Runsewe, man who ‘ruined’ Bobrisky’s birthday returns to NCAC

Segun Runsewe

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the reappointment of Segun Runsewe as director-general, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) for another term of four years.

A statement by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu on Friday disclosed that Mr. Runsewe was reappointed alongside director-general of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Folorunso Coker and executive director of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) Adedayo Thomas.

Immediate former chief executive officer/artistic director of the National Troupe of Nigeria Tar Ukoh was not reappointed.

Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed is to take over as substantive head of the national troupe.

Runsewe, Coker and Thomas were in limbo for one month after their first term expired on March 31 before the reappointment was confirmed on April 30.

It is still unclear why Mr Ukoh was not reappointed.

What many will remember most from Runsewe’s first term as the NCAC boss was his crusade against transvestite Idris Okuneye, popularly known as Bobrisky.

Runsewe boasts of working with the police to scuttle Bobrisky’s 28th birthday party on August 31, 2019.

His campaign against the social media personality, however, started before the birthday.

Speaking at an event to mark the World Handcrafts Day at the NCAC headquarters, in June of that year, Runsewe said Bobrisky was not a cultural ambassador or true representation of the Nigerian culture.

He condemned what he called “the bastardisation of our noble culture and values by attention-seeking characters such as Bobrisky” who he described as a very bad example that the youths should not emulate.

Speaking in an interview published in Vanguard two months later, Runsewe described Bobrisky as a national disgrace.

Hear him: “Bobrisky is a national disgrace. He started by selling and using bleaching creams. Now, he has grown boobs, bums and hips. If a Bobrisky is doing well with his immoral lifestyle, how do you convince Nigerian youths to do the right thing? Bobrisky has the right, but not within the Nigerian environment.”

Responding in an Instagram post, Bobrisky said Runsewe was too small for him to worry about, boasting that he relates with the DG’s superiors in government.

“I heard someone in government talked about me a few days ago. Please tell him I’m waiting for him. It’s then he will know that I roll with his bosses in government, not someone at his level. So he left serious issues in Nigeria to address Bobrisky. But I popular sha,” the controversial figure said.

A few days after Bobrisky’s riposte, policemen stormed the venue of his birthday in Lagos, leading to loss of millions of naira reportedly spent in planning.

Runsewe claimed Bobrisky had planned to use the event to inaugurate an LGBT movement in Nigeria and further corrupt the youth.

Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in September 2021, Runsewe said that if Bobrisky’s activities were not promptly curtailed, the effect would be worse than the Ebola outbreak.

“Bobrisky is a national disaster, an embarrassment to the country, engaging in cultural corruption as a cross-dresser and we have to start to curtail his activities before it gets out of hands.

“We will not allow Bobrisky to destroy the future of our youths and the unborn Nigerians,” he said.

A month later, the NCAC DG raised alarm over Bobrisky’s purported use of the women’s toilet at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Runsewe, who called on the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA)  to enlighten women on the dangers of sharing public toilets with Bobrisky, queried why he was allowed to use the airport facility when his passport says he is a man.

“If Bobrisky is even using men’s toilet, we can understand.  As I speak, we got a report of how a woman was very upset with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria because on this day she saw Bobrisky using female toilet in Abuja airport,” he said.

Before his appointment as NCAC DG in 2017, Runsewe had served as general manager of New Nigerian Newspapers, executive director at the National Orientation Agency and director-general of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), among others.

Born in Kaduna to a family from Ogun State, he is an ever-present personality in the Nigerian media, culture, tourism and sport sectors.