The umbrella body for Nigeria’s private sector tourism business practitioners, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria [FTAN] has elected new executives to pilot the affairs of the body for the next two years.

The event held in Abuja last week, saw Rabo Saleh Karim of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies [NANTA], as the president. Other executive members elected include Nkereuwem Onung as the first  National Deputy President; Abiodun Odusanwo, second National Deputy President, Ayo Olumoko Vice President, South West; Nura Kangiwa, Vice President, North East; Ngozika Ngoka, Vice President South East; Badaki Aliyu, Vice President , FCT,  Eugene Nwanzi, Vice President South South and John A. Adzer, Vice President, North Central

Also elected are, Ime Udo, Membership Secretary [1]; John-Likita M. Best; [2]; Emeka Anokwuru, Membership Secretary(3); Okorie Uguru, First Publicity Secretary and Joseph Karim, Publicity Secretary [2].

In his goodwill message, the Chairman, FTAN’s Board of Trustees, Samuel Alabi said the era of the Federal Government agency controlling or co-ordinating tourism has gone for good.

He said, that except there is a constitutional amendment to include tourism under the exclusive or concurrent list  of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it will difficult for a federal agency to fully control tourism in the whole country.

Alabi stated further: “The fact that the Federal Attorney General is yet to apply section 215 of the 1999 Constitution of the heavily mutilated NTDC Act is still a surprise to me.”

The Chairman Board of Trustees of FTAN also commented on controversial NIHOTOUR bill: “During my time as the President of FTAN, I approached NIHOTOUR to provide an enabling environment for private sector driven certification body like CITN, ICAN, IPMN, NIPRP.

‘‘In fact, a draft bill was prepared but thereafter nothing was heard from NIHOTOUR end. I was shocked when I saw that the certification bill has been incorporated into the heavily castigated NIHOTOUR bill. I urge FTAN to play a leading role in this regard.”

On his part, the immediate past President of FTAN, Tomi Akingbogun, in his valedictory speech, said the association has expanded its membership base, and also noted some associations that had left the body before, like National Association of Tour Operators [NATOP], have returned to the fold.

Akinbogun said FTAN during his tenure, worked closely with the public sector and has also created programme to promote investment in tourism; the annual NTIFE.

Rabo Saleh Karim, in his acceptance speech, called for peace and greater unity among member associations.

He said: “Going forward, we plead with every one of us to bury the hatchet and pro-actively lend your supporting hands, even as you constructively criticize us.”

“We are not under any illusion of the enormous responsibilities you reposed on us here.

‘‘Membership of FTAN executive council is by no means a ‘time for tea break’ or ‘a walk in the park’.  We shall relentlessly work to ensure that government agencies and the broader private industries in Nigeria become actively aware of FTAN’s activities and programmes.

‘‘More so, we would engage the present government’s ‘ease of doing business in Nigeria’ drive to fully integrate templates that facilitate domestic and inbound tourism sectors in Nigeria.”