NANTA Tourism Conference: The Women Behind Its Defining Moments


By Frank Meke

It’s beyond pedestrian argument that the leadership of Nigeria’s biggest and oldest travel trade body, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, (NANTA) under the watch of Susan Akporiaye has evolved to another level of refreshing reassessment and engagement  on  Nigeria tourism. 

Susan Akporiaye has taken NANTA through challenging moments,  particularly and successfully through covid pandemic, an unseen negatively disruptive wind which left many businesses around the world grounded,  some of them yet to recover from the circle of destruction. 

Those difficult engagement moments certainly define leadership ethos, and for the over four thousand registered travel trade operators in Nigeria, the covid pandemic scared their survival and threatened their future.  

Susan Akporiaye didn’t go to the streets of Nigeria,  looking for sympathy care givers, but sought divine direction to keeping her NANTA family above the waters and impact of covid pandemic. 

As wont with leadership, navigating carefully through challenges, calls for serious introspection and engagement of human resources around us.  Sometimes, leaders find expressions through those they either choose to work with or elected to share the burden of leadership.

Indeed,  most leaders easily head to self-destruct and ambush of dreams and visions when they pander to internal negative gravitation, particularly towards elements, thoughts, and personalities, with gargantuan ego’s.

Some of these unfriendly giants live in the past and fluent badges of either self-worth or pecuniary persuasions. They seek worship and thrive in enslaving quality contributions to human existence. 

In every socioeconomic and political environment, Nigeria, particularly in focus, these elements populate,  seek public adulation, and hardly resonate  with history. The bible call them spoilers,  pillars unto dishonour. 

Unfortunately, we pay attention, I mean leaders in all cycles of human engagement, waste valuable resources and time, and looking  for solutions to curtail them. 

It’s important to submit that great leaders must ignore negative bearers of venom and dream killers. They must grow on the positive energy of collaboration and stay single-minded to discover help mates, men, and women,  gifted to help change narratives and legacies. 

I have been around NANTA for over thirty years and privileged to see most of her leaders who made impact and those who allowed negative gravitational equilibrium to impact on their visions. 

Again, it’s worth noting that great leaders come to rescue missions during challenging life cycles of a nation or people. They are also hugely misunderstood because they bring uncommon ideas to development to bear.

These leaders parade angels,  usually bearing certifications troubling to exaggerated mindsets,  those who believe others must live by their standards. 

Honestly, readers of this piece must be very deep and must be mentally and spiritually awake and aware, to study the signs of the time as children of Issachar,  fully appreciative, that good leaders must mentor others. 

Susan Akporiaye, as an influencer, unarguably throwing her weight and vision across Nigerian tourism borders and preemptive to future crisis in the travel trade circles, is carefully taking NANTA out of the wilderness to the promised land of global tourism market. 

Merely selling airlines tickets does not guarantee a profitable tomorrow,  neither is it innovative.  Susan Akporiaye tourism message may attract odious comments from a few afraid to innovate, but to growing and adventurous new trade professionals in NANTA,  old things must pass away. 

Now, to this piece in focus,  let me share with you those whom I believe shares  in the positive disruptive tourism engagement to which Susan Akporiaye conceived as an option and open field of prosperity to not just Nigerian travel professionals alone but to others across Africa. 

These women stood with Susan Akporiaye to irritate established orders and conservative old blocks and to set the Africa tourism agenda in focus.  

Ms. Alisa Asamoah is president, Tour Operators Union of Ghana. She took Ghana Tour business out of the woods, gravitated positively with Susan Akporiaye of Nigeria, hands together in unity,  willing partners to change African tourism narratives. She bears no air of importance but, in humility, focal to helping Susan Akporiaye to break down the walls against an effectual and profitable Africa to Africa Tourism initiative. 

Pastor( Mrs) Chinyere Umeasiegbu is vice president,  Eastern zone of NANTA.  She no doubt has shown capacity,  credibly beyond measure turning around the fortunes of the once laid back members of the association in the Eastern zone of Nigeria. She is dedicated, powering strong backup and support to Susan Akporiaye here in South Africa. Together,  both of them ensured that the NANTA team here on the tourism learning curve did not get distracted by the challenges of innovation. She is an admirable angel and a pillar of support.

Mrs uloma ibiwari kemabonta: she heads Susan Akporiaye intellectual intelligence unit, a trainer and coach, claims no glory and takes no captives, uloma is the barometer to checking the status of the NANTA tourism initiative,  protective of Susan Akporiaye and loyal.  Taciturn, tactful yet fashionable, and a fun giver. Her deep laughter brings joy to break the hold of low moments.  

Sharon Asuqou is the new angel on the block. She comes with experience in a protocol service ecosystem  and is on call here in South Africa,  powering a new NANTA content in this area. She is the sugar to few trying moments here and stayed focused on Susan Akporiaye and TOUGHA President, Alisa Asamoah , ensuring all activities and events meet with detailed formation. Sharon is indeed a beautiful flower,  no dull moment and Susan Akporiaye centric.  

These are possible new NANTA leaders in view,  waiting on the wings of time and wisdom to keep this association, farming new ideas and projects that will redefine the growth and survival of NANTA. The men angels behind Susan Akporiaye,  another story for another day. And to young NANTA members here in South Africa, I am proud of their maturity and commitment to innovate and thrive.  These young persons, the ladies in particular,  are so hungry for knowledge and teachable. You may not agree with me on this piece, but I believe that NANTA is great and Susan Akporiaye has brought the association around to see clearly ahead of the rains of disruptive crises that may visit the travel trade business in the future and prodding solutions. That’s the story , the vision, and not quasi academic submissions on leadership. The ladies in NANTA can no longer be ignored. They are here to stay for a long time! I remember MamaThereza Ojo( Ezobi). Susan Akporiaye,  love or hate her, She is the new tourism amazon, and her angels are on guard, no dull moment.


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