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Why I Am Passionate About Arts & Culture – Otunba SEGUN RUNSEWE

Otunba Runsewe  (OON) is the  Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture. He is also the President of the World Crafts Council (African Region). Over the last few years, he has remained a consistent phenomenon in the Media, Culture and Tourism sectors.  He once worked as Marketing Manager, the New Nigerian Newspaper and rose to the position of General Manager at the organization.  He also worked as Head, Public Relations (Media) National Theatre; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Sports Weekly and was Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of National Network Newspapers.  He was also the Media Coordinator, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, Abuja, Nigeria.

He was appointed Executive Director National Orientation Agency in 2000, a position he held until his appointment as the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in August 2006.  His tenure at the NTDC helped the development of the Tourism Sector.  The tenure positioned Nigeria as one of the leading faces of tourism and a preferred destination in Africa. 

Otunba Runsewe was also the pioneer Chairman of Abuja Carnival Planning Committee, the Carnival edition that has been adjudged by the international community to be the best organized since its inception.  The Nigerian Tourism Village, which he put together during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, was rated as one of its kind at the event.

The tall, dark and handsome socialite is detribalized Nigerian, who holds several titles from different parts of the country. He is the Danbura Kabi, Kebbi State; Obiagu one of Igbo Ukwu, Anambra State, amongst others. He is currently the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), a position he assumed in 2017. The vision of the Council under his leadership is to reposition Culture as a tool for national unity, peace and social integration as well as a machinery for stimulating rapid socio-economic growth and development. He has been pursuing this vision with total passion and utmost vigour.

Born in Kaduna to the family of Pa Bankole Runsewe from Ogun State, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe attended St. Michael Primary School, Kaduna before proceeding to Vohoeven Technical College Minna, now Government Technical College.  He holds an MBA in Marketing from Edo State University; Higher National Diploma in Management Studies from London School for Executives.  He also has a Diploma in Public Relations from the London School of Management Studies and a Professional Certificate in Estate and Property Management from Kaduna Polytechnic.

On Friday, September 24, 2021, the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN) honoured its man of the moment, Otunba Segun Runsewe with the Tourism and Culture Brand Award, a first of its kind in the history of FTAN and Nigeria. After the event, DAMILARE SALAMI (08155134152) had a chat with him during which he revealed a few things about his job and love for Arts & Culture... Below are excerpts.

How do you feel being celebrated by FTAN today?

I thank God for today because I’m alive, healthy and the whole federation came together and honoured me with this biggest Icon award in the history of culture and tourism in Nigeria. For me, it’s the beginning of a new era that we begin to celebrate our own and it’s a call to do more and build our country to become the best in the world. I’m going to leave this place refocused, re-energized and re-orientated to bring a new dimension to how we are going to build our youths through this sector for a better tomorrow.

You seem to be so passionate about culture and tourism in Nigeria, why?

Well, you see, there’s one secret I’m going to tell you for free, culture and tourism is the biggest employer of labour all over the world. If we get this sector right, crime will reduce, unemployment will reduce and a lot of vices that we are battling now will reduce and we will build a better country for all of us. We must begin to think about what we can do to build a better nation for those coming behind us and make Nigeria a suitable place for everyone. As it was said in our national anthem, the labours of our heroes past must not be forgotten, we must start to build today, for it not to be in vain.

Talking about your feats in the Culture and Tourism sector, what is the motivating factor?

I will tell you this for free, it’s the divine favour of God, we have over 280 million people in this country and if one person can be seen to be doing what is right, that means we must be grateful to God, it’s a divine favour and I am not taking it for granted. I’m seeing it as a way of making others become greater.

There’s an art and culture festival coming up in Ekiti, what should we expect from there?

Well, if I may quote the governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, he said he wants to host a NAFEST that is the first of its kind in the history of our country and I thought I’ve heard it all, until his wife, Erelu also came out and said she wants to use that platform to showcase the strength of the Nigerian woman. A lot of things are coming up, so we look forward to Ekiti, to a great festival that will unite us better, build us and bring peace.

Sir, I have followed your antecedents from 2007 till now and you have remained relevant, serving in each government that has come and gone. How have you been able to do that?

You see, you are now going to the divine favour issue. It is not by power or by might but by grace. If you are blessed to have the divine favour to be remembered, people will try but they will only try because his grace will always pave way for you.

On the final note, what should Nigerians expect from Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, going forward from here? Nigerians will see a new development in the council of arts and culture with Otunba Segun Runsewe. I made a promise that I want to change the platform, the narrative of this sector for the better and for a greater building for development and advancement.

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