World Craft Council president promises to change Nigeria’s cultural promotion narrative

Otunba Segun Runsewe

The President of the World Craft Council (WCC) and Director-General, National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba segun Runsewe has promised to change the cultural promotion narrative of Nigeria across the world.

Runsewe who was responding to questions from the Association of Nigerian Journalists and Editors of Tourism (ANJET) in Abuja to felicitate with him on his appointment as President of the World Craft Council (African Region), recently said it is high time Nigeria stood up to its game in the global cultural space to not only position Nigeria but also tell its story the right way.

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.”

“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

“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.

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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.

Earlier, in the congratulatory letter presented to Runsewe, the Chairman of ANJET, Mr Andrew Okungbowa noted “that the appointment coming barely a year he assumed office as Dierctor-General of the NCAC, confirms that ‘you are indeed a man that is widely known and recognised 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 that you have the capacity and intellectual acumen to effectively carry high the banner of African arts and culture. With your new position, the world would expertise in aspect and perspective of African arts and culture in a manner that has never been witnessed before in the annals of the organisation,” the writers said.

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