The 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.
The event was also in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of China on Oct. 1.
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.
He 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.