Profiling Otunba Mattew Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General of National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) rekindles the strong desire to prayerfully search and empower men of valour who can rebuild the broken gates of our dear nation. One draws great inspiration from ancient biblical reformers and builders such as Nehemiah who against odds and opposition rebuilt the broken walls of Jerusalem and restored hope to the hopeless.
Since his appointment about nine months ago, Otunba Runsewe has attended to the repairs of our Culture and Arts domain with dogged determination and evangelical rooting from one end of Nigeria to another, pulling down cobwebs of uncertainty and enthroning verifiable restorations.
In this clime of culture business, development and progress are usually assumed and the master class of owners usually at loss to which actually constitute the value chain and its here, Runsewe systematically brought the desired change.
To revert to some of his templates of relieve brought to the sector will possible swallow the space of this column but suffice to say that Runsewe has opened the eyes of industry practitioners to realities of Culture and Arts beyond the mundane thoughts on dance, folklore, music and creative arts as moonlight entertainment offerings.
As a frontline culture and tourism enigma, Runsewe robust defence and projection of culture as key to economic revival under this administration has triggered off feverish, deliberate and calculative frame work within the various of levels of governance and the organized private sector to measure the real value chain inherent in this often gloated but our uncharted goldmine endeavour.
That Runsewe has changed our perception and storyline on culture as business is not what on discuss here today but the gain and benefit of his recent audacious appointment as Africa Regional President of the prestigious world craft for council (WCC). It a well deserved appointment and recognition to which President Muhammadu Buhari government must profile to strategically reconnect with the world market place where nations dangle their cultural offerings as tools of diplomacy and economic oxygenator.
Now that Nigeria under this administration has been saddled with the responsibly to drive the Africa culture challenge, Runsewe as Buhari’s apostle of change in this regard must be empowered and be seen to open doors hitherto closed to marketing and promotion of indigenous African Arts and culture to which most unscrupulous Arts gallery owners and their foreign collaborators have exploited to no end.
Indeed, Runsewe’s recent diplomatic visit to China with over eight African nations of South Africa, Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles provided the needed tonic to re-establish the historical narrative of Africans being the authentic owners of global arts and culture.
It is no luck but of providence that Runsewe’s headship of Africa Region of World Craft Council (WCC) coinceded with the gracious invitation of the Chinese ministry of culture and tourism to a creative design forum aimed at developing and accelerating African Creative design industry. It is equally a good measure that the event took place at the scenic province of Shenzhen established in 1979 with over 4,000 culture and arts enterprises creating more than 900,000 jobs, a process which ranked the Chinese culture industry as one of the seven pillars of the huge Chinese economy.
According to Runsewe, the exposure is timely and would propel a new thinking on how to drive, profile and market Nigerian culture and creative Arts, considering the similarities between China and Nigeria in terms of population and cultural diversify.
Back home, Plateau State may take advantage of Runsewe’s appointment and global reach to launch its cultural festival. Recently, its carnival and street party trotted on slow pace, a process that may cause Governor Simon Lalong to invite the NCAC DG for a master class discussion. Runsewe’s absence was indeed felt at the event nearly married by heavy down pour.
To end this piece, it would not be out of place to merge culture, tourism and creative arts under one agency, to encourage real revitalization of and economic measure of the sector now that the WCC has asked our Runsewe to lead the African culture and tourism engagement.