At a point, the area was taken over by miscreants. All sorts of crimes were being committed in and around the axis, while some of the felons us the complex as hide out. In this analysis, IDU OGAGBA examines the high points of the closure of the Arts and Cultural Village by Otunba Olusegun Reindeer, the Director-Generel, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC). The attestation by the National Assembly members bear testimony to his efforts at sanitising the place.
Otunba, as he is popularly called, is a man who has deep gift of prying into the future and who does not shy away from taking up the bull. When he took the difficult decision to shut down the village almost immediately after he took over the mantle of leadership, he knew he will not go unscorched, but he was determined to do the right thing.
Before then, some never do well, Indian hemp smokers, hard drugs merchants and some other who pry in dangerous trade, felt they could hide under the display and sale of our cultural heritage to perpetrate crimes. Some people had even dragged Otunba to court for “daring to touch the tiger by the tail”. Even some people who decided to lead lives that are antithetical to our culture, life styles and norms which none can really be proud of and want their children to emulate, took up arms against Otunba, vowing to bring him down.
But this gentleman, several traditional title holder, is not bothered about the blackmail and intimidation he is facing. As far as he is concerned, “I have sworn to my God that each time I have opportunity to serve in public office and even in my private life, I must do the correct thing. I am never intimidated by so-called powerful or highly connected people trying to cow me down or intimidate me. I know that with justice and God on my side, I will always triumph”.
And this effort paid off with recognition from where it matters most. Last week the National Assembly showered encomiums on Otunba and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu for their joint efforts at protecting the Arts and Crafts Village, among other public utilities belonging to the NCAC.
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism led by Hon. Ogbeide Ihama, passed the verdict during an over-sight of the NCAC. Unlike situation where Assembly members on oversight engage in endless brawl with CEOs, their visit to the NCAC brought out the best in executive legislative relationship.
Given the privilege information on what had happened at the place, the House deplored a situation where private individuals would convert government property to personal use, extolling the IGP and Runsewe for securing the permanent site of the NCAC.
Hon. Ihama said the two men remained unwavering in their commitment to protecting government properties, citing the Art and Crafts Village belonging to NCAC as example. According to the members who expressed satisfaction with the efforts made by Runsewe to refurbish the Art and Crafts village which is expected to generate thousands of jobs when completed. They specifically noted that he fought a war against principalities and powers, but remained undaunted inspire of the hard nuts he faced.
The members further harped on the need for other CEOs to secure and maintain similarly places under their care, as the NCAC Cultural Village was almost taken over by some self-serving individuals for selfish gains until Runsewe, upon assuming office decided the party was over. They expressed the full support of the federal government as the council seeks to re-open the village for the benefit of Nigerians.
Runsewe led members of the National Assembly to the crates village, explaining that no stone will be left unturned in a bid to rebuild the place to meet international standards.