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African airlines’ top executive forced out after boardroom battle

Nigeria’s leading aviation personality, Nick Fadugba, chose to resign from the leadership of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) rather than be forced out after a boardroom battle, sources disclosed to PANA Monday.

The immediate former Secretary-General of the 40-plus African Airlines body, chose to resign after a serious battle with senior staff at the AFRAA headquarters in Nairobi that threatened to spill over into the courts, the sources, unwilling to be named, said.

“The resignation is a consequence of a very serious battle. His resignation at this point in time should not have a serious consequence for AFRAA,” the source said.

Information gathered from a variety of sources indicated that the AFRAA Secretary-General, who formally took over from Togo’s Christian Folly- Kossi, ran into trouble soon after taking over.

Earlier, a personal confidante of the aviation guru told PANA the resignation was promoted by the “lack of an enabling environment”.

It is understood staff at the AFRAA headquarters felt threatened after a series of sacking, mainly targeting the staff at the level of director and below.

Junior staffers, at the levels of secretaries and drivers, were also randomly sacked, leading to hue and cry that reached the AFRAA Executive Committee Chairman David Tokoph of South Africa.

The sources said Tokoph, the Executive Chairman of Interair of South Africa, gave the Secretary-General the option of either resigning or be forced out to save the organization’s corporate image.

“His resignation is a win-win for the airline. Things should go well after this. The Airlines body was going to lose its image and credibility as a consequence.

He (Fadugba) should have consulted the immediate former Secretary- General,” the source added, without elaborating.

Fadugba’s election to the post during the AFRAA General Assembly meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, in November, 2009, was hailed as a new horizon for the aviation industry.

However, his resignation from the job has equally shattered the aviation fraternity in Africa.

“We were so happy ‘this news of his resignation is absolutely sad’he was very much interested in Africa’s aviation. He was a strong driver for Africa’s aviation industry,” a spokesman for the Ethiopian Airlines, Wogayehu Tefera, told PANA on hearing of his resignation.

“He was at the forefront. Nobody would match his capability. The entire aviation industry would be saddened by this news,” Tefera added.

Sources at the AFRAA offices in Nairobi said the sackings and demotions of senior staff, some of who were demoted from position of director to manager, pending their entire sacking, has worsened the crisis at the continental aviation body.

Fadugba, an accomplished aviation journalist whose Aviation Journal magazine is one of the industry’s most respected, has played a key link and negotiator for the industry.

He has been a constant voice on the need by international aviation financiers to consider offering African airlines access to affordable loans.

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