NANTA VOTES: Will egalitarianism define its character?

Until recently, nanta was the only travel and tourism industry association in Nigeria, with visible engaging relationships with federal aviation and tourism authorities, and indeed, for many years, key board member of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation( Ntdc) now ntda. Not withstanding the changes in the board of management of ntda, nanta has foraged robustly into other emerging government age

ncies in culture, hospitality, and travel trade bearing oversight authorities, and opened up training and retraining exposure, and also defining collaborative ecosystems, helpful to the future survival of its members.

Soji Amusan, one its former president ( 2003 to 2006), a lufthansa Airlines trained expert and a disciplinarian to the core, once told me that nanta will continue to be relevant to her members and to Nigerians at large, if it could conduct its affairs by obeying and trading according to extant regulations on the down stream aviation sector and also through knowledge and training empowerment of its members to various support opportunities in the economy. So apart from effectively enthroning egalitarianism, what else will shape the voting patterns at the April elective Annual General Meeting slated for lagos? These are difficult questions to hazard a guess, but it’s generally believed that the Gen Z( new generation, young and upmobile) trade professionals may spring surprises as most them want to access equal, just and fair opportunities to contribute effectively and gain from the emerging Nigerian travel economy.
Getting IATA ( International Air Transport Association) licence is a notable dream desirable to stay strong in the trade, same as training and retraining opportunities, mitigation of multiple taxation, mentoring and freedom explore other streams of income, embedded in the octopus travel and tourism businesses, may be activate and propel the search for leaders willing to sacrifice self for the good of all. No doubt the work and achievements of the outgoing president Mrs Susan Akporiaye will impact greatly.
In the past one decade, there has been a troubling growth of elitism in the travel trade sector, with some agencies with deep pockets and alleged nationwide presence, shoving, muscling,and aggressively taking over trade opportunities from up coming trade players. Though technology has gained young trade professionals in roads into the market, there is no denying that the few elitist players still determine who gets the airlines’ inventory ( tickets), which have become a currency of corruption and an instrument to beat the the young players into line by their traducers. The agents in Northern states of Nigeria, in particular, whose fortune and forth lies in trade in religious tourism, hajj in focus, were recently alarmed by the very aggressive presence of few deep pocketed elitist agencies, making a go at taking over their businesses and vowed to resist such overflow. To arrest the growing discontent in the emerging winner takes all an anti egalitarianism scenario, nanta under the outgoing president, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, had for over two years knocked and opened doors of local and international trade, tourism and logistics opportunities for nanta members. Two outstanding outings and nanta presence at biggest global tourism market in London, to which bears new business vistas for nanta members is a visible case in point of an opportunity unveiled. A well attended training course at the prestigious University of Johannesburg, supported by South Africa Tourism was another.
. A Nigerian National Institute for Hospitality IATA scholarship training for travel agents and many other opportunities to which possibly may influence those who will vote for the new nanta president, come April, 2024 , a new year with legs into the countdown to its century old existence . *The Nanta Presidential Hopefuls* At the time of this report on Monday, January 29th, full details of those interested in contesting as members of the national executive Council are yet to emerge. Apart from the presidency, two offices, Public Relations and Financial Secretary Secretary have incumbents and going by nanta tradition, maybe allowed unopposed to complete their tenure, just a year to go on the calendar. Open for context are the positions of treasurer, internal auditor, first National deputy, and second National deputy. Daisy Olotu and Yinka Folami, both from lagos Zone, will square up for the office of the presidency.

Both had publicly indicated interest.. Pastor Chinyere Umeasiegbu and Dr Chima Ihe both from the Eastern zone, bearing all permutations and expected horse trading will take a long walk to the podium for the position of first National Deputy while the North, will present candidates for the Internal Auditor, Treasurer and or second National Deputy. *Will the North exist nanta any time soon?* In ilorin, 199I, it took the wisdom and right political understanding by the then out going president of nanta( 1998 to1991), Mr Femi Adefope to wade off pressures to remain in office by certain hawks in the system who wanted him to continue after serving his two terms tenure. Indeed, there are no nanta known electoral guideline zoning nanta Presidency, however the foundation of egalitarianism which the early founders adhered and believed, led Adefope, a fine gentleman to insist without fear or favour and rightly handed to Alhaji Munzali Dantata(, 1991 to 1993 ) as the first president of nanta from Northern Nigeria. Munzali Dantata who gave nanta presidency his all as a young, energetic and very rich travel trade operator, and owner, was later to become Director, General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies( NIHOTOUR). Dantata also did not forget good done to him to become nanta president when, nanta members from the north ran to him as then DG, Nihotour to kelp facilitate their breakaway from the association due to certain alleged overbearing tendencies of nanta members in lagos in particular which they considered unhealthy to nanta’s foundation ethos. That sentiment still lingers and has led the zone into building one of best zonal offices in the history of nanta, a development many observers see as part of a cultural rehearsal to cut off the umbilical chord with nanta at the centre in future. Though, South of Nigeria produced presidents such as Tereza Ojo( ezeobi) , Bankole Bernard and Mrs Susan Akporiaye, who continued in the tradition of femi Adefope to ensure trade operators and owners from the North remain as key members of nanta, subsequent elections in nanta may have to address this fear. Apart from Munzali Dantata, Alhaji kabir Malan, currently Board of Trustees chairman, Association Tourism Partners of Nigeria ( Atpn) was a nanta president, ditto Alhaji Aminu Agoha ( 2012 to 2016). So of 19 presidents of nanta, the North produced only three, the eastern region, one ( Jerry Nwosu, 1979 to 1980, credited to have successfully mobilized all Nigerian travel trade professionals to form nata). The rest were from the southwest ( middle west). The current outgoing president, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, is from Oron, Akwa Ibom state, but married to a Delta ( mid west) man. *Zonal structure elections* At the time of this report, the North Zone election picture is still hazy. South West ( Ibadan) will possibly run a non opposition election. Babatunde Adesokan is unopposed as he takes vice president slot for the region on a final tenure. Temitope ogunsebikan guns for the secretary unopposed. Others unopposed are Adegbola olufemi Peter, ( financial secretary) Tijjani abdulrogeebboluwatosin ( Auditor) Abass lateef seyi( Tressurer) and Obasa oyebola St George ( Pro). The eastern zone, vp slot, is being contested by Hope Osas Ehiogie, and Iminabo Bruce Prince will. PRO is to be slugged out by effervescent Tony Amaete and one Ruth Ohakwue. Mrs faith Essien is unopposed as secretary ditto Njideka Obi, Tressurer, and the Auditor position, with Onyinyechi okwara as sole candidate.

On the financial secretary position, there will be a two horse race between Emmanuel ufuoma Okpako and Mrs Adaora Okon. Lagos zone is almost a done deal as most positions are unopposed. Yinka Olapade, vp, chinwe Eluchie, secretary,.However Toluwalope Ola, and Monsuru oyebola will square out for financial secretary. YEWANDE Phillips Ogunbiyi (PRO) and Adekunle Oluwole, Tressurer. In our subsequent reports on the elections, we shall endeavour to let you know what is happening in the Abuja and kano zones as both zones are yet to reach us on the developments concerning their local elections.. finally, will money as seen in Nigeria’s election process, influence directions in the April nanta elections,? We shall tell you what we think in our count down reportage.

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