We’ll continue to boost our relations with China, says FG

By Chinenye Offor

Mr James Sule, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, has reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to fostering relationship between Nigeria and China.

Sule made the remark in his goodwill message to mark the Chinese New Year Temple Fair on Saturday in Abuja.

The permanent secretary, represented by his special adviser, Aisha Bello, said that Nigeria and China have been in relationship for more than fifty years, therefore, pledging the ministry’s commitment to building the relationship.

Sule also appreciated the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria for its unwavering support to the country and ministry.

He congratulated the government of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and the entire Chinese community in Nigeria on the celebration of the 2024 Chinese Temple Fair.

“It is my great pleasure to join the government of People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and the entire community of China in Nigeria to celebrate the 2024 Chinese Temple fair also known as the spring festival.

“It is one of the extensive recognised festivals in Chinese culture,” he added.

Also, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, President, World Crafts Council (African Region), said that the cultural sector in Nigeria had benefited greatly from the Chinese human capital development programmes.

Runsewe, who said that over the years both countries have developed a strong cultural partnership that pays, noted that Nigeria is  blessed with heritage sites, comparable to that of the Chinese Temple Fair, if developed.

He added that Nigerian historical and heritage sites could be upgraded to serve as recreational, religious and commercial sites.

Runsewe said that Nigeria is rich in arts, crafts and other cultural products, adding that some of the nation’s historical sites have been listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO.

“It is important to point out that China shares lots of similarities with Nigeria, while China is the most populous country in Asia, Nigeria is also the most populated country in Africa.

“Both China and Nigeria are culturally diverse nations; China has 56 official ethnic groups while Nigeria has about 400 ethnic groups each with its unique cultural peculiarities.

“China has leveraged its cultural strength to develop its economy and Nigeria is harnessing its cultural potential to drive the process of her economic development.

“This is why we must strengthen our cultural ties with China so as to tap from their cultural expertise,” he said.

Runsewe, however, said that both countries had a lot to learn and benefit from each other in the area of cultural exchange.

He, therefore, congratulated the Chinese cultural centre for hosting the Chinese New Year and pledged his commitment to build on the existing partnership for the benefit of both countries.

In an opening remark, Cui Jianchun, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, said, “the 2024 New Year Temple fair is the year of Dragon which symbolises a lot for both countries, China and Nigeria,  going forward.

“The first word, D, means development and both countries believe in development for nations to thrive.”

According to him, development is what can  be achieved as an individual, society and a nation to make progress.

He described the second R in dragon as the revitalisation of Chinese economy post COVID-19.

“A in the dragon will symbolise assistance and we want to reinstate our commitment toward supporting Nigeria.

“G in the dragon is for guidance and we believe that we have a lot we can learn from each other in order to build a community with shared future for mankind.

“O in the dragon is for opportunity, China is embarking on its way of modernisation and we are doing the rejuvenation of Chinese nation, Nigeria can also seize this opportunity to work together to build a shared community for both countries.

“N in the dragon symbolises nationalism which is a key for Nigeria’s unity, which admits its diverse ethnic group,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that cultural dancers from both countries graced the occasion with their dance troupes. (NAN)