It was yet another excellent outing for the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA, on the second edition of its Eminent Persons Award in Abuja on Friday November 2021.
The event lived up to its billings in the calibre of personalities that attended the programme, thus raising the bar in the travel and tourism business.
The occasion which has been described as the best NANTA programme in many years was top notch in organisation, excellent in attendance, spectacular in attracting the best of the travel, tourism and culture industry which attest to the excellent leadership style of Mrs Susan Akporiaye, the president.
Speaking at the event, the Kano state Governor, Mallam Adulahie Ganduje who was honoured as the best Governor on Tourism infrastructure lauded NANTA for recognising Kano, stressing that the award given to him is for the people of Kano state.
Governor Ganduje who graced the occasion with a retinue of government officials from the state noted that Kano is the most populous state in Nigeria, the commercial nerve centre of the North and the most peaceful state even with its huge population which is a very important variable for tourism growth.
He said Kano has no Boko Haram, no tribal or religious conflict, no armed robbery which are indications to show that the state is ready for tourism.
The Governor stated further that the state has reviewed its master plan to make it attractive to tourism, including the enactment of laws to guide operations of hotels in the state in line with international accepted best practices.
Governor Ganduje assured that he will continue to do his best to ensure that Kano becomes Nigerian tourism hub.
He said the state government has approached Emirates Airlines to start operating international flight from the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano when it recommence operations to Nigeria, adding that it will help boost tourism in the state.
Speaking also, the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero who was honoured as the best traditional ruler with most peaceful domain in Nigeria expressed delight on the award of Kano as the most accommodating and peaceful state in Nigeria.
He said the award is coming at a time Nigeria needs peace and accommodation.
He stated that Kano will continue to do more to accommodate more Nigerians in their domain.
Emir Ado Bayero noted that his vision is to create a travel and tourism ecosystem that will attract 5000 tour operators and grow that to 10,000.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Dr Kabir Nakaura, chairman governing board of the National Bureau of Statistics, Presidency emphasised the relevance of the travel and tourism industry to the Nigerian economy.
Dr Nakaura said the sector has the potential to contribute significantly to the growth of the economy
He commended NANTA for their steadfastness and commitment in enthroning professionalism among their members.
In her welcome address earlier, the president of NANTA, Mrs Susan Akporiaye promised to open new chapters in the association’s relationship with regulatory bodies and other bodies that could make NANTA businesses thrive.
Akporiaye said the association had grown to attract attention and respect from government over the years.
She said NANTA unity campaign lauched atthe event was in response to subtle attempt to create a crack or division now or in the future, adding that the jingle would be aired on different social media platforms of the association.
Akporiaye emphasised that this will sensitize individuals on the essence of living in peace and unity, as Nigerians enjoy a sane environment.
She said: “We are launching a national campaign jingle against tribalism as a response to any subtle attempt to create crack or division now or in the future.”
Akporiaye said the association was ready to practically support and generate an all-inclusive aviation training academy.
She said this was to support the growth of the Nigerian aviation and tourism sectors while revealing the vision and the making of the new NANTA.
Akporiaye noted that the academy would have the association’s trade mark of excellence, innovation, well guided international exposure and content.
In his goodwill message, the president of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, FTAN, Mr Nkereuwen Onung congratulated and commended NANTA for putting together the event .
He stated that every time they speak about awards, they indicate that someone deserves to be honoured for credible service, for excellence, for steadfastness, for daring to succeed despite environmental challenges and for being different.
According to him: “Men are multi dimensional and you must
discern what they represent- that is what NANTA has done- discernment.
NANTA has refused to despise the investment these men have made upon their personalities and has created a platform to do so. Men are carriers of spiritual possibilities and when you Honour them, you tap into their possibilities”.
He said: “This event and the calibre of those being honoured
shows the strength and potential of NANTA as an association.
I believe this award will create access and opportunity for NANTA and tourism practitioners in Nigeria.
“Today, Kano remains the safest state, not only in the North West, but in the entire Northern Nigeria. This is traceable to the good job done by the fearless emperor of Kano, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Executive Gov of Kano state.
Also, coupled with the grace that flows from the throne of a first class king in Nigeria, the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero”.
Onung while congratulating NANTA as one of the 23 associations in the federation, stressed that a strong association makes a strong federation.
He urged those being honoured, to see the award as a call to do more for humanity and tourism in Nigeria.
As part of NANTA’s commitment to promote unity, the body unveiled its national campaign jingle promoting national unity.
The high point of the programme was the presentation of awards to the Kano State Governor, Mallam Ganduje, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, Otunba Segun Runsewe, the director general of the National Council for Art and Culture, NCAC, as the champion of culture, art and craft in Nigeria, the director general of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, for the enthronement of best vocational training in the hospitality industry, award to the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu.
Others are award of champion of drug free Nigeria to the Director General of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, General Muhammed Buba Marwa (Rtd), presentation of lifetime achievement awards to distinguished industry professionals and former NANTA president, Mr Femi Adefope, Mr Akintunde Akala, Mrs Modupe Lawale who brought fresh air to the Public and Government relationships which opened doors and bridged reservations about the mission and vision of the association at its formative years.
Others are induction of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mr Femi Adeshina into the NANTA hall of fame, presentation of award to the best overall travel Journalist, Abel Orukpe.
Others are The Envoy Hotel as the best Hospitality outfit, Mr Teslim Adeniyi Kareem of the Kamuku National Park as the best conservator.
The event was spiced up with musical performance by the NCAC cultural Troupe
The categories of the award include: NANTA Media Hall of
1. Femi Adesina
2. Frank Meke
3. Chinedu Eze,
5.Nosa OSA Aituamen
1. Taiye Olayemi
2. Franklin Ihejirika
3. Wale Olapade
4. Ifeoma Okeke
5. Justina Okpanku
6. Abel Orukpe
13:Dr Wole Oyebade
The media awardees include:
Best Online mediums ( joint winners)
1. Abel News ,
2) Frank News
3, Taiye Olayemi, News Agency of Nigeria
4) Aviation metric ( Wole Shadare)
Best Radio stations. ( Travel News ) joint winners:
1) Aviation Runway, ( Metro FM)
2) Tourism in perspective ( Jordan Radio)
Print: Joint winners! Chinedu Eze ( Thisday)
1. Segun Koiki ( Daily Independent)
2. Wale Olapade ( TRIBUNE).
3. Nigerian Telegraph newspaper ( Mr Andrew Okungbowa)