Home Travel Agencies Navigating NANTA: Susan Akporiaye Discusses Election Dynamics, Unity, and Legacy

Navigating NANTA: Susan Akporiaye Discusses Election Dynamics, Unity, and Legacy

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Outgoing President, NANTA Mrs Susan Akporiaye.

In a few weeks’ time, the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) will hold its 48th elective Annual General Meeting. NANTA second female president in its fifty years of existence, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, clarifies certain issues she considered as a deliberate attempt to tarnish her image and that of the association. She spoke to Wole Oladimeji, Abuja.

On the NANTA AGM Preparation.

We have done quite some work to be sure this AGM will be memorable. Mrs. Lola Adewole, our PRO is driving the effort. We are going to have the speakers to help throw more light on the intra Africa tourism market and how to process new business and trade markets and also grow a united aviation industry front. Namibia High Commissioner in Nigeria is coming as a keynote speaker. We also have Dr Allen Onyema of Air Peace. Ministers of Aviation and Tourism, respectively; Mr Festus Keyamo and Mrs Lola Ade-John are slated to present goodwill messages. We have a deliberate exposition on African tourism opportunities and offerings. It is going to be a full house.

On Elections.

It is not my beat. The Board of Trustees is in charge, and two of our members, incidentally from lagos Zone, are squaring to take over from me. The mobilization of members is quite impressive, and I must thank the media for beaming attention to what we are, what we stand for, and intend to do. Secondly, I think what we have done in four years resonates with our members, particularly the young ones who want to launch out and make a difference. I believe their interests will shape the future of NANTA and how it will influence development in the sector going forward

On Begging Allegations.

I read the very unfortunate retort by Mr Daisi Olotu, and as president of NANTA, I will be careful not to draw attention to myself. I have done my bit, and I am going to hand over to whoever emerges president at our elections. But you know, the way people react to examination or election is different and like Fela Kuti’s song says, “different, different fever na him dey’. I begged nobody, but if going around during the time prior to my coming on board to persuade and appeal for support from different persons and blocs were seen as begging, it should not be an election campaign matter because my name is not on the ballot box. I want to believe that whoever says political horse trading, alignment, and visitations to members across the nation is a begging spree may have been misquoted because that is the process of campaign and nobody is big enough to play God. So what Mr Daisi Olotu may be referring to could be likened to NANTA election fever. Some people may have developed ‘muscle pull’ and could be shouting my name to attract attention and sympathy.

So what next?

I don’t understand? I am not on the ballot box, so why must I be made the issue for the wrong reasons. I am leaving as NANTA President with my head held high and not looking down, so I am not distracted. I want to deliver this record breaking AGM successfully, so let those coming after me run their campaign with some sense of decency and maturity. To serve NANTA is voluntary service, so I don’t understand all the subterfuge and name callings. Four years ago is a long time, and when as incumbent but outgoing president, people come to me for my blessings, I can only wish them well. If my team and I did not do well, possibly the heightened interest that you see today will not be there. So I told those who came to me to go ahead and contest. I only have one vote, and since I cannot afford to deceive anyone, I simply just tell whoever where my mind is headed. I want to see a leader who can sustain the legacy that I am leaving behind, providing training opportunities and opening doors for other streams of income for everyone. I dislike discrimination and tribalism, so I am straight with anyone who has a similar vision that we had, who can provide a level playing field for everyone, not pandering to sentiments of being there before others as a right that must go without contest. NANTA is an association that is quickly evolving.

Did you make promises to one of the contestants?

No, in fact, I told one of them who was pestering me for support that I would not do anything of such for reasons best known to me. I want to believe that is why he is trying to malign me, but I am still the president and have the capacity to absorb election rantings induced by fever.

On palliatives

I dey laugh ooo. It is said that he who alleges, must prove! I will leave it at that because it is shocking that an elder should just wake up and be throwing words about without thinking about the consequences. There are records of that transaction, so it was not domiciled with one person. I find all this very distracting, but I believe when we get to the bridge, we shall cross it. However, this gives me ample opportunity to see the inner mind and character of the acusser of the brethren. Such cheap talks, in my view, should be beneath the person of any president, or aspiring president.

Is NANTA United?

The vibes are there for all to see. You need to see us at meetings and trade exhibitions. At the recent Airpeace inaugural flight, we brought so many vibes to the program. We are more than united. We are happy, and we add peace and equality. I am not leaving behind a sword for NANTA but peace and unity. The elections will come and go, and NANTA will be better for it.

Thoughts of leaving office.

I have been preparing since my second tenure. Great people, wonderful association, NANTA will continue to be great greater, greatest. I will be unveiling the NANTA Icons during the AGM. I am prepared and grateful to those who supported me, and they are too numerous to mention.

Pains , Regrets!

Plenty of pains, particularly when people you think are with you gang up against you. No regret, though, but my experience as president is for another day. Thank you.

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