Director General, Nation Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has stated the tourism and culture sector if properly harnessed have the potential to drive the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), even as he called on relevant authorities to adopt cultural diplomacy in addressing social and economic challenges facing the country.
Runsewe told journalists in Kaduna that the spate of hate speeches and ethno-religious crisis would be tackled if effective use of culture was made to bring Nigerians together.
The DG who was in Kaduna for the 47th meeting of the Executive Council on Culture, said Nigeria must learn from history and deploy culture effectively to cement bonds of friendship and interaction among the different tribes in the country.
“We going to adopt cultural diplomacy to solve most, if not all of the challenges we are facing. We are learning from history and the best option is cultural diplomacy which is what we are going to adopt this time; if we have respect for our individual cultures from different region,there won’t be hate speech.
“So, we are inculcating and reawakening the consciousness of our people that we can use our culture to solve a lot of problem in our society.”
The DG also said the country needed to exploit its cultural potentials to boost its Gross domestic Product (GDP).
“We need to prepare ourselves for the rainy day; 17 countries in Africa gather their GDP from culture and tourism, so why not Nigeria, we have the resources, manpower that can take care of all these things.
“Creative industry alone can change the narrative of this country. In this industry, no one is a waste, everybody useful, because you have to have one thing or two to contribute. This is the sector that will save this country from the challenges we have.”
Runsewe disclosed that the council meeting was preparatory to the National Festival of Art and Culture (NAFEST), to be held in Kaduna from October 14 to 21.
“We have 17 directors from different states of the federation and we have toured facilities to be used for the festival. It is a good strategy that we have gone round to check all the places, I believe Kaduna state is ready for the business of hosting NIFEST, I believe it’s good to go,” said Runsewe.