Sally Mbanefo’s sack: A necessary end
By Joseph Edgar…I have just read of the immediate sack of Sally Mbanefo, the Director General of the Nigerian Tourism Board, by the Federal Government. This issue and department has been close to my heart ever since we entered this deep economic recession.
You may wonder why and I will tell you. You see, with our dwindling economic fortunes especially with the volatile oil prices, the weak opening demand for commodities all dragging down the GDP and throwing us into a massive calamity, my believe was that other sectors of the economy would step in and fill the void that the above mentioned issue has thrown into our revenue generation capacity.
You see, tourism remains a viable option. Tourism has seriously helped countries like The Gambia, Brazil, Kenya with the influx of tourist dollars. These countries do not even have the massive resources that we parade, yet they have been able to coordinate all sectors within the the industry to build a viable attractive platform that pulls in the dollars and inflates the economy.
Here in Nigeria, we have a viable movie industry that has captured the imagination of the world. The simple thing to do was to build international events around it and simply just watch it pull in the crowd. Our movie industry is really attracting serious attention with movies like Bolanle Austen Peters 93 days showing in internationally influential Film Festivals, garnering attention and generally generating interest in the country. Our tourism Czars, lacking the creativity and depth, have simply run out of ideas to harness this potential for the greater good of the country.
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Instead we see them still struggling to milk old and tired tourism platforms like the Argungu fishing festival and the Yankari Games reserves. The international tourist world has moved away from these kinds of things. It no longer attracts the interest of the young and nubile nor the international jet setters who are driven by technology, music and entertainement, fashion amongst other trendy things.
Our Czar was only content in sewing all sort of ugly outfits in Nigerian national colours, parading herself like a caricature of a badly painted work and speaking in empty voluble while a very strategic portion of the economy was wasting away. She really did not understand what was expected of her. She mostly cried about lack of funds but enjoyed the trappings of her office.
Personally, this sack has been long coming and I hope the Government in seeking her replacement would get a much more vibrant person who understands the immense potentials of tourism and its role in getting us out of this mess.
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