By Dapo Akinrefon
Vice President Kashim Shettima, on Saturday, said that with China’s support, Nigeria’s socioe-conomic development has improved significantly.
He said this while delivering his goodwill address during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day celebration held in Lagos.
The Vice President, who was represented by the Minister of State for Steel Development, Alhaji Uba Ahmadu,
He said: “Your choice to be here and even host us, emphasises the depth of our connection as long-standing development partners. Thankfully, you can gaze upon the luminous full moon from here, cherishing the value of family, community and harmony that defines this tradition.
“We join you in marking your national pride, as impressed witnesses to the journey towards prosperity, progress and national rejuvenation.
“Since 1971, when our diplomatic gateway WA swung open, Nigeria and China have forged an inspiring relationship.
“We have enabled both our governments and citizens to access the boundless opportunity the multilateral tapestry of international relations between Nigeria and China trace back over five decades, it was on February 10, 1971 that Nigeria and China officially embraced a diplomatic partnership.
“Since that historic handshake 50 years ago, we have remained committed allies, steadfast in supporting each other through thick and thin.
“China’s enduring support has significantly contributed to Nigeria’s advancement across various facets of national development, encompassing technology, infrastructure, science, steel production, marine affairs and the blue economy among others.”
Speaking on the alignment between the two countries, the VP said: “Our profound partnership is a true reflection of the comprehensive bilateral relations that we share across all the domains of the economy and life. This alignment stems from the strategic positioning within our respective continents, our formidable political and economic influence and our substantial population strength.
“These factors engender mutually beneficial opportunities for the exchange of cultural affinities, understanding and cooperation between our two great nations
Today, we stand united more as we have for decades, to renew and strengthen the bonds of this strategic partnership, which have grown even more robust over the past half century.
“Today, we stand at the threshold of even greater collaboration between our nations. Thanks to you, the Chinese community in Nigeria had played a critical role in laying the foundation for continued strategic cooperation. We look forward to deepening our ties across all weathers as we have over the decades.
“A strong sense of collective national pride is a pathway to order. Order is a pathway to development. This is why we must celebrate occasions that bring people together, whether as a nation or a comity of nations, so, the task ahead is not one that an individual can undertake; it necessitates the collective efforts of all.
“I implore politicians, traditional and religious leaders, the academic community, the media, private sector leaders and our compatriots in the Diaspora to come together and chatt the course towards forging an egalitarian Nigeria, where the progress and development of our nation are embraced as our common objectives.”
On President Bola Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda, he said: “The president has demonstrated his commitment to fostering reconciliation and renewing the hope of the nation. Our collective goal remains harnessing our abundant national resources and channeling them toward driving the wheels of progress.
“To achieve the, we know that our attitudes should be guided by our cherished cultural values and national ethics. This is not the time for distraction, it is the time to reassure ourselves that the world isn’t going to wait for us while we obsess at our differences. This is the time to build the Nigeria of our dreams.”
Earlier in her address, the Consular General of the Chinese Consulate, Yan Yuging assured that the Chinese government is committed in the bilateral relations with Nigeria.
Also speaking, chairman of the China Industrial and Commercial Enterprises Association, Dr Eric Ni assured that the Chinese community in Nigeria will continue to contribute to the development of Nigeria.
He said: “As as gather to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, we are glad to inform you that the Chinese community in Nigeria has contributed to the development of the country. In the education sector, we have given out over 200 scholarships, we have renovated schools in Nigeria and we int nd to do more.”
Also speaking, Director-General of the National Council of Arts and Culture, NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe said the council will “serve as a catalyst for consolidating and sustaining China-Nigeria bilateral business, cultural and diplomatic relations for many more years.”