I’m moving WCC headquarters to Abuja – Runsewe assures; praises tourism writers

I’m moving WCC headquarters to Abuja – Runsewe assures; praises tourism writers

Director-General of the National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has disclosed plans to move the headquarters of the World Crafts Council (WCC) to Abuja. This is also as he praised travel and tourism writers in the country for driving discourse and ‘constantly pushing agenda and operators to improving the tourism sector of the national economy.’

Director-General of the National Council for Art and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe (Centre) with Representatives of ANJET, during a Courtesy visit to Otunba Runsewe following his now appointment as the President of World Craft Council  (Africa region)

Runsewe made these remarks, last Tuesday, while receiving members of the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Editors of Tourism (ANJET) who paid a courtesy visit to him in Abuja to felicitate with him on his appointment as President of the World Craft Council (African Region).

According to Runsewe, the tourism writers  have formed the backbone of his many accomplishments in the service, noting that they were also the first professional body to formally congratulate him on his WCC African Region appointment, ‘outside of a couple of government agencies.’

Runsewe who described his appointment as a plus for Nigerian crafts industry as well as its practitioners, added: “This is a big platform for showcasing art and craft. It is big business representing a veritable platform for showcasing Nigeria and its arts and craft industry to the world.”

Continuing, the NCAC boss said: “I am moving the headquarters of the WCC to Abuja, that is one of the tasks I have at hand for now. I have concluded arrangements to that effect and have been given the go-ahead to commence the groundwork and when we are through, you shall be the first to know. I can describe myself as the culture Clemens Westerhof, who turned the fortunes of Nigerian football and footballers around for good.

“And just like our footballers who were not reckoned with outside the shores of the country. Nobody knew them before Clemens Westerhof came to Nigeria. Let me say that with my appointment as the chief executive of the WCC Africa Region, I have come to turn around the fortunes of Nigerian artists and craftsmen who were also not previously reckoned with but now by virtue of my position at the WCC, the time for Nigerian crafts industry to shine has come,” said Runsewe.

On his other plans for repositioning the industry in Nigeria and Africa, Runsewe said: “I am incubating a great project and vision for arts and craft for Nigerians which will yield even greater returns for them. My being at the WCC is for a purpose, and with time the world will see it. I am also going to change the narrative for the industry in Nigerian and Africa, as a whole.

“Gone are the days of mere showcasing of art and crafts for the sake of it. It’s all about the presentation and packaging. It is how the Nigerian artist and craftsman package his works that he will be defined by. So we are going to address that, which is why I said the days of showcasing is gone. Art and crafts means money. I have seen other countries package what ordinarily is worthless, but end up branding it as rare and exotic works just to rake in the money. With me at the WCC in Africa helm, now is the time for our artists and craftsmen to also acquire that exposure,” he said.

Ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the NCAC boss said his agency has come up with entirely locally-produced souvenirs for fans of the Super Eagles which, according to him, the supporters’ club has commended.

“Since the FIFA people have barred us from using our drums and trumpets which we are known for, we at NCAC have come up with an ingenious idea of locally defining our support instruments for cheering the football team in Russia. The Supporters’ Club people were here to see and they quite like it.

“I am also presenting to you here with some literature produced by the NCAC and personally handed to the various delegates who attended the 61st United Nations World Tourism Organisation/Commission for Africa (CAF) Meeting in Abuja. The literature contains information about Nigeria, Nigerian cultural festivals and calendar, pins, and many others, all produced by us,” Runsewe said.

The NCAC boss also used the opportunity of the tourism writers’ visit to appeal to warring factions of the National Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue, even as he advised them to consider the nation’s interest and the damage the squabble has already caused the country in the international scene.

“With a Nigerian at the helm of WCC Africa Region, all eyes are now on the country. The world is now looking at us, so this kind of industry discord is not good us. It’s even saddening that some parties in the disagreement have taken the fight abroad destroying each other’s hard-earned reputation. This does not show us in good light, so I am using this forum to appeal to them to come together and talk it out. That remains my overall interest.

Earlier, in the congratulatory letter presented to Runsewe by Chairman of ANJET, Mr Andrew Okungbowa, the group noted that the appointment coming barely a year of his coming into office as Dierctor General of the NCAC, only goes to confirm that ‘you are indeed a man that is widely known and recognised by many for your vision and resounding commitment to the development and promotion of humanity and that you hold an uncanny belief in the furtherance of the frontiers of not only Nigerian but African arts and culture.’

“We have no doubt in our minds that you have the capacity and ability as well as the intellectual acumen to function effectively in your new office and carry high the banner of African arts and culture. With your new position, the world would soon know and see a different aspect and perspective of African arts and culture because we know that you would as always immense yourself in the actualiasation of the vision of the World Craft Council in a manner that has never been witnessed before in the annals of the organisation,” the writers said.

They, therefore, expressed the ‘hope and desire’ that Runsewe ‘will fly high the flag of Nigeria and that of NCAC in carrying out the dictates of your new office.

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