Journalism in the service of society

Controversy trails reappointment of tourism, culture chiefs as their tenure expires, except for Runsewe

THERE is a brewing controversy over the reappointment of heads of Tourism and Cultural agencies in the Ministry of Information and Culture as rumours are rife that most of them might be on their way out.

The news in town is that the heads of culture and tourism agencies in the ministry may have been directed to hand over to the most senior director in their respective agencies since the ministry was yet to receive any communication from President Buhari, who is on medical trip to the UK on the renewal of the appointments.

The affected Chief Executives are Tar Ukoh of the National Troupe of Nigeria; Folorunsho Coker of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and Adedayo Thomas of the National Film and Video Censors Board (ÑFVCB). They were appointed on March 31 2017 and their four years first term tenure ended on Wednesday, March 31.

This is just as drama is once again playing out at NTDC, similar to what happened in 2016 when the agency had three heads in quick succession. The outgoing DG has handed over to Ovie, who is not the highest ranked director.

After Sally Mbanefo left NTDC, the hand over from one person to the other assumed a dance of musical chairs. Same thing might be repeating itself until a substantive DG is appointed. The highest ranked director is Mrs. Fibi Ikilama.

Contrary to news making the round in the media, however, the NCAC DG, Otunba Runsewe is still in office because his appointment was delayed in 2017. The former DG, Mrs. Keshi did not hand over to Otunba Runsewe for over a month. This has given Runsewe extra time in office beyond March 31.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, a medical doctor got his tenure renewed in February 2021 before the end of tenure.

Practitioners in the industry are waiting for the return of the President to know who returns amongst the Heads.

Meanwhile, high-wire political intrigues are playing out behind the scenes. It is believed that the reappointment of one of the heads led to a pushback by leaders who felt the DG failed in his four years tenure. It is alleged that stakeholders in the industry are opposed to his reappointment. Also the rumoured removal of one the DGs brought about intense lobbying by his backers.

According to opinions in the industry, there is a need to save the industry from lacklustre leadership except for a few active heads. New and fresh hands with proven industry capacity are what will bring the industry back to the expected level.

The last four years can be written off as bad years.

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