Nigerians Celebrate Otunba Runsewe as Transgender Activist, Daphne Dorman, Commits Suicide

Otunba Segun Runsewe

True words are not defined by the volume of a man’s voice, but by the consequence of his choices. Ask Otunba Segun Runsewe. The very hard-working man who is passionate about Nigeria, would never use gilded words to masque deceit neither does he brandish fickle principles and statistics to conclude with a false truth. Unlike many a rabble-rouser, who flashes documents to lock down evidence but never real facts to back their proof, Runsewe has revealed the depth of decadence and immorality among the youth.

But to achieve his aim, by kicking against indecency in our culture, he did not spin tales out of thin air, neither did he attempt to cut through decency like a butcher’s knife. Many may not understand the depth of the problem but Otunba Segun Runsewe, the pragmatic and proactive Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, does. According to a 2014 Study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, Transgender people have high rates of suicide while 41 percent of transgender people have attempted actual suicide.

This explains his strident condemnation of cross-dresser, Idris Okuneye, otherwise known as Bobrisky, whom he says should be reined in before wreaking further havoc on the psyche of youths because his antics are enough to “destroy the credibility of our country.”

Considering Bobrisky’s huge social media following where his lifestyle seems to be catching on with impressionable young Nigerians, the NCAC DG said, “My job is to protect and preserve the fabric of our good culture. Bobrisky is not a role model or an icon that Nigerian youths should look up to. We should all condemn him so that he would go back to how he was created. He has a right to leave Nigeria for any country that practises and encourages trans-gender lifestyle. If he is caught on the streets of this country, he will be dealt with ruthlessly.”

While ruing the bastardisation of Nigeria’s noble culture and values by what he called attention-seeking characters such as Bobrisky who he described as a bad example, Otunba Runsewe enjoined youths to remain good cultural ambassadors of the country because the global community respects only those who are able to sustain their unique cultural identity.

Since he made that pronouncement, many Nigerians have been hailing the NCAC DG for speaking against the growing popularity of Bobrisky and other such characters. But those conversant with Otunba Runsewe’s trajectory are not in any way surprised that he is confronting frontally one of the ills of the society.

A consistent phenom in the media, culture and tourism sectors in Nigeria since the last three decades, his footprints are indelible in the country’s cultural landscape.

Otunba Runsewe was appointed as an Executive Director at the National Orientation Agency in 2000, a position he held until his appointment as the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in August 2006. His tenure at the NTDC, marked by an aggressive tourism marketing campaign anchored on the catch-phrase ‘Tourism is Life’, gave the sector unprecedented national and international visibility, and remains a watershed in the development of the home-grown tourism sector.

However, when news broke days back that Daphne Dorman, the transgender American comedienne, had died due to apparent suicide, discerning Nigerians understood and appreciated better what Runsewe had been clamorous about. On October 11, Daphne, 44, had posted a goodbye note on her Facebook page, stating, “To those of you who are mad at me: please forgive me.

To those of you who wonder if you failed me: you didn’t. To those of you who feel like I failed you: I did and I’m sorry and I hope you’ll remember me in better times and better light.” Daphne was a successful software engineer before she became a transgender entertainer.