The director-general of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has expressed satisfaction with culture and tourism activities in Nigeria last year, promising to embark on a culture evangelism tour of the 36 states of the federation very soon.
The DG singled out Lagos, Rivers, Cross River, Kaduna, Plateau and Edo states for engaging and promoting robust culture and tourism activities in 2018, which helped create a window for organised local and international visits across the country.
Runsewe, whose office organised some of the most notable festivals in Nigeria last year, such as the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) and International Arts and Crafts Exposition (INAC), noted that the upswing in culture activities in all states would help to sustain an all-year-round season and holiday culture in Nigeria and also anchor certified cultural festivals as tourism products to help local and international tour operators in marketing the country to the world.
According to Runsewe, Nigeria’s chief cultural officer and president of the World Crafts Council, Africa region, what took place around the country last year was a revolution that would place Nigeria in its rightful place in the global tourism community.
The NCAC DG noted that the N50 billion expendiyure by holiday makers in Lagos was a huge eye-opener to what could trickle down to operators of businesses and the service industry, adding that what is needed now is to see that the industry is organised and fine-tuned to create jobs for Nigerians. He noted that the Lagos State government was doing well in tourism and prayed that the state would continue to provide leadership in strategic tourism activities more than ever before.
For Cross River, Runsewe commended the governor for making Carnival Calabar to take on a new shape last year through an authentic African theme that called for awareness and revival of African culture to help open the continent to visits and collaboration. Indeed, the 26 foreign nations that visited and participated in the Calabar Carnival, Runsewe observed, has taken the cultural event to another level.
As Nigeria’s chief marketing officer, Runsewe explained that the cultural intervention in Rivers State during NAFEST presented Nigeria’s culture to the world in an uncommon way, adding that he would remain grateful to Governor Nyeson Wike of River State for his abiding faith in culture.
The Durbar in Kaduna and the quest to rewrite and reposition tourism in Plateau, by Governor El-Rufai and Simon Lalong, respectively, added up to give Nigeria the desired rebound that the world was expecting from the world’s biggest black nation, Runsewe noted.
Not left out in the ranking was also Edo State, which came to town last year with its Edofest, targeting Edo people and their friends outside Nigeria. The strategic attention that the festival gave the repatriation of Edo relics and artifacts in foreign museums marked it out as a holiday event to watch in Nigeria. Significantly, Edo is the host ground for NAFEST 2019, and is thereby expected to be in the forefront of cultural discussions throughout the year, the NCAC DG further explained.