thank God for the lives of their parents who lived their full age and gave us these brilliant culture journalists who have been making contributions to the growth culture economy.

“NCAC stands with you both at this hour of your parents passage. Please remain strong” Otunba Runsewe prayed.

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Culture

Breaking: Lagos Wins Eko NAFEST 2022

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By Eric Elezuo

The Lagos State contingents at the National Festival of Arts and Culture tagged Eko NAFEST 2022 has been declared winners of this year’s edition of the weeklong cultural fiesta.

The state, which hosted the event, was proclaimed winner at the end of the event at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena in Onikan having scored the highest number of points.

Ekiti which won last year came a distant third as Rivers and Bayelsa were joint second.

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