The Tourism and Aviation industry in Nigeria is yet to come to terms with the sudden demise of Madam Fatima Garbati, one top players in sectors as tributes continue to pour in from stakeholders in the sub-sectors.
Madam Fatima Garbati who was one of the founding member of Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) and former General Manager Consumer Protection of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), died on 31st of Friday 2019.
Fatima Garbati before her passing had decades of experience in the tourism and aviation industry and is a champion to the bedrock of legislations and enacted rules that have impacted positively to the sustainability of tourism legislation in Nigeria and Africa.
Describing the late tourism icon, the Chairman Board of Trustees (BOT) NATOP, nkereuwem onung said: “Mrs Garbati was a woman of great courage and a warrior. She fought till the end. I met her in NATOP several years ago and became President under her watch. We call her the keeper of the Mace of the Association. She brought NATOP to limelight and nurtured it till date. A Tourism/Aviation Consultant. A very straightforward and forthright woman. Very dependable. We will miss you and your divine counsel. Adieu ma Garbati.
Travel consultant and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Mr Ikechi Uko said the tourism and aviation industry will greatly miss the vast experience of the deceased. He said: “Madam has been at almost every event I had since I met her at Nigeria Airways in 1993. A powerful personality. Former Marketing Director of Nigeria Airways and Later GM Consumer Protection Unit of NCAA. A former President of NATOP Mrs. Garbati is one of the few Aviation people who understood Tourism. We would be organising a memorial for her sometimes in July. Always at Akwaaba and a Top100 Women Award winner we will miss her.”
Describing late Fatima, Chairman, Carnival Calabar Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah,, stated: “Fare thee well our Amazon, and an amiable yet firm- Go Getter. May God the most high receive your loving soul…!!! Adieu our Mariam..!! Adieu Fatima Garbati “a Tourism paragon of fortitude and cheer “. I recall with nostalgia how with the then First Lady , elegant Chief Mrs Stella Obasanjo RIP; She helped us launch the soar away CRS Tourism Marketing platform as President of NATOP 2003 through the Air Hotel Plan christened FLIGHT TO PARADISE Package and our CALABAR Tourism Circuit by Her Excellency Barr Mrs Onari Duke First Lady of CRS. May God receive you in His bosom.”
Vice Chairman, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc (SAHCO), Mr Chike Ogeah, said: “What awful News,may her loving & lovely soul Rest In Peace, this is a big blow to the entire Aviation industry in Nigeria….”
Former Mrs. Nigeria United Nations, Queen Ebele Enemchuckwu, said:”WABIO Place will never forget you! You cut that ribbon with so much grace. The same grace you used as you fought to remain here on earth a little longer. You fought hard. You fought strong. But again, who can fight God’s will? Rest on!”
Pastor Renn Offor, a former tourism correspondent of Atqnews.com and Head of African Travel Quarterly said: “A very mentally and emotionally strong woman! She passed last few hours being very strong! I guess she knew she was going in for the operation but instead of spending the few days to it worrying about what will or will not be, she chose to remain strong and in the company of her professional colleagues, friends and her very loved ones. God rest her soul and comfort the family and stabilize all who got so shocked at this unexpected passing. Life is so transient that we always forget it could come to an end unexpectedly. God help us all to keep that in mind always and order our affairs with eternity in our consciousness.”
Omololu Olumuyiwa, Editor Travelscope Magazine, said: “It is well, may her soul rest in peace. We lost a great player and positive factor in the Nigeria tourism sector.”
Emeka Anokwuru, the Sun Newspaper, stated: “So, she did not make it. We will miss Madam Garbati for a long time. Personally. May God grant your sweet soul eternal rest. Amen.”
And for prince Wale Olapade, Tourism Editor in Nigeria Tribune, it was poetic tribute to late Fatima.
“She’s in the sun, the wind, the rain,
she’s in the air you breathe
with every breath you take.
She sings a song of hope and cheer,
there’s no more pain, no more fear.
You’ll see her in the clouds above,
hear her whisper words of love,
you’ll be together before long,
until then, listen to her song of ICONIC TOURISM MEMORIES AND FOOTPRINTS THAT SHAPE NIGERIA. MRS FATIMA GARBATI GOOD NIGHT”