Vanguard Names Otunba Runsewe Arts, Culture, Tourism Icon

The Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture and President, World Craft Council (Africa Region) Otunba Olusegun Runsewe (OON), was on February 14, 2024, named the prestigious Vanguard Personality of the Year Arts, Culture & Tourism Icon.

In the announcement made on the front page of Vanguard early Monday morning, Runsewe was described as “the only Nigerian alive today who is qualified to wear the crown of Nigeria’s Arts, Culture and Tourism Icon.”

In the literature accompanying the announcement published on Monday, one of the main reasons given by Vanguard Newspaper for choosing Runsewe for the award was the love Nigerians have for him as a result of “the work he has done, through Arts, Culture & Tourism, to unite the diverse people of Nigeria torn apart by a bitter civil war, religion, many years of corruption and social, political and economic injustice.”

“Otunba Runsewe’s belief in the unity of Nigeria is unflinching; it is a cause to which he has devoted his entire life and career. Outside the shores of the country, as it is at home, Runsewe is the face of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage,” Vanguard declared.

According to Vanguard, “the process for the selection of the ultimate winners in all the categories was rigorous, with heated debates amongst Vanguard editors to drive home points of views and reasons why one is more deserving than the other in a process bereft of electoral infidelity.”

“The process,” Vanguard explained, “commenced in late August 2023, with nominations, sorting by removal and inclusion of fresh nominees, defence of nominees and a final process of elimination by consensus. There were times when the meetings had to be suspended to allow for a period of cooling off. There were moments when the opprobrious effluvium of a nominee would quickly make the nominating editor beat a retreat and withdraw the name.

“There were also comic moments when editors just threw in names to douse moments of tension. Yet, there were moments when some editors would launch a voyage of exposition to package a nominee, only for a perceived behavioural deficiency to cause a puncture in the balloon of hopes and, thereby, causing the nominee to suffer a mishap within the context of selection.”

Other important personalities who clinched the 2023 Vanguard Personality of the Year Award included Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.

Other awardees are Chief Allen Onyema, Dr. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, Chief Olabode Ibiyinka George, Gen. IBM Haruna (retd), Prof Igwe Lazarus Ekwueme, Dr. Tinuade Toyin Sanda, Dr. Victoria Samson, Gbenga Komolafe, Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsegbubemi Oritsejafor, High Chief Habeeb Olalekan Okunola, Titilope Olubisi Ejimagwa, Austin Avuru, Lady Ada Chukwudozie, Ngozi Kekwaru, Kayode Fasua, Mrs. Vero Igbe, and Tantita Security Service Limited.