Presidency Disavows Suspension of NTDC Boss, Runsewe…Says Board Chairman acted in error


The suspension of Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General of the National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) by the corporation's Board Chairman, Hon Uche Anya has offended President Goodluck Jonathan and provoked harmful attention from the Presidency, according to Dr. Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media affairs.

'The presidency has not given directive for the suspension of the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe who is statutorily an appointee of President Goodluck Jonathan.  'If a Director of any agency will be suspended or removed, the Minister in charge of such a parastatal will send a memo to the President for an approval to take such a step. 'I have crosschecked from relevant desks, there is no such directive from the presidency for the suspension of NTDC DG,' noted a statement of clarification issued to the media.

In the statement, Dr. Abati described the unilateral suspension of Runsewe by the NTDC Board Chairman without the President's knowledge or approval as 'unusual' and abuse of due process that discredits the Presidency and threatens to undermine Jonathan's authority.

Insisting that the NTDC Board Chairman acted in error, the presidential spokesman explained that the fanciful charges of willful insubordination and indiscipline leveled against Runsewe by Chairman Anya, including the decision to suspend him, were signs of a private person's lack of judgment. The Presidency was therefore compelled to reject, overrule and distance itself from decision, which observers intimated was an insult to President Jonathan.

Anya had in a statement on Thursday announced the suspension of the NTDC boss claiming that Runsewe was suspended for his alleged refusal to implement the resolutions and decisions of the board.

'Following your willful refusal to implement the resolutions and decisions made by the Governing Board of NTDC at its duly constituted board meeting of the 4th day of August 2010, the board hereby suspends you from office forthwith pending the completion of investigation by the appropriate authority over your several gross misconducts, contemptuous disregard of board resolutions duly endorsed to you and flagrant violations of the law setting up NTDC, Anya had stated in his letter. / investigations revealed that the decision by Anya to embarrass Runsewe was informed by the latter's refusal to cower and consent to some scandalous monetary demands to take care of his personal needs such as overseas vacation and foreign medical treatment.

A source close to President Jonathan who elected anonymity for obvious reasons told that people within the President's entourage heard the decision with amusement. "No one took the decision seriously," the source told, adding: "I consider his statement unfortunate. The man who made it evidently did not fully think of its impact, including its fair or unfair interpretations."