By Dipo Olowookere
On Wednesday, November 29, 2017, workers of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) shut down the Abuja headquarters of the tourism agency to demand the sack of its Director-General, Mr Foluronsho Folarin Coker, fondly called Folly Coker.
The aggrieved employees of the NTDC accused the DG of high-handedness and poor welfare of workers.
They claimed he was not competent to occupy the position, calling on the Federal Government to remove him immediately.
The demonstrators carried placards conveying different messages including ‘NTDC staff not animals,’ and ‘MTDC staff says no to oppressor.’
Others are ‘DG Mr Folunrusho Coker, we are tired of your insults, we are not your slaves,’ ‘Coker, give us our job, we want to work,’ ‘Coker needs management training,’ ‘Coker, stop all impunity and financial recklessness in NTDC,’ ‘NTDC staff are not animals, treat us like human beings,’ ‘Special assistant is not a full time employment,’ ‘Let the staff work, what kind of a leader is Coker,’ ‘Seven months after assumption of duty, no meeting with staff,’ ‘Coker said Buhari has not been able to achieve anything in two years and so NTDC staff should not expect him to do magic,’ ‘Folunrunsho Coker lacks human relations, he is a bully,’ ‘PMB, as a matter of urgency, should sack Foluronsho Coker,’ ‘Only Coker attends foreign exhibition,’ among others.
They noted that Mr Coker set up a project unit which is not part of the NTDC nomenclature, but a conduit pipe to syphon money out of the NTDC.
The workers lamented that the DG has not been able to achieve anything since taking over NTDC barely eight months ago.
They expressed disappointment over what they called his poor leadership style and lack of respect for the workers.
Meanwhile, the management of NTDC has promised to respond appropriately to all the issues raised by the workers.
In recent years, NTDC has been dogged by controversies, staff protests and low workers’ morale, occasioned by poor leadership style, which started with Sally Mbanefo, the immediate past DG.
Stakeholders in the industry had a high expectation that Mr Coker will re-position NTDC by taking the corporation to a higher height, but with the recent protest by the workers, all that may now seem to be a mirage.
Mr Coker was appointed about seven months ago to help revive the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian tourism industry, having served briefly in the same capacity as a Commissioner for Tourism and culture in Lagos state, where he was removed unceremoniously.
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