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Runsewe bags Icon of Africa award from AD King Foundation, Atlanta
The axiom which says “Do it well anything you do is not just for the sake of it, but an inspirational guide which propels someone who is entrusted with a task or a public office not just to do it in the business as usual fashion, but to inject passion and ensure total commitment of purpose in delivering the task.
The essence is that doing it well will not only bring out the best in the fellow, but it will also distinguish him from the crowd.
This exemplary performance will not usually go unnoticed but always showcase the fellow as a rare breed of men who will not stand before mere men, but dine with kings, emperors, queens and the power that be.
Diligence at work place or at one’s post of responsibility pays. Only few men whom God has endowed with a robust sense of responsibility exhibit diligence at work. The reason it is only the few that are not only honoured, but their deeds and works transcend generations.
The diligence of Chief Olusegun Runsewe at the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) where he superintends as the Director–General has marked him out as one of the few members of the Nigerian elements who still tell the public and assure the world that the nation still have within its large bowel men and women of conscience and vision who could be sent on missions without entertaining the fear of failure.
And the fact that Chief Runsewe always immerses himself into any assignment trusted upon his shoulder with all his ability and faces whatever challenges with agility of a lion has paved way for him not in monetary terms, but in getting commendation, respect and honour in higher places and international fora.
And it is natural that for whatever one does with the best intention and the patriotic zeal always has its reward immediately or later.
One thing that is certain is that no genuine good deed ever goes unrewarded.
This distinctly played right for Chief Runsewe in the United States of America during a two – week tourism road show trip which the NTDC embarked upon between July and August.
The NTDC’s road show which was a clear departure from the normal business as usual type, where government officials would invade a country, bearing in their hands Nigerian flags, mounting open roof cars and hiring articulated vehicles, loaded with crazy sound boxes, shouting and making noise, disturbing the peace of the host country and ended up messing Nigeria’s image the more to a sophisticated and well packaged road show of high contact whereby all groups that matters in the sectoral responsibility of marketing Nigerian tourism and shoring up its image were contacted, rub- minds with and commitment got from them.
The road show which the American public adjudged as the best so far to have come from Nigeria was not done in the noisy market places, but taken to the lunch ambience of Professional Golf Association (PGA) headquarter in Jacksonville, Florida, where the multi- million dollars intrepid golf players decide where and where to visit, and curved to Los Angeles, the home of the basketball players, the Grammy and the entertainment Centre of the World, to Washington DC, the capital which hosted the newsrooms of world powerful media houses and branched at Annapolis, Maryland ending it in Atlanta Georgia, the pride home of the black in Diaspora and birth place of Rev Martin Luther king Junior.
From each of these cities, Chief Runsewe cultivated respect, pride and honour to Nigeria. His manner of delivering the real story about Nigeria and selling its tourism potentialities was not only convincing but memorable, attractive, assuring and presented Nigeria to the Americans the way it is without the over sensitisation and hyping of the negativities.
The scientific and pro IT approach with which the NTDC boss packaged the road show which did a lot in shoring up the image of Nigeria and created a better understanding of the country and Nigerians and his outstanding activities and mode of selling Nigeria at international tourism shows, fairs and market since his assumption of office as the DG, NTDC impressed the King Centre’s AD King Foundation, a non- profit organisation founded in the memory of Dr AD king, the brother of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr who was a preacher of non- violence peaceful resolution of conflicts and an astute bridge builder in bestowing on him the ICON of African Award.
The award which was preceded by a letter earlier written to Chief Runsewe by Dr. Babs Onabanjo, President and Chief Executive Officer, AD king Foundation, Atlanta, reads in part
“Congratulations, the foundation has found you worthy of this honour by your patriotic zeal and energy at which you have been marketing the dignity and tourism attractiveness of Nigeria to the world.
“This icon of hope in Africa award is in recognition of your temerity of purpose and dogged evangelisation of Africa tourism potentiality to the world.
“We have monitored your activities in London, Spain, Germany, South Africa and the latest exploit in UAE. At each of this Travel Market, you have been able to tell the true story of Nigeria and her diverse tourism appeal and unique natural configurations.
“We consider you as one of those Dr Martin Luther King Jr., predicted would rise up in Africa and flag the continent’s flag high in the comity of continents. Thank you and again, congratulations.”
The award ceremony was packaged by the foundation in a unique manner which not only befitted the recipients and the nation, but showed it was not just another award.
AD King Foundation packaged the award which took the recipient on a tour of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr Centre in Atlanta, and getting to see the famous Ebenezer Baptist Church, Heritage Sanctuary.
Dr. Martin Luther and wife’s tombs, King Centre. Historical Fire Station, historical residential areas and lastly the King birth’s place – where the award was conferred on Chief Runsewe.
Revealing the essence of the award, Dr Onabanjo said, “We stand on the shoulders of those who paved the way for us and will always remember those who have left an impressive legacy for us to embrace.
“We remember those giants as Ahmadu Bello, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe, Obafemi Awolowo and many others. Now, we have a new visionary who is determined and committed to making a significant imprint on the development of tourism in our great country Nigeria. President Jonathan Goodluck could not have chosen a better competent and ideological director general in the person other than Otunba Olusegun Runsewe.”
Martin Luther King Jnr. asserted that “human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively in the knowledge that time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform Nigeria into an oasis of beauty that Mother-Nature has already endowed.
“Otunba is a man of this time to transform Nigeria into that imaginary oasis. Otunba has won many awards, but this special award entitled “The Icon of Hope in Africa” presented at this hallowed place, the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. is in recognition of your commitment to the development of tourism in Nigeria and Africa in general. Please, help me welcome the DG-NTDC Otunba Olusegun Runsewe.”
Presenting the award to Chief Runsewe, the Chairwoman of the AD King Centre, Mrs. Naomi Baber King said.” I bring you greetings on behalf of A. D. King Foundation. I am Mrs. Naomi Ruth Barber King, Chairwoman, A D King Foundation and the sister in-law to Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to the King Centre, and the birth home and the Historic Archive of the king family. We are delighted to honour you with a special award in recognition of your dedication and commitment to the development of tourism in Africa.”
Chief Runsewe who was delighted and elated by the award bestowed on him, thanked the AD King Foundation for considering him for such a rare and prestigious award which he said meant much to him adding that “I cherish this award and I promise to improve on that which have led to being a recipient of this prestigious award from a prestigious and historical foundation.”
Chief Runsewe said that the NTDC would form a synergy with the AD King Foundation in order to improve on the American perception of Nigeria and the black man.
He said he was happy to have ended the road show with an award conferred on him in a historical town and place where the man who crystallised the greatness of the blacks in America and who symbolised the pride of Africa in America – Dr Martin Luther King Jnr was born, assassinated and buried.
Chief Runsewe praised Dr Onabanjo for “For being a good mirror of Nigeria and a worthy ambassador of our great country in America in Atlanta.”
Chief Runsewe also presented a Nigerian souvenir to Mrs. King who expressed gratitude for” such a wonderful gift of a bronze head of a Benin Monarch.”
The award ceremony was witnessed by the Consular–General of Nigeria in Atlanta, Mr. B. Koye, president, Egbe Omo Yoruba in Atlanta, Chief Alani Ogunlade, Mr Muyiwa Ojo, Mr Diran Ojuolape, Mike Toye and many other prominent Nigerians in Atlanta.
Chief Runsewe in an interview with AfricanDiasporaTourism.com said “We are delighted and proud to introduce Nigeria’s rich assets to so many noteworthy people in the US market as this road show has been a wonderful experience and we see many great things to come between the US and Nigeria for travelers of all types, from business to pleasure.”
Chief Runsewe said the Nigeria offers visitors spectacular beaches, unique wildlife, a vibrant natural environment of rainforests, mountain ranges, hundreds of lakes, rivers and waterfalls and vast expanses of unspoiled nature.
Runsewe revealed that his long-range overall tourism goal was to make Nigeria the number one tourism destination in Africa adding that Nigeria has as much in tourism potentials as Dubai or Egypt. “Nigeria is just, while blessed with natural beauty and culture heritage endowments that can put us on top in terms of a tourism destination. “Nigeria also offers fascinating cultural heritage experiences as well as the rapidly growing cities for entertainment and adventure,” he said.
He went on to explain how he would be reaching out to the African American tourist through promoting the theme, ‘Nigeria: Our History is Your History.”Share
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