The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has called on the Nigeria Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) to harness culture and tourism potential, to assist in boosting the nation’s economy.
The Director- General of the NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, gave the advice on Wednesday when the NATOP executives, led by its National President, Mrs Ime Udo, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.
Runsewe, who said that the nation’s tourism destinations were largely untapped, urged the association to harness and develop those potentials to improve the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) “There are many tourism destinations that are not harnessed and developed in this country.
“Kogi State, for instance, has a major history tourism profile such as Mango Park, Ajayi Crowther’s house and the First Governor General, Lord Lugard’s house.
Nobody has tapped it.
“So, we would have used these ones in Kogi for tourist centres for anybody coming to go and see,’’ he said.
The director-general stressed the need for stakeholders in the tourism sector to devise strategies in marrying both cultural and artificial tourism together while marketing tourism potentials to the world.
“When I was in the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), any country I travelled to, the first place I go in the morning is the prison of that country.
“And people have been saying what is wrong with this man.
What has prison gone to do with the tourism.
“When you are going to market and sell your country, you must know the strength, opportunities and weaknesses of your country in that country.
“So, this has come as a time we must quickly understand that NATOP is very key to improving the GDP of Nigeria,’’ Runsewe said.
Runsewe recalled that in 2016, he took all the state commissioners for tourism to South Africa to tour her tourism destinations and understand the word tourism economy.
“When we got to South Africa, I said to them that I want you to practically come and see.
South Africa is selling cultural tourism.
“Dubai is selling artificial tourism.
You need to understand all these.
“Now how do you go about it, when we got to Nelson Madella’s house and the then Commissioner for Tourism in Kano State said the house was not large when compared to our past leaders.
’’ According to Runsewe, Nigerians need to quickly tap cultural contents that could be marketed by the tourism strategy in the county.
Earlier, Udo said that the purpose of the visit was to partner with the NCAC in areas of promoting culture to drive tourism sector.
According to her, NCAC through its activities largely promotes the culture of Nigeria which is one of our drivers of tourism in Nigeria.
“For every National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) or International Arts and Crafts (INAC) Expo that is being celebrated, there is an opportunity to grow the traffic of tourists into Nigeria once the synergy and collaboration are there,’’ he said
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) is to partner with the Hospitality and Tourism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN) to building capacity in the Nigerian creative industry.
The Director-General of NCAC, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, made this known in Abuja when the National President of HATMAN, Mr Samson Aturu led a delegation on a visit to his office.
”The partnership is necessary because the creative sector remains the only sector that would save the nation’s economy.
”In Kenya, a graduate who only taught how to dance Kenyan music and speak different languages, has emloyed over 10 graduates.
By doing this, he has removed 10 people from the streets.
“We need HATMAN to develop this sector because this is the only sector that will save our economy,’’ director-general said.
He said that the NCAC was also partnering with the Chinese Embassy on skill exchange programme for Nigerians in China.
“I’m also talking to the Chinese Embassy, in fact, last week, I was with Chinese Ambassador; we want China to give us 50 slots.
We will take two sects of Nigerians to China.
“If your state can produce buttons, then China will give us a platform how they will buy equipment for buttons making.
This is a brand I’m building for the country.
“With that, we have reduced the cost close to N10 billion.
So, every state now will see something doing.
The idea is that I want this country to be developed and great,’’ Runsewe said.
Earlier, Aturu said that the purpose of the visit was to strengthen the partnership to further develop and grow the tourism industry.
“We watch seriously and closely your activities when you (Runsewe) were in the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
“`We, therefore, felt that it was very nice to pay you a visit to see how we can share ideas and how we can partner together to further develop and grow the tourism industry,’’ he said.
According to him, generally, the tourism industry has capacity to create jobs and reduce unemployment in our great country.
Aturu added that if the resources available are not properly harnessed, it will be difficult to achieve the desired result.
“So, that is why HATMAN is putting together the 16th Annual Conference in Abuja on Oct. 27 to further deliberate on tourism issues and development.
”We are also intend to honour you with a Fellow award of HATMAN,’’ he said.
In another development, Mrs Julie Okah, the National President of the Roost Foundation, presented a letter of nomination to the NCAC Chief as the African Cultural Ambassador.
Okah said that her visit was to inform the NCAC boss of the foundation’s festival programme aimed at celebrating Non-Governmental Organisations and international donors who had contributed to the growth and development of different sectors in Africa.
The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, says the agency is harnessing technology to reposition the arts and culture sub-sector in Nigeria.
Runsewe told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday that technology came in handy for the agency during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
He said NCAC was one of the agencies that continued its activities to promote the country’s values due to its ability to deploy technology.
Runsewe said with the use of technology, the agency was able to carry out its activities with little or no hitch, adding that there was minimal human contact.
“During COVID-19 pandemic, the agency was one of the few sub-sectors that were busy with activities.
“We were having forum every Saturday then.
“We were the only ones that had a drive in theatre, where people could watch from their cars.
“We also had a radio network that was connected to car radios within the vicinity to making it easy for people to have clear audio, ” he said.
Runsewe said given the dynamic nature of the society, it was only proper for the agency to keep up with the times to make meaningful impact.
He said, “there is no way you can transfer information that technology will not be involved, so it is critical.
“Part of what we do is to adopt technology, particularly in our effort to reach the youth, who are technology savvy.
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) says that understanding and appreciating the culture and beliefs of other Nigerians will prevent culture shocks and promote national unity.
The Director-General of the NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.
According to Runsewe, parents have a major role to play in cementing cultural integration and breaking the problem of language barriers, among others.
“You will see that when it comes to inter-ethnic marriages, culture differences are among some of the challenges that the families are going to face.
“This is because if you don’t understand the cultural content of the person you are close to, you are bound to have issues with the person.
“So, somebody from Ekiti State, for instance, must eat his pounded yam three times a day but this is not the way in other cultures.
“The Ekiti man has made up his mind that this is what he likes.
But somebody from Sokoto State wants to take Fura da nunu, that is his belief.
” Runsewe said that Nigerians needed to reason together to see what united them, rather than the issues dividing them.
“For me, we need to critically look and appreciate what brings us together as a people rather than what separates us.
” He, therefore, urged public and private schools to reintroduce history as a subject in the school curriculum, to make Nigerians to understand their past.
According to him, Nigerian children need to know the history of their country because the history of Nigeria encapsulates great Nigerians who fought to build a united Nigeria.
“I’m sure you saw what happened few weeks ago.
The Lagos State government reintroduced history as a subject in the curriculum of schools in the state.
“Do you know that 70 per cent of our leaders don’t even know the history of Nigeria?
The history of Nigeria is those great Nigerians, who fought to build a united Nigeria.
“But at the end of the day, we will see that most of the youths don’t even know these people, they don’t even have an idea of what happened.
“If you don’t know how you got to where you are, how then will you appreciate going back to where you are coming from?
So, these are some of the issues.
” Runsewe said that the NCAC was always organising school competitions on mother tongue and other related ideas.
“In fact, we are about the only agency that on the commemoration of Children Day, puts up a special completion for children.
“Last year, the Korea Embassy joined us.
So, in most cases, what happens is that nobody celebrates our best.
We are always victims of negative things.
” The director-general recalled that during the annual National Festival of Arts and Culture, NCAC had over six youth programmes, which captured every stratum of Nigerian life “Many people, who come to visit and see what we were doing, gave us credit.
“But before now, nobody was taking care of our children.
If you don’t keep them busy, they will become busy negatively.
“We are happy that all those changes are coming up now and we are assuring Nigerians that will continue to put in our best as an agency,” the NCAC chief said.
The Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has cautioned Nigerians against blowing the country’s problems out of proportion.
The NCAC boss made the appeal in an interview with correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday.
He said that blowing the country’s problems out of proportion was capable of hampering the progress and development of the country.
According to him, while the issue of insecurity for instance is a challenge, the best thing to do is to keep pushing as citizens, while relevant agencies work to tackle the problems.
“There is no country in the world that is 100 per cent free of insecurity and there is no country in the world that does not have its own Boko Haram (insurgents).
“Also, there is no country in the world that would wait until the entire security network becomes 100 per cent before they start protecting what they have.
“For instance, NCAC held a programme recently in Abuja and we had over 54 countries in attendance and over 42 ambassadors.
“What does that tell us, it tells us that yes, we have challenges but we do not have to wait until the last day of our challenges before we move Nigeria forward.
” Runsewe called for concerted effort by Nigerians to help the country navigate through its challenges.
“The Northerners have a proverb that says no matter how pretty someone is, the person will have to continue bathing to maintain the beauty.
“So, Nigeria is a beautiful country and we should continue to bath it to maintain it, in spite of the challenges and in no time by the grace of God, we will overcome the problems.
“We sincerely hope that we overcome some of these challenges because no country can become a champion, if it does not overcome its challenges.
” The director-general also called for respect for one another’s culture, saying it was a panacea to peaceful co-existence in the country.
Runsewe said the different cultures in Nigeria had different ways of doing things, noting that every culture should be respected.
“An Igbo man would break kola nut and pour libation to celebrate and someone gets angry and asks why he should break kola nut.
Well, that is his culture.
“Again, you go to the Hausa man’s house and he asks you to remove your shoes because he prays there and you pick offence, saying what rubbish.
“Then you go to the Yoruba man’s house and you meet him eating with his hands with smoke of the amala (yam meal) coming out of every part of his hands and you say it is local.
“With all these scenarios, I have painted, definitely we will have disagreements.
So, we should respect one another’s culture for peace to reign.
” Runsewe, however, expressed his optimism that Nigeria would eventually overcome its challenges and take its pride of place in the comity of nations.
The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has expressed concern over how preference for foreign languages was affecting Nigerian languages.
The NCAC boss told the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview on Sunday in Abuja that the growing trend was disturbing.
He said, ”unless something drastic was done to protect Nigerian Languages, a lot of them would go extinct in the near future.
” He said the problem was more pronounced with the use of English language, because it is the country’s official language.
“Today, if you go for an occasion and you speak English language wrongly people will laugh at you.
“But, if you speak Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba in that manner, nobody will know you made a mistake because it flows.
It is natural.
“The problem is that parents want their children to speak English phonetics.
“Today, parents who know their children can speak good English would make sure they come out to interact with them so that their visitors would know where they spend their money.
“This is unfortunate, but that is where we find ourselves,” he said.
Runsewe called for adequate enlightenment to enable parents, schools and relevant agencies to know the danger poor usage of Nigerian languages posed to sustaining Nigeria’s culture.
“When you hear that a child made Credit in English, that child will be celebrated, but a child that makes Credit in Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa will not be recognised.
“If you go to places like China and Dubai, English is not their national language.
“In Europe for instance, once you move from London to Ireland, you will discover they do not speak English language.
“I am a bit worried that it will be difficult to sort that issue out in Nigeria except there is a legal backing that English language should cease to be our national language,” he urged.
Runsewe said the crave for foreign culture generally had contributed greatly to the level of moral decadence in the country.
He said while there was nothing wrong with learning about other people’s culture, the rate at which some Nigerians imbibed negative foreign values called for concern.
He said, “this attitude is killing our cultural values to the extent that today some of our youths were deep into immorality.
“In fact, I saw something recently that marvelled me and that was men wearing lipstick.
“Our youths were now imbibing other people’s culture, which is affecting us as a people and for me, it only goes to show complex.
” Runsewe called for adequate sensitisation on the importance of parents teaching their wards Nigerian languages and the dangers of their children not understanding these languages.
The NCAC boss expressed optimism that in the near future, there would be a better language strategy on how to reach out more to the people.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that according to Wikipedia, there are over 525 native languages spoken in Nigeria.
English is spoken as the official language, while over 60 million people speak Nigerian English and Nigerian Pidgin.
While Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are considered the three main languages, other languages like Igala, Efik, Edo, Nupe, Fulfulde, Tiv, Izon, Idoma, Kakanda are also spoken by a large number of people.
Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), lamented on Sunday that poor packaging was hampering acceptance of Nigeria’s arts and crafts internationally.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, Runsewe said that a lack of proper packaging had posed major challenge to patronage of arts and crafts made in Nigeria at the international market.
He said, however, that the NCAC had started working on helping arts and crafts makers to package their crafts to make them marketable and acceptable locally and internationally.
“This is part of the reason why we are empowering Nigerian women and youths in arts and crafts making.
So far we have trained over 750 youths and women across the country.
” Runsewe advised Nigerians not to despise any trade, particularly in the arts and culture sector.
He disclosed that people making their daily bread from arts and crafts had been living big, narrating how a make-up artist “drives one of the best cars in Nigeria today’’.
The NCAC chief argued that the notion among some people that non-university graduates were useless was wrong.
According to him, a lot of people in the arts and culture sector, who have not gone through the four walls of the university are smiling to the banks at present.
“There is this lady in Lagos, who does only makeup and gele (head gear), she drives one of the best cars in Nigeria today.
“There is this impression that once you do not have first or second degree you are useless but in the crafts sector everybody is useful.
“Even if someone made F9 in school, such a person is useful in the culture and tourism sector.
“You do not need a Ph.D to knit the best mat.
Some of the art works in our office as we speak run into millions of naira.
“So, this sector has the key to taking Nigerians out of poverty and unemployment,” he said.
Runsewe said that people with talents in arts and crafts ought to be encouraged, irrespective of their status and educational backgrounds.
He said that the NCAC was playing its part in helping talents in the crafts sector to actualise their potential.
Runsewe re-stated that skills acquisition was one of the six-point agenda of his administration as outlined in the mandate of the NCAC.
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) said the 2022 International Arts and Crafts (INAC) Expo helped to showcase the nation’s arts and crafts to the world.
The Director-General of NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Sunday in Abuja.
Runsewe said, “this year’s INAC, we had China, Bangladesh, Syria, and U.
S attending for the first time.
”We have been able to connect with more countries than it used to be.
“We had 54 countries in this year’s INAC, that was enough to tell us that more countries were coming together to celebrate our arts and crafts.
“There can’t be any better way to network our crafts to the world than platforms like this,” he said.
Runsewe recalled that before COVID-19, the arts and culture sector was generating about 3.5 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“But, if anybody will give you a correct estimate now, it will take some times because COVID is just flashing out.
“We needed to see what was the contribution particularly now that all the airlines come to Nigeria.
“They bring in a lot of people but we have not been able to tap into those customers’ networks.
“So, there is no amount of efforts we put, if you don’t get exposure to tell our story nobody will understand our next line of action,” NCAC chief said.
He said that although the NCAC had challenges but those challenges were considered as ”preparing one for the next level.
“From my own school of thought, I see challenges as preparing one for the next level, because people misunderstand the word challenge.
“Challenges are to prepare you for your future.
But, most times when challenge confronts us, we believe that it is going to be the end of the road.
“So, for me, we are very happy that all the challenges put together, we get them and send them across through the media.
“So, for us as children of God, all challenges have a purpose of preparing us for the future,” Runsewe said.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Friday bagged Chinese awards of excellence.
This was announced by Dr Eric Ni, Chairman, Chinese Industrial and Commercial Enterprises Association during the Chinese 2022 Mid-Autumn Festival and National day.
Ni said former President Obasanjo was given an award of excellence for his selfless sacrifices in promoting businesses between Nigeria and ChinaHe said Obasanjo’s efforts in creating conducive business environment for the Chinese community was highly appreciated.
Ni also said that Runsewe was given a commitment award for his selfless commitment to the promotion of arts and culture between Nigeria and China.
According to Ni, the Chinese community has enjoyed seamless cultural exchange programmes due to the support enjoyed from NCAC and Runsewe.
Chief Ikechukwu lkoh, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, also got an award of honour for his selfless commitment in the promotion of businesses in science, technology and innovation between Nigeria and China.
Brig.-Gen. Musa Sadiq, Commander, 81 division, Garrison also bagged a commitment award for his selfless commitment in defending and protecting lives and communities within Nigerian community.
Obasanjo, represented by his wife, Chief Bola Obasanjo, appreciated the award, commending the Chinese community for bringing transformation to the country in diverse fields.
” You brought transformation to the country, the Chinese community has helped our youths in providing employment opportunities, we appreciate you all,” he said.
Runsewe appreciated the gesture extended to him as he assured the Chinese community of more years of seamless collaborations.
He urged the Chinese nationals to further visit Nigeria as tourists and investors.
He said the Chinese community’s assistance was seriously coveted to ensure Nigeria took the rightful position in Africa to improve on local production and technological advancement.
” We want the Chinese community to visit Nigerians more for the purpose of investing and as tourists.
” We want to achieve a situation whereby the strength of China in Asia could be compared to that of Nigeria in Africa.
” I want to specially appreciate the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, for encouraging his people to visit Nigeria and invest; we are known as hospitable, friendly and accommodating individuals,” he said.
Runsewe also commended the Chinese community for impacting Nigerian positively.
He said the China Industrial and Commercial Association must also be commended for their various corporate social responsibility initiatives aimed at giving back to their community in form of grants, scholarships and donations.
He stressed that the NCAC was willing to have a frontline partnership with the association towards expanding the event to Abuja.
According to him, this will promote synergies and grassroot participation in the area of training, capacity building, Infrastructure development, grants and exchanges.
” I must not fail to acknowledge and commend the Chinese community for imputing arts, culture and other artistic expressions as essential components in all your programmes.
” I assure you of the commitment of NCAC to serve as catalyst for consolidating and sustaining China-Nigeria bilateral business, cultural and diplomatic relations for more years to come,” he said.
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has called on the IBB International Golf and Country Club to patronise Made-in-Nigeria products in its tournament to celebrate 62nd Nigeria Independence Anniversary.
The Director-General of NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, gave the advice on Tuesday when the Chairman, Independence Planning Committee of the Club, Dr Banjo Obaleye, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.
Runsewe pleaded with the committee to ensure that local materials were sewed for jackets for golfers who would participate in the tournament, adding that the committee should also focus on Nigerian cuisines.
According to him, this will not only promote arts and culture, but it will also enhance jobs creation and boost the Nigerian economy.
“Let me plead with you, because I don’t know what your plans are.
The jackets, if it is possible, we should use local materials.
“Let me start by saying that I’m happy that you are sewing the jackets in Nigeria so that our tailors will get jobs.
“The materials, for instance, as you know me very well, I don’t play golf with foreign materials.
I use local materials to play golf.
“I use to say that If there are over three million golf fans in Nigeria; if all of us should patronise our tailors, we will be adding value to them,’’NCAC boss said.
He said that the council would support the club in organising cultural exhibition to showcase the nation’s arts and crafts to the world.
“For the exhibition, I want to assure you that we will take charge of the entire 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
“At the corridor of IBB Gulf, we will make sure that every state is being represented.
“If we don’t do that for you, others will take over the space and sell Nigeria from the wrong angle which will not be of our interest,’’Runsewe said.
According to him, what IBB International Golf and Country Club was doing was a ”story awakening us to our consciousness of unity of our country.
“If Oct. 1st comes and goes without doing anything, I want to tell you the danger, all those embassies will say what is wrong with our country.
“But, if there are activities going on, the negative stories can be overcome with positive ones which will make a lot of difference.
“So, for me, IBB Golf Club has made an impact in developing and making Nigeria to be seen in the right angle,’’he said.
The NCAC chief commended the IBB Golf Club for sustaining the independence golf tournament.
Earlier, Obaleye, who is also Vice Captain of the club, said the visit was to seek the NCAC support for the independence tournament, aimed at developing sports and tourism in the country.
“Independence tournament is the biggest event in the history or calendar of the club every year.
“This year is not going to be an exception.
We are going to start with rider cobbler match play between Nigerian community and International community and a winner of that tournament will have a trophy.
“Again, the winner of the overall tournament will have a jacket and we will equally prepare a jacket for past winner,’’he said.
Obaleye said that the club was planning to have exhibition of arts and culture aimed at showcasing Nigeria’s heritage.
He added that Korean Embassy has indicated interest to participate in the cultural exhibition.
According to him, IBB International Golf and Country Club is a premier club in Abuja and the major focus is to develop sports and tourism in Nigeria.
“It is also aimed at showing our cultures to a very big global community.
”The club has numerous national teams that represent the expatriate and local community,’’he said.