By Osa Amadi
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire world, especially the arts, culture, and tourism sector, both for good and for bad. Man, right from the beginning of creation, had survived unfavorable conditions of the planet earth as a result of his ability to adapt to changes in the environment.
Adaptation is exactly what the National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC) is doing now, through the visionary leadership and creative thinking of the D.G, Otunba Segun Runsewe, to survive the pandemic and even turn whatever setback the arts and culture have suffered into opportunities.
On Saturday, June 27, 2020, the NCAC held the seventh in the series of the Virtual Cultural Tour of Nigeria which it unveiled since the Covid-19 lockdown. Now, the NCAC will use this Virtual Cultural Tour template for the fourth-coming National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) slated to hold in Jos, Plateau State in October this year.
According Runsewe, Plateau State will be the first state in Nigeria to experience the ‘NCAC Drive-In Theatre’ with all the Covid-19 protocol. A link will be provided to enable Nigerians to view the complete package from across the country.
Speaking during the programme, Runsewe said the essence of the weekly virtual meetings was to keep stakeholders engaged and the sector busy at this period of a global health emergency. Rather than keeping the sector idle, he said, the virtual meetings were evolved to get the views and opinions of experts, members of the diplomatic community, and industry players on emerging trends and how to reposition the sector to mitigate post-COVID-19 effects.
Runsewe said the virtual cultural tour was held to give the opportunity for participants worldwide to tour Nigeria from the comfort of their homes and to mark the end of the first series of online meetings of the council, noting that Nigeria has diverse cultural manifestations which offer a great opportunity for investment in tourism and other recreational services.
“Covid-19 is like rain falling. It gives us the opportunity to think outside the box and to come up with this Virtual Cultural Tour which serves as a therapy and rain jacket for the pandemic,” Runsewe said.
The online cultural tour is made up of two parts; the executive summary and an array of cultural manifestations across the states of the country. The executive summary showcases Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria; Tafawa Balewa Tomb in Bauchi State, North-Western Nigeria; Ikogosi Warm Spring in Ekiti State, South-South Nigeria. Others are Lejja Iron Smelting Kingdom in Enugu State, South-Eastern Nigeria; Kanta Museum in Kebbi State, North-Western Nigeria, and Military Cemetery in Zungeru, Niger State in North-Central Nigeria.