Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
By Dapo Akinrefon
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, hailed the Communists Party of China, CPC, for moving China from the era of Chairman Mao to become the economic power house till today.
Obasanjo, who felicitated CPC on its 100 years in existence, said China’s success can be ascribed to its political system.
The former president’s statement read in part: “Let me start by congratulating the Chinese community all over the world and the entire good people of China on the 100 years celebration of your great Party, the CPC, the second largest political party in the world.
“I am, indeed, pleased and honoured for the opportunity accorded me to send in my Goodwill Message in support of the centenary celebration.
“Founded in 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has always been committed to its original aspiration and mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.
“It is important to note that China’s success can be ascribed to its political system. The party has led the country from the era of Chairman Mao to become the economic power house till today.
“At $16.64 trillion GDP, it’s the second largest economy after USA with $22.68trillion GDP.
“In May 1999 when Nigeria returned to constitutional democracy, I visited China twice in 2001 and 2005 with my Chinese counterpart reciprocating both visits.
“The combination of domestic political and economic reforms and policy re-alignment enabled Nigeria to re-open dialogue and cooperation with major trading partners.
“As a result, there was evidence of growth in the country’s trade relations with its traditional allies as well as emerging economies such as India and China.
“Indeed, by 2004-2005, China has succeeded in displacing other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands as Nigeria’s biggest trading partner.
“During former President Hu Jintao’s visit to Nigeria in 2006, as Nigerian President, I remember making the following remarks: ‘From our assessment, this 21 century is the century for China to lead the world.
“‘And when you are leading the world, we want to be close behind you. When you are going to the moon, we don’t want to be left behind’.
“Today, China is one of the most important lenders of development finance to Nigeria. Chinese firms and finance play a prominent role in Nigeria’s infrastructure development.
“This is notably in the construction of railway lines and road reconstruction across the country. Nigeria marked symbolic progress of railway service in July 2016, when its first completed standard gauge railway modernisation project, Kaduna to Abuja, assisted by China was put into commercial operation.
“The light rail, the first of its kind in West Africa, fully reflects China’s technology, quality and speed.”