By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Director General National Council for Arts Culture (NCAC) Otunba Runsewe said Nigeria need to diversify beyond oil for sustainability of the country’s economy.
“This is the time government at all levels should pump money made from crude oil into tourism and culture for sustainable growth and development of the country.”
Runsewe made the disclosure while speaking at an interactive session with stakeholders in the Arts, Culture and Tourism sector and members of the media in Lagos recently.
He said “the country must wake up to the current economic realities, and with the breakdown of the Covid-19 pandemic globally, nations of the world are exploring various means of growing their economy.
“As the price of oil continue to fall, Nigeria’s economy has been badly affected, necessitating the need for the diversification to areas like tourism, art and culture”.
In the words of Runsewe, the forgoing goes to underscore the compelling need for diversification as the only way for a sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
Runsewe explained that: “Nigeria is known to be one of the most culturally diverse nations of the world. It has over 250 distinct ethnic groups, each with unique Culture and cultural products.
“The rich and diverse cultural assets of Nigeria have the capacity of sustaining a robust Tourism industry and driving the process of socio-economic development if adequately explored”.
He explained further that: “Nigeria has rich and fascinating cultural festivals. Many of these festivals are already in the world cultural map and are attracting the patronage of international audience.
“Some of the prominent festivals in Nigeria include Osun-Osogbo Festival in Osun State, Eyo Festival in Lagos State, Argungu and Nwonyo Fishing Festivals in Kebbi and Taraba States respectively, Pus Kat and Bit Geomai Festivals in Plateau State, New Yam Festivals in various parts of South Eastern Nigeria, the Durbar in the Northern part of Nigeria, Boat Regatta in South-South and the National Festivals of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) the annual Cultural festival of the National Council for Arts and Culture”,he said.
“It is important to note that festivals events serve as a catalyst that attracts recreation seekers to destinations with great Tourism potential.
This means that visitors are likely to spend more days in a given destination when attracted to the cultural festivals in that destination.
This long stay helps to improve the revenue base of the people thereby also impacting on the local economy”
The diversification into tourism and culture will make a whole lot of meaning for the country.
He added that there is an intricate relationship between Culture and Tourism because Culture provides the basic content for Tourism.
“There can be no sustainable Tourism without a strong cultural content”.