As a cultural tourism development columnist, getting to grab frontline interventions on everyday happenings in the battered sector is like waking up drunk and not knowing the way to the restroom.
Please, don’t ask if I have ever been drunk but I am sufficiently aware through watching Ali Baba and Co. on comedy shows that drunkards do stagger off the line just to pee.
So, what have drunkards, Ali Baba and creative sector got to do with finding the right path to prepare our minds for the future, in fact, for tomorrow, after the coronavirus reality?
Segun Runsewe (this man again) has a way with creativity. He simply makes impossible things possible, no excuses, no mago mago, just pure superlative mindset, ahead of others and hardly looking back.
So, when Minister Lai Mohammed (another creative mind) came up with his national committee on creative sector, headed by comedy entrepreneur, Ali Baba, there were wolf cries (not witchcraft o) and I went to the background to find out what was wrong.
Segun Adeyemi, the minister’s media aide was my first contact, and he “struggled” to explain creatively why Ali Baba was best man for the job.
On another plane, I took to lecturing my colleagues why Lai Mohammed was right on his choice, and “struggled” like my pal, Adeyemi, to tell the “stars” of the sector that Lai Mohammed was far more futuristic than you can credit his creative sagacity.
Unknown to me, the robust and unputdownable creative master himself, Otunba Segun Runsewe, had programmed a technology-driven intervention to keep Ali Baba and his “40commitives” on their toes.
Immediately it was escalated that NCAC was frontlining the controversial issue, the media, particularly culture and tourism writers, went into a frenzy in hailing the moderation of the issue, vexing to the uncreative creatives.
So, what set agenda did Runsewe in his win-win intervention bring to bear? Nothing succeeds without planning and coordination, Runsewe stated, so there is an Ali Baba “selected” by creative Lai Mohammed.
To me, Runsewe has got the ministerial thinking right. Next? Agenda setting, Runsewe explained why it was important to help push the sector through the right bend devoid of sentiment, which he noted “is imperative to empower our people and strengthen our economy.”
Bull’s eye! Runsewe continued, “We need to think out of the box (creatively) on a mono-economy dependant on oil, which COVID-19 devastated, leaving us with opportunities for economic diversification.”
According to Runsewe, who through the Zoom meeting process disclosed that the global creative economy was worth about “$250 billion, employing about 29.5 million people,” a water hole on which Nigeria must situate critical attention and not mundane glorifications.
From my count, the participants in this laudable NCAC intervention were broad and a clear testimony that Runsewe possibly knows more about the creative industry than the assumed signatures of the creative sector.
A tested journalist, administrator, and chief marketer of Nigerian cultural and arts economy, Runsewe, like John the Baptist, certainly gave a voice to the voiceless through a creative audiovisual platform to help us understand the importance of working together to address our fears and expectations.
Fred Amata, Bangladesh ambassador, Sharmeem Ahsan, NTDC boss, Folarin Coker, NIHOTOUR acting DG, top media persons, experts, Dr. Osa Amadi, Okorie Uguru, Victor Nze, Taiye Olayemi and many from the various sectors of the creative economy brokered the agenda that may drive the future.
I am particularly enthusiastic about the future of visual museum and hospitality industry, considering the various protocols associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visual exhibitions, fashion statements and the entire entertainment circuit and the expected backup through technical support and backbone. I recall the CBN’s N22 billion show of force and the grabbing of the iconic National Theatre by the Bankers’ Committee as addition, with a technology hub and other downstream structures in view.
Israel Eboh, president, National Association of Theatre Art Practitioners, who was on card during the NCAC Zoom beaming of the sector, must walk the talk and, like others, challenge the Ali Baba’s creative committee with very out-of-the-box creatively creative engagement.
I am surprised Ali Baba has not publicly acknowledged the NCAC support. Just as I was about putting this piece to bed, Ayo Olumoko sent me an invitation to a Lagos Zoom meeting engagement with Ali Baba, Victor Kayode and another friend of mine as frontliners on Lagos State tourism post-COVID-19.
Certainly, “I will struggle” through the initiative and, if it is worth our time, we may discuss it further, since Lagos dreams of digital economy, even before COVID happened.
However, before I end this piece, let me share certain insights on how Christ handled the wisdom of men. He would speak to them in parables, a very deep creative dialogue process, and to his disciples, the meaning would be made simple. Lai Mohammed’s creative committee is a parable, NCAC’s virtual engagement is the breaking down. So, Otunba Runsewe is the apostle of our culture tourism economy and I pray that we shall not struggle to chronicle his bold interventions when this pandemic is over.