NTDC Staff Protest, Demand Sack Of DG, Folorunsho Coker

Posted on November 30, 2017

MICHAEL AKINOLA


The Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Mr. Folorunsho Folarin-Coker is in the eyes of the storm.

The NTDC boss is already enmeshed in a tug of war with staff of his agency who are calling for his removal.

P.M.EXPRESS gathered that the workers,  who shut down the headquarters of the NTDC in Abuja on Wednesday, were piqued by what they called high-handedness and poor welfare of the workers by the Coker-led NTDC.

The placard-wielding workers, who turned out in large number expressed disappointment over the development in the Corporation since Coker assumed office as DG.

Head of the NTDC staff union, Martins Ohiemi, said that staff members of the tourism development corporation are dissatisfied with the leadership style of Coker, claiming that he treats them like slaves.

They alleged that Coker, since his appointment in April 2017, has been mismanaging the NTDC and running it like his personal business.

According to the protesting workers, Coker allegedly set up a project unit which is not part of the NTDC nomenclature, but a conduit pipe to siphon money out of the NTDC.

They also claimed that he has excluded the NTDC top management staff from all operational and management decisions since his assumption of duty.

In a letter written to Coker and copied to the Minister of Information and Culture, Minister of Labour, the Inspector General of Police and the DSS, dated November 29, 2017 and signed by Comrade Sikiru Waheed, the Secretary of FCT Council of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees; the workers said they would picket the offices until Coker address their complaints.

A copy of the letter obtained by our reporter listed some of the grievances raised against Coker by the NTDC workers to include creation of project units to erode the functions of departments, deliberate denial of workers schedule of duty and illegal recruitment of workers without regards to the guidelines on appointments and promotion.

They also listed unfriendly posture of the Director General leading to unhealthy working relationship, deliberate depletion of existing workers welfare package as well as refusal to conduct 2017 promotion exercise contrary to Federal Government circular directing MDAs to conduct promotion as at when due.

The letter ended with a prayer that, “it is our singular prayer that the issues raised above which has endemically eaten deep into the fabric of workers of NTDC should be reserved positively with immediate effect for the progress of NTDC and the workers”.

 

According to the workers, Coker has been evasive and has not been coming to the office, since he got wind of the workers protest.

The workers, who were carrying various placards with different inscriptions, 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.

Some of the placards carried by the workers read, ‘DG Mr Folorunsho 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 say no to oppressors,’ ‘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,’ ‘Folorunsho Coker lacks human relations, he is a bully,’ ‘PMB, as a matter of urgency, should sack Foloronsho Coker,’ ‘Only Coker attends foreign exhibition,’ among others.

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 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.

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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