A lot of falsehood is being propagated against the person and qualification of Mariel Rae-Omoh, who acted creditably as acting Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation for about three months. At a point, mischief makers said her academic qualification from an Italian institution of higher learning was not genuine. Haba! For someone who graduated from a tertiary institution outside the shores of this country 34 years ago, did National Youth Service Corps and went further to obtain both Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and a Master degree in Public Administration to be told she has a questionable certificate is uncalled for.
Rae-Omoh bagged a Federal Government scholarship with about 2,000 other Nigerians from the Federal Ministry of Education to study in different countries in both the United States and Europe in 1980. The records are still there.
She studied at the Instituto Professionale Alberghiero di Stato “A. Panzini,” (which is a subsidiary of P.I.S.I.E) Senigallia in Ancona Province, Italy and bagged a Higher National Diploma in Tourism and Hotel Administration. Concerned authorities can easily do some checks at the Italian embassy in Nigeria. The school still exists till today, though, the name has been changed to Instituto d’istruzione Superiore “A. Panzini”, Senigallia (AN) Italy. The Address is: via Capanna 56,60019, Senigallia (AN) Italy. Phone No. + 3907179111. Even though the Headquarter of the Federal Ministry of Education has since moved to Abuja, the documents with which all the list of candidates given scholarships are still at the Federal Ministry of Education office in Race Course, Moloney Street, Lagos. One cannot see why a certificate issued in Italian Language: certified, translated and signed by a Consular officer at the Nigerian Embassy, Rome Italy does not exist.
Are these mischief makers implying that the Federal Government of Nigeria sent so many of them to a school that does not exist? The Consular Officer of the Italian embassy confirmed the authenticity of the school and certificate issued; he added that he also graduated from the same school in 1985. Officials of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture can easily visit the Italian Embassy in Abuja to cross check this fact.
Rae-Omoh’s certificate blackmail commenced when she was an Assistant Director some years ago and another Director whom the former DG in NTDC termed “his favourite” had “Advance Diploma” as his highest qualification, yet was made a substantive director. Earlier, they were both on the same promotional level as Assistant Directors. He was not supposed to be promoted further than GL. 14. They felt threatened since she had a Master’s degree. The then NTDC DG said he was going to deal with her. This happened in 2007
Rae-Omoh is the last person anyone should level such mischievous allegation against because of her background. She attended one of the best catholic secondary school; run by Catholic Rev. Sisters in the then Bendel State. Talking about one coming to the Corporation on a higher level, the NTDC is a Public Enterprise; it is not a core civil service entity therefore several people have been appointed into the system on GL. 17, GL 16, etc without having to start on GL. 08, depending on year of graduation and experience.
The present person that has just been appointed on Acting capacity for the 3rd time now came into the main Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation at that time on GL. 16 (as a deputy Director). So, for the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to now approve the demotion of about 15 senior officers is wrong because there are hundreds of past Directors who have enjoyed this.
Another issue of Rae-Omoh coming into the system with an HND without obtaining a National Diploma does not arise. In the developed world, one could go straight to get an HND without a National Diploma. You could even do a straight Master’s degree. This is why we are still backward in this part of the world.
If the Ministry starts with NTDC by demoting most people who are already directors, it means that the Hon. Minister should be ready to carry out this action in all the various Parastatals within his Ministry.
There are directors who came into the Parastatals of the Ministry from outside the Government. At the National Gallery of Arts some years ago, Dr. Tando was employed on GL. 15 in NTDC and later moved to NGA on GL. 16 and some others who are still there at the moment. Witch-hunting of persons with distinct characters should stop. Why witch-hunt people with wonderful and God fearing characters and celebrate those with questionable characters. This unnecessary castigation of this brilliant woman of substance with impeccable character should stop forthwith. Go through the C.V of Rae-Omoh and see what I am talking about!!!. I wonder who will lead NTDC Promised land; a place full of petition writers and mediocre.
It is high time we celebrate meritocracy and people with credible characters rather than those with questionable characters and mediocrity.
A former DG In NTDC felt threatened by Rae-Omoh’s achievements, qualification as a master degree holder and one who works with very little or no supervision; also churns out proposals at all times. That DG’s highest qualification then was Advance Diploma and he preferred to work with people like himself who had lots of inadequacies and paid some journalists to sing his praise at all times and support his maladministration. He has continued fighting from outside particularly because of the way and manner that he was un- ceremoniously removed in 2013. This former DG ran NTDC badly and set the Corporation 30 years backward. NTDC was allocated so much funds but nothing to show on ground. He ran the place like a tyrant as if it was his father’s company. This man could not stomach seeing Rae-Omoh eventually becoming the Director General of NTDC in Ag. Capacity.
Rae-Omoh is a focused lady. She hates sycophancy! She works very hard and loves to achieve results because of her background, coming from the private sector. This is what is lacking in the civil service and so they feel threatened by her performance at work, forthright attributes and her straight forwardness in abiding by rules and regulations. This is what is lacking in most staff, especially those writing petitions. For instance, as soon as she assumed office, she set up a Committee to unravel how a “Joylong” Coaster Bus which was purchased for use by the National Travel Bureau, a subsidiary of NTDC at a cost of N27 million. Rather than a brand new bus, a refurbished one was supplied; the report of the committee is out and a lot of irregularities were discovered during that 3 weeks period of Boniface Eboka in acting capacity.
Also, Rae-Omoh wrote a letter to the immediate past Substantive DG, to return another asset belonging to the Corporation; this was also recovered.
The period of two and half months when she acted, there were lots of improvements in the Corporation. It was absolutely eventful. We should learn to begin to give honour to whom honour is due so that we can move forward. For the first time under Rae-Omoh, a maiden edition of NTDC News Bulletin was unveiled and Skill Acquisition for 66 people within the FCT was carried out successfully.
. Tureta, a human rights activist, lives in Abuja.
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