BY OSA AMADI
The new Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe (OON), last Saturday, took a significant step in his journey and mission to reposition the country’s cultural industries as ‘Nigeria’s next oil’. That step was the National Stakeholders Meeting on Cultural Industries Forum organised by the council in Lagos.
In a display of an inborn aptitude for success and excellent performance, which he has carried over from the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation where he served as DG, Otunba Runsewe over the weekend brought together more than twenty corporate stakeholders to a roundtable to brainstorm on the best strategy Nigeria can use to drill her new oil called culture and arts.
Recognising the important role of communication in the project, the DG said the forum was meant to solicit the assistance of the media and other stakeholders in informing the general public and mobilising full support for the council’s determination and mission to bring to the fore, the economic potentials of Nigeria’s creative industries. “The cultural sector of this country has inherent and abundant resources from which our people can seek and sustain a decent living and command international respect through our creative innovation,” said the DG.
Otunba Runsewe, who described NCAC as a strategic government agency, which has an obligation to deploy its capabilities towards driving the present economic diversification efforts, also said the council must be positioned as “the Central Bank of Culture in Nigeria.”
The DG disclosed of his intention to re-organise the programmes and activities of the council along an entrepreneurial perspective “with a view to exploring the merchandising opportunities associated with them. We shall be putting in place mechanisms that would transform the sector by empowering our artists, craftsmen and women, to take control of this industry. We will try to build infrastructure and the capacity of the industry and ensure sustainable development in this sector.”
Unveiling another creative innovation, Runsewe announced the launching of campaign for the proposed 37 Cultural Wonders of Nigeria, designed to highlight the economic potentials of an iconic cultural manifestation in each state of the federation and the FCT, and the signing of the MoU with the Bank of Industry for the sum of N300 million as loanable fund for eligible artists.
Other long-term interventions include rebranding of NCAC flagship programmes such as the African Arts and Crafts (AFAC) Expo and National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) beginning with the 2017 edition which comes up soon.
According to the DG, the new focus of the council now is to direct cultural activities and engagement towards revenue generation; how to effectively tap into the economic potentials of our cultural heritage to improve grassroots development; job creation, youth and women empowerment as well as how to deploy culture to serve as a panacea for peace, unity and diplomacy.