Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Zhou Pingjian, says the African country can achieve the same feat as China if its government can prioritise the interests of its citizens and open itself up to the world.
Zhou expressed this thought on Wednesday in Abuja at a ceremony to honour outstanding Nigerian advocates of China-Nigeria relations.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the 48 recipients of the China Alumni Association of Nigeria were honoured for their contributions to strengthening China-Nigeria bilateral relations in different sectors.
Zhou said China was able to attain greatness and success because the government considered the interests of its people first before any other thing.
He also attributed China’s successes to the strong leadership provided by its founding political party and its openness to the world.
The envoy urged Nigeria to emulate China.
According to him, at the founding of China in 1949, it could not produce anything significant, but 70 years after, it became a global force with every household across the world using “made in China” products.
Zhou, who said that sharing the same independence date with Nigeria was significant, urged the award recipients to continue their good works in different sectors in order to strengthen the bilateral relations between both countries.
“A lot of things have contributed to the achievements of China in the past 70 years and another one is, we have friends like Nigeria and the world and China pursues an opened policy.
“Putting people first, strong leadership of the political party, and openness to the world have helped us make great strides in the economic and social development in China.
“In 1950, the first year after the founding of the People’s Republic, the trade value between China and the world was only 1.13 billion U.S. dollars, but last year trade value hit 4.6 trillion U.S. dollars.
“In 1978, there was almost no Foreign Direct Investment in China and in 40 years, we attracted more than two trillion dollars in Foreign Direct Investment.
“In 1949, there were no Nigerian students in China but today, there are more than 7,000 students pursuing higher learning in China.
“We are opened to the world and that is a key element to understand why China can achieve something in 70 years.
“Mutual understanding and friendship between two countries is the foundation of a successful bilateral relation,” Zhou said.
The Chinese envoy further called on the award recipients to continue to promote relations between both countries which he described as very strategic and important.
He added that as one of the largest economies in the world, China valued its relationship with Nigeria, which he described as the largest developing country in Africa.
Also speaking, Hon. Buba Yakub, Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs lauded Nigeria-China cordial relations which he said was evident in so many laudable developments in Nigeria.
Congratulating the award recepients, Yakub urged them to take up the challenge to evolve strategies that would take the bilateral relations to a higher level.
“As the year 2019 marks the 48th year of uninterrupted diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, both countries have thus far enjoyed a cordial relationship.
“As evidence of the deepening economic and socio-cultural integration today, China-Nigeria relations are regarded as a pace-setter for not only Africa, but within the global economic community.
“The history of this relation has become a reference point to so many countries especially in the areas of Trade and Investment.
“The highlight of the recent decade involving Nigeria-China relations is the massive inflow of Foreign investment to address critical infrastructural gaps in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is poised to be the next viable destination for China’s Foreign investments in view of its economic potentials.
“This significant feet have been realized by determined efforts of both countries and also the advocates of China Nigeria relations of which we are here to celebrate today,” Yakub said.
Speaking on behalf of the award recipients, Dr. Sheriff Ghali called on fellow awardees not the forget the reasons why they were honored and keep working to build the unity of both nations.
Ghali urged them to work towards changing the negative misunderstandings of other countries to the China-Africa-Nigeria relations which is perceived as imperialism.
He urged them not to relent in the already good works of strengthening bilateral ties which they already started.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
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