A life-size sculpture of the image of the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe, has been unveiled in Etiti village, Igboukwu, the ancestral home of the Igbo nation in Anambra state, as a key agenda to herald the New Yam Festival across the South East of Nigeria.
The gesture by the MBIDO Igbo Association, an inter-agency Committee on Culture, Arts and Tourism in the South East is said to be in recognition of the Runsewe’s contributions in the administration of public sector in Nigeria.
The tribute said Otunba Segun Runsewe will forever be remembered for constructing the biggest Yam House in Igbo land in particular, and Nigeria, and for listing the New Yam Festival on national and global cultural festival calendars during his time at Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in 2007.
Words on marble at the site of six-feet effigy reads: “This statue of Otunba Segun Runsewe OON, the indefatigable icon of Culture in Nigeria and Tourism Dynamo of our time, stands as testimony of a detribalized Nigerian who gave the Igbo race the deserved voice in cultural tourism world.”
National Chairman, MBIDO Igbo Association, Chief Okafouzu Ugochuchukwu, disclosed that Otunba Runsewe is so honoured for his enduring practical statement in the erection of the first national Yam House in Nigeria in 2007, and for enlisting the celebration of the Igbo Yam Festival in national and international cultural calendar.
“Otunba Segun Runsewe stood with the Igbo cultural tourism history and tradition as an Iroko tree and Zuma rock in a dogged effort, not only putting a national structure in recognition of the Igbo tradition as producers of Yam, but also in ensuring that the Yam festival is listed in the national cultural calendar which has helped the Yam Festival celebrated in Eastern Nigeria, gain international influence and sustainable prominence.”
Chief Ugochuchukwu reiterated the urgent need for Igboukwu as the ancestral home of the Igbo nation to be enlisted as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, site in order to preserve and promote the socioeconomic and cultural tourism value chain in Igbo history, tradition and socioeconomic endeavors.
The unveiling of statue in Igboukwu, witnessed in attendance top government officials, traditional rulers and Igbo cultural stakeholders.