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FTAN Restates Opposition to Hosting of UNWTO Conference in Nigeria



With a few days to Nigeria hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) First Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industries.

The event is billed to open on November 14 and run through to November 17 at the newly renovated National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), has again reiterated its opposition to the staging of the event, cautioning it members and other stakeholders in the culture and tourism value chain to stay clear of the gathering.

This was contained in a press statement signed by the President of FTAN, Nkereuwem Onung, in which the federation, which is the umbrella body for tourism operators in the private sector, adduced reasons why the operators are not taking part in the event.

It would be recalled that in July this year the body wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the conference, stating why Nigeria should not host the event and also addressed a press conference on the matter. However, it should be noted that since the federation made public its stand on the conference, neither the Presidency nor the Ministry of Information and Culture headed by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had addressed the issues raised by FTAN.

Not deterred by this, Onung stated in the press statement that the action of the Presidency and that of Mohammed has authenticated the federation’s claim of disregard and neglect of the tourism sector and the plight of its operators by the Nigerian government.

Noting further that the determination of the minister to host this conference is at the expense of the sector, which he said is at its lowest ebb in its history due to the total lack of attention to it by the federal government.

According to Onung; ‘‘UNWTO conference holds no good for the country other than using scare taxpayers money to fete a few government officials to a hosted buyer event that would not attract any tourist to the country.’’ He added that; ‘‘it is a wild goose chase of no benefit to Nigeria and Nigerian cultural tourism and creative industries.’’

Onung clearly stated that; ‘‘the conference is a jamboree as it offers no enriching prospect or benefit for the development and promotion of Nigerian tourism and that of the operators,’’ noting that; ‘‘what the nation needs is far beyond symbolic show or circus display which the conference represents.’’

He pointed to the fact that the minister has shown so much disdain for the culture and tourism sector that he has never organised or attended any of the sector related activities this year.


He gave an instance of the World Tourism Day celebrated in September 27, which was supposed to be spear headed by the minister. But that the minister neither rallied the sector toward celebrating the day nor monitor any of the events staged across the country. The one held in Calabar, Cross River State was attended only by some heads of parastatals under the ministry.

He also pointed out the forthcoming 35th edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture, Eko NAFEST 2022, which is holding in Lagos between November 7 and 13, almost the same time with the UNWTO event. Despite being under the charge of the minister, he has not one day shown any concern about the event while pulling every rope to garner resources for the organisation and promotion of the UNWTO conference at the expense of his primary responsibility.

Yet, Onung said the minister is not bothered by the implication of this unfortunate development, noting that this is not surprising as the minister has never attended NAFEST in over his seven years as minister and not doing so this year again, means nothing to him, as he is more interested in anything that has the toga of UNWTO on it and not Nigeria.

Speaking further, Onung said that is lamentable that President Buhari has kept Mohammed on the job and tactfully supported a man that in all the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) is a total failure as a minister in charge of culture and tourism, as neither the nation nor the operators have benefitted from his over seven years stint as a minister.

‘‘No investment into culture and tourism business in the last seven years from the government,’’ he cried, noting that; ‘‘This is one of the issues that bother us.’’ He then queried the need for hosting the UNWTO conference; ‘‘What is the benefit of the conference to Nigeria and Nigerian tourism?’’

In the statement, he further noted that the reason why the federation is crying out again is for the public to know that contrary to the news making the rounds that the private sector and FTAN members are not part of the conference as they are not supporting the charade by Mohammed to further pauperise the sector, its operators and Nigerians.

‘‘This is to set the record straight and for people to know that the federation is not part of Mohammed’s charade as it has resolved to entirely boycott the event.

‘‘If we keep quiet this charade will continue and people will not know the pains of the private sector. It is of no use and benefit to us and they have not told us about it and we really don’t see the need for it.’’

Unperturbed by this development, Onung in the statement said the federation is soldiering on with its solo effort of developing the sector by conducting its scheduled businesses and activities for the month of November.

One of such activities, he noted is the hosting of its yearly Nigeria Tourism Investment Conference and Exhibition (NTIFE) billed for November 15 in Abuja.

He called on all operators in the culture and tourism sector not to be worried by the action of the minister but to be more focused and determined to succeed in their various businesses as they have survived the last seven years without any support from the minister and the current.

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Runsewe Commended for Rebranding Nigeria’s Arts, Culture Sector




The Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe has been commended for rebranding the Arts and Culture sector to contribute meaningfully to the socio-political and economic development of the nation.

The High Commissioner of Cameroon to Nigeria and the Doyen of the Diplomatic Community in Abuja, His Excellency Salaheddine Abbas Ibrahim, made this remark when members of the Diplomatic community were hosted to a dinner during a tour of facilities at the Arts and Crafts Village in Abuja.

The Doyen was full of commendations for the National Council for Arts and Culture under the dynamic leadership of Otunba Segun Runsewe adding that the passion, drive, records and achievements of Runsewe in the Arts and Culture is evidently unrivalled. This, according to him is evident in the support and confidence the diplomatic community has reposed on him.

He said the Director General remains a blessing to the sector and urged Council to open up vistas of collaboration where the Diplomatic community can tap in to showcase their cultural strengths.

In his welcome address, Otunba Segun
Runsewe, announced that his vision is to present Nigerians with the best cultural market in Africa with its launch of a new marketing strategy which includes a toll gate, a night cultural market, a pharmacy offering free blood sugar tests to visitors of the market, and a birthday shop.

“The Cultural Night Market is the first of its kind in Africa. Between six and nine months of operating the village, we will dovetail into a night market. Everywhere in the world you cannot start a night market without practicing the market during the day before delving into the night market.
You have to operate during the day first, get people acquainted with the idea so that everybody can used to it before extending it into the night shift.
It is intended that when the market is fully operational, one can leave the office at 5pm to the cultural village to shop and feel safe and comfortable when he is there,” he said.

He added that he hopes that the diplomatic community will have unhindered access to the cultural market

Otunba Runsewe also stated that the council in partnership with a world standard pharmacy will host a pharmaceutical space with free medical tests including blood sugar tests for visitors to the space.
Other proposed facilities in the cultural hub include an information/complaint centre-to enhance quality products and services; and a quarterly media interaction session on developments within the village.

There were goodwill messages from ambassadors of various countries including the United States, China, Bulgaria, Mexico, Jamaica, Spain, Cameroon, Cuba, and others who attended the event.

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Anambra Monarch Visits Culture House, Hails Runsewe




The Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe has been described as a detribalised Nigerian who preaches unity for all regions while remaining a constant phenomenon in Nigeria’s culture and tourism sectors by virtue, foresight and dint of hard work.

The Ata – Mmanya of Ossamala ancient kingdom, Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, His Royal Highness, Eze Victor Awogu made this known when he paid a courtesy visit to the Director General of the Council Otunba Segun Runsewe at the Nigeria Culture House.

In a nostalgic laden voice, the Royal Father revealed that Runsewe has over the years proved himself to be a culture icon, administrator and enthusiast who has deepened understanding and cultural consciousness at his different levels of engagements.

He added that no one has doubted his genius in transformational administration which is why successive governments have over the years engaged his services to harness our cultural potential and deepen the business side of culture, especially Tourism.

His Royal Highness maintained that Runsewe has laid a formidable foundation which is the bedrock for his success.

Eze Awogu said he was proud to associate with Runsewe; a giant in the development of Nigerian Culture. He prayed God to grant the Director General more wisdom and grace to succeed.

In his response, the Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe said he was highly elated to receive the high powered delegation led by HRH Eze Victor Awogu in his office.

Runsewe noted that as the primary custodians of culture and tradition, the traditional rulers play a vital role in maintaining peace in their various communities.

He said the traditional institution is the closest to the grassroots which makes it possible for the rulers to easily detect violence and prevent it’s escalation in their domains.

Runsewe said as primary custodians of our various traditions and culture, the traditional rulers will make our traditional institutions a veritable springboard for cultural reorientation for our teeming youths who have gone under the wild influence of westernisation.

The Director General presented gifts to His Royal Highness to express his gratitude for the visit.

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Runsewe Bags Chinese Cultural Bridge Builder Award




Elated at the pace and passion Otunba Runsewe has brought as Nigeria’s culture chief, and his determination to sustain cultural relationship between Nigeria and China, the Nigeria-China Business Council has honored him with the award of Cultural Bridge Builder.

While presenting the award, the national coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Dr Matthew Uwakwe, at an impressive ceremony to mark the Council’s recognition and award dinner in Abuja stated that Otunba Segun Runsewe has worked tirelessly to build a strong cultural tourism relationship between Nigeria and China.

He addded that Otunba Runsewe had, in various ways, convinced the world that Nigeria culture in its diversity has capacity to foster unity and peace among the people of both countries.

He explained that the Chinese Consulate and the Chinese community in Nigeria were pleased with the pace, passion and diplomatic harmony Otunba Runsewe has brought to bear on his assignment as Nigeria culture chief to sustain cultural relationship between Nigeria and China.

Delivering his keynote address titled: “Strategy For Promoting Cultural Integration Among Nigeria and China”, Runsewe who is the Director General National Council for Arts and Culture drew attention to the need to activate all aspects of cultural ties between Nigeria and China.He also recommended the organising of regular cultural troupes/performances and exhibitions between the two countries.

He said: “Nigeria and China enjoy one of the best bilateral diplomatic and cultural relationships in the world. This bilateral relationship has existed for half a century and was formally promulgated with the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1971 and rejuvenated by the strategic partnership accord in 2005.

“Even recently, China and Nigeria demonstrated their continued commitment to this robust, healthy, progressively dynamic and holistic relationship when they signed the governmental Memorandum of Understanding during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Beijing Summit.

“China remains one of Nigeria’s key allies, with key bilateral trade and strategic cooperation, as well as trading import and export partnerships. With 80% of Nigeria’s population indicating a positive perception of Nigeria-China relation, Nigeria is clearly one of the most pro-China nations in the world.

Marshalling out the underlying reason for this seamless relationship, Runsewe who also doubles as the President, World Crafts Council for African Region said: “Both countries share similarities with regards to their strategic positioning in their respective continents, their political and economic influence as well as population strength. This fosters a mutually beneficial and harmonious atmosphere full of opportunities for sharing, understanding and exchanging of cultural commonalities and diversities among the two countries.

Otunba Runsewe, who was a special guest of honour at the event,also identified factors that enhance mutual benefits between Nigeria and China. Both countries share the same national day; October 1. For Nigeria, the year is 1960, while China’s is 1948. The two countries are ethnically diverse and share the misfortune of experiencing a civil war at some point in their histories, with the impacts still felt today in various ways.

It will be recalled that Runsewe is currently China Man of The Year and Chairman, Africa China Culture Exchange Society.

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