There’s no doubt Nigeria is a cultural power in Africa. This timeless truth can also be given a global perspective, considering the historical plundering our priceless cultural products, arts and crafts, not excluding dances and music, deliberately targeted, exploited and stolen during the colonial era.
Though this is an introspection for another day, the business of today is the very interesting and purposeful commitment of the political class to encourage and promote culture in Nigeria, particularly in the rural areas.
Indeed, it is believed that each local government in Nigeria represents one significant cultural tourism destination or more, hence the expectations that Nigeria could well provide endless possibilities in genres of cultural evolution not seen or could be compared with other notable destinations in the world.
Our festivals and dances reverberates, same for Arts and crafts, not excluding our folklores, music, and templates of gastronomic wonders.
However, to effectively turn this Cultural advantage into tourism dollar had remained a major challenge until Otunba Segun Runsewe Director General National Council for Arts Culture (NCAC), was brought in the president to turn tide around so to say.
In the past three years, Runsewe has lifted up Nigeria’s cultural banner not just for Nigerians to see and appreciate but has strategically connected the nation to the global Cultural market.
While the rebranded National festival for Arts and Culture (Nafest) showcased the richness and diversity of our Cultural endowment, the Abuja International Arts and Crafts exposition held every December, throws open the window of trade, investment and collaboration to the outside world for a closer look at the uniqueness our very significant gifts to humanity.
Done with pulling up the socks on clearing the webs of generalised interpretations and poor marketing focal efforts of the past on our culture, the need to factor the involvement of the leadership of our federating states becomes the next hurdles to overcome for the NCAC boss.
The Runsewe cultural message out there came at the right time and did the magic. This is against the backdrop of constitutional apologists who thrived in end post sentiments, foreclosing the history and traditional connection divinely and uniquely uniting our diverse tongues and tribes.
Today, about four governors have caught the cultural revival bug, proudly committed to the unification attributes, willing to fly the national culture flag of NCAC in their various states.
On the count, Gombe, Abia, Plateau, and Kogi states had donated offices to NCAC to ensure the cultural message finds roots in these areas, creating awareness, rural jobs and empowerment.
These governors possibly willing to change the cultural narratives of their people, have in so doing proved sceptics wrong that nothing good can be seen and appreciated by our culture other than mere shouting and kicking up the dust.
Otunba Segun Runsewe told me that the donation of offices to NCAC will galvanize the full impact of the promotion of arts and culture in the states.
“It is a significant milestone, an opportunity which NCAC will put maximum use and convert to cultural tourism currency to benefit of the states in particular and Nigeria in general.” he started to me.
Otunba Segun Runsewe who while at Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) defined the Nigerian tourism path, listed most states in Nigeria, with the four which donated office so far, as engine room of cultural gold mine in Nigeria.
No doubt, other states will join the bandwagon but the very interesting and significant message is timing of this collaboration in a period which called for a new but sustainable strategy in marketing the Nigeria’s endless Cultural opportunities to the world, looking for refreshing Cultural destinations.
Though four states out 36, may still be far cry from the anticipated new normal cultural collaboration between NCAC and the state governors, I have on good authority that the number of states donating offices to NCAC will increase over time, the slow and steady response is to avoid presenting just any structure for mere sake of it but structures well located and benefiting to drive the process.
The countdown has begun, so who is next?