Nigeria campaign at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia got a massive boost, yesterday as National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) launched a drive to ‘raising three million cultural friendly supporters to cheer Super Eagles. Speaking at the unveiling ceremony to kick-start the mobilization of support for the three times African champions at the NCAC’s auditorium, Abuja, director general of the NCAC, Otumba Olusegun Runsewe, said the mobilization campaign is anchored on ‘#I_SupportNIgeriaSuper Eagles’, a social medial platform that can be accessed through the facebook, twitters and instagram accounts.
He said the campaign would also be driven through phone-in television questions and answers programmes to create massive awareness among Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora on the importance of the world cup to Nigeria and need to support the Eagles as a matter of patriotic obligation. The NCAC also noted that it was time that Nigeria used the tool of football and its abiding passion to promote and celebrate Nigeria’s rich culture internationally. “For far too long, we have under –employed the power of football and sports generally in promoting our culture, in promoting our arts, and in promoting our heroes. The time to start doing this, and in a big way, is now.
“Nobody will celebrate us for us; we have to do it ourselves. We must re- awaken the spirit of promoting and projecting our arts and cultural items in such a way that even domestic football will benefit. I have strong faith that we will raise even more than three million Nigerians who are ready to project our culture and wear the green-white-green anytime Nigeria is playing. We will also distribute miniature Nigerian flags to all these supporters.” The chairman of the occasion and former Green Eagles captain, Chief Olusegun Odegbami, lauded NCAC for the initiative.
“This concept has come at the right time with the FIFA World Cup – the biggest football showpiece in the universe – just by the corner. We need to take Nigeria’s arts and culture to the world the same way we are the second highest exporter of football talents to Europe after Brazil.” The 1980 Africa Cup of Nations winner recommended that in every hotel that the Super Eagles will stay during the FIFA World Cup in Russia, a stand should be allocated to conspicuously display Nigeria’s arts and cultural materials.