When the discourse is about Nigeria’s culture and tourism, few names come to mind as prominently as that of Otunba Olusegun Runsewe to do justice to it. The Director-General of the National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC) has not just been about talks, as his footprints are indelible in that cultural kaleidoscope of Nigeria. That Otunba lives for the propagation of the opportunities in the sector to the outermost parts of the world is a truism many will not argue against. For him, it is of utmost importance to reposition and re-brand the culture and tourism sector in Nigeria to ensure a shift from the total focus on oil as the major source of revenue to the government. The diversification policy of this government should be all-encompassing and culture and tourism are a pot of gold with huge benefits from the nation can tap. This has become the theme and major focus of the Otunba Runsewe-led NCAC as he is leading this drive which its mandate is to re-position Nigeria on the path of sustainable growth using culture and tourism.
Known for walking the talk, Otunba Runsewe ensured that the NCAC management took a familiarisation trip to Dubai to understudy the Dubai’s tourism architecture with a view to adapting lessons learnt to Nigeria and transform the country through culture and tourism. Upon returning to Nigeria, an event comprising of major stakeholders both in public and private sectors was hosted by the NCAC, where Otunba Runsewe explained that the objective of the trip to Dubai is to expose the management team of NCAC to cultural tourism management using the Dubai model as focus, who, in return, are now well equipped to share and brainstorm with major players in the sector who have pledged their commitment towards actualising the NCAC vision and goals.
The NCAC boss explained further that the trip was also a capacity building investment primed to re-invigorate staff potential to expand their frontier of management of culture in Nigeria. According to Runsewe, the simple logic behind the trip to Dubai is “travel, see the sights, see what other people are doing with their culture and tourism, come back and see how to do something with ours, market ours to the world, attract funds, grow the economy using culture and tourism to create jobs and attract tourist to Nigeria”.
In what he termed the next phase of the project, Otunba Runsewe explained that same gesture would soon be extended to all the 36 states whose Commissioners of Culture and Tourism and the top players and stakeholders in the culture and tourism industry would be taken to Dubai similar familiarization tour with a view to helping them develop their states’ tourism potentials.