(Opinion)Runsewe And The Good Samaritans By Frank Meke
We are supposed to get real groves out of the expected and very timely intervention by the Federal Government to unbundle Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
Last week, we announced that shopping for the right person (s) for the tourism agency must begin in earnest in view of the Orosanye report, which placed a full commercialized status on its activities.
Let me report that several calls were received based on the publication, many wondering what are there for NTDC to sell or market, while others provided deep and thoughtful angles to the process. The calls are still coming and I am taking notes, researching and taking certain hard look about our cultural, tourism environment and the possible future outlook post COVID-19.
Indeed, there may be shocks and hiccups here and there, resistance from certain entrenched forces, daft political moves to water down the commercialization expectations and much more.
We however expect President Muhammadu Buhari to stand by the expected gains of diversified and commercialized NTDC and also help keep spoilers away. For instance, I stumbled on report which credited today’s NTDC workforce as most unskilled in tourism business in Africa. Can these guys survive in post COVID-19 business environment except we retrain and not sack them?
There’s a goggle tourism focus under the current management of NTDC for the past three or four years, yet we wonder why its goggle evangelism remain enveloped within the Abuja office, with no national spread and acceptance.
I will beg to situate the NTDC issue properly next week, beginning with the unveiling of its role and function in driving the Nigerian tourism economic dream.
My headline today brings to the fore how character is better than power. As a Christian, my model character personality is Christ Jesus. He would ask his disciples at every point in time how well the people fared and without cocktail stories, attend to their needs.
Christ famous teaching on the good Samaritan is about character, thoughtfulness and sacrifice. It is not about power or position, which many wield with absolute gusto, helping nobody, nation and history.
Otunba Segun Runsewe DG, National Council for Arts and Culture( NCAC), has big socks, working it off for nation and people. He is restlessly restless, doing good and giving people and nation cultural hope and endurance.
This COVID-19 pandemic has turned him into a one man riot squad, standing in gap, making impossible possible, providing kits and accessories to check the pandemic, not only to the cultural tourism community but also the security agencies and those on the frontline.
His focal attention and response to the Cultural tourism media is beyond measure. It’s a well grounded issue with him that the media persons must not suffer loss.
Years ago, a young female tourism media person suddenly passed on, Runsewe took over the burial process and provided logistics for the family and friends to ensure she was properly laid to rest. When we lost Pa Ebaboje Dasilva, Nigeria’s iconic tourism enigma, Runsewe was all we have.
He craved no airs, desire no klieg light attention, begging most times, to keep his laudable intervention secret. His critics maybe many but his admirers are in legion.
On this pandemic, his proactiveness is unbelievable. To an industry badly hit, Runsewe built bridges of help, hope and candour.
He believes in the reality of the moment but faith in the future, desperate to find a life line for industry players, not oblivious of the snaring and unfaithful few, convinced that Nigeria and Nigerian Cultural tourism economy must be counted and positioned to rejig our battered economy.
Runsewe saw tomorrow, not just on the need to make our people, our businesses the bed rock of our tomorrow, he is gifted with the vision to look beyond oil as the mainstay of our socioeconomic future.
From his days at NTDC, then a very sickly and wasteful tourism agency which suddenly roared back to life at Runsewe’s midas touch and now at NCAC, doubled on all fronts to a statement of desirable and gainful employment baseline, touching our rural poor and the urban cultural tourism entrepreneurs with handful skills and connection to prosperity.
To be modest, Runsewe has touched the often neglected cultural tourism media like no other. He knows everyone by name and personally calls to find out about their wellbeing.
Runsewe has character and power, both deployed to serve nation and people in humility. He has done well to show this character and he is not alone.
Chika Balogun, immediate past Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Government (NIHOTOUR), a Federal Government tourism training institution also showed character. Though out of office, waiting for the recall to finish her fine moments in the service of the nation and people, took to her Non Governmental Organization(NGO) to help the cultural tourism media in this very time of uncertainty.
Graceful and deliberately anonymous, Chika Balogun rallied round the tourism media, provided succour and measures of hope for tomorrow.
Ganiyu Tarzan Balogun, National President, Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) is classical in his intervention. Provided with a list, he dutifully sat in office, reaching out to many people, some whom he has not met or has in any way reported activities associated with him.
To Gani, popularly known as the Boatman, the media person anywhere is family. I am used to his early morning call round, just to find how the tourism media persons fare. These Samaritans deserve our prayers and I hope others in power or with power can make do with the gesture of care and faithfulness.
This COVID-19 pandemic has opened my eyes to the true definition of friendship and honour. It brought the vanity of power and riches to close quarters signaled the emptiness of promises and sermons of deceptive leadership.
Here, I won’t forget my friend Segun Adeyemi. He explained, “struggle” to me and how not think all men in power has character. However, he thinks I’m a trouble maker. These are the Samaritans of our time and Runsewe is a confirmed Samaritan.
May God bless you all.
- Frank Meke, a Media and Tourism consultant writes from Lagos