Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has extolled the Communist Party of China (CPC) for the remarkable achievements it has recorded in the various spheres of China since it was founded 100 years ago.
In a goodwill message addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is the General Secretary of the CPC and Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang and members of the Standing Committee of the CPC, Obasanjo declared that China’s growth and strength were unstoppable.
Obasanjo noted that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and China in 1971, Nigeria’s relationship with China has developed into one of the most important bilateral relationships maintained by either country.
The relationship, he added, has broadened and deepened with China’s growing power and interest in securing its regional interests, particularly within the South China Sea, and taking its place as a major global actor.
China and Nigeria, Obasanjo further noted, have signed a number of agreements on trade, economic and technological cooperation, as well as in the area of investment protection.
Obasanjo said, “In May, 1999 when Nigeria returned to constitutional democracy, I visited China twice in 2001 and 2005, respectively 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 twenty-first 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 modernization 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.
“As of 2017, Nigeria was China’s largest engineering contract market, second largest export market, third largest trading partner, and major foreign direct investment destination in Africa. Nigeria is also the first African country to accept Chinese renminbi (RMB) in its foreign reserve. China and Nigeria have maintained a steady development of Lekki and Ogun free trade zones in the Southern part of the country. The zones aim to attract foreign investors and manufacturers to optimize Nigeria’s industrial structure and improve its national living standard.
“Clearly, the relationship has become more economic as China evolved from a political power to a global economic giant. The growing trade and presence of Chinese finance in Nigeria has also led to changing narratives about increased migration on both sides. China has also contributed to the development of Nigeria’s human capital. Many Nigerian students now study in Chinese schools – with a few on scholarships.
“China’s visibility in Africa’s infrastructural landscape is clear. From the landmark $200million African Union Secretariat building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which was a gift in 2012 by China, to the roads, airports, railways, universities and libraries, Chinese investment in Africa increased from around $75million in 2003 to $2.7billion in 2019. Africa has also served as a market for Chinese manufacturing and as a source of raw materials.
“Chinese companies are also building education and training facilities in Nigeria. Nigeria was the first African country to establish a cultural centre in China, and the Chinese Cultural Centre was established in Nigeria in 2013. Every year, many cultural and academic groups from both countries visit each other, promoting art and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
“Let me conclude with a poser I raised in the Vol. III of my memoir, My Watch: Now and Then, ‘What events are we to watch for in the future?’ China’s growth and strength remain unstoppable. How China uses its increased power will matter to the world. Technology will keep moving. Africa must be innovative, shrewd and resourceful to know where and how to jumpstart technology, not by re-inventing the wheel but by being only a step behind the cutting edge of science and technology and by being part of the creation of relevant technology for our needs, development and progress. Africa must not be detached from the world of science, technology and innovation led by China,” Obasanjo wrote.
In the message, the former president congratulated the Chinese community all over the world and the entire good people of China on the 100 years celebration of the CPC, which he said, was 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. I bring to you the good wishes of the entire people of my great country, Nigeria.
“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 powerhouse it is today. At $16.64trillion GDP, it’s the second largest economy after USA with $22.68trillion GDP.
“The Peoples’ Republic of China is sometimes referred to as a modern day miracle and continues to draw the attention of the entire world for the remarkable progress it has made in economic development, science and technology. There are several important elements that led China to the Superpower status. One of the factors that have contributed immensely to the growth of the country is the leadership of the party. Indeed, the party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavour in every part of the country, and thus guides the socialist modernization of China.
“With the founding of the People’s Republic of China, headed by Mao Zedong who is regarded as the Founding Father of Modern China, China’s leaders began their exploration of the road to socialist industrialization and modernization. Working towards the goal of economic modernization, their strategy moved from ‘national industrialization to four modernizations’. Mao was responsible for many of the political initiatives that transformed the face of China.
“Following Mao’s death in 1976, the new leader, Deng Xiaoping, commenced a series of reforms that radically changed China. Deng encouraged international trade and allowed foreign capital investment. The result has been China’s phenomenal entry into world markets and a booming economy. The economic reforms that were introduced by Deng Xiaoping in the late seventies have transformed the Chinese economy and produced a period of spectacular growth. With Deng Xiaping’s reform policies of the 1970s and 1980s, China’s dramatic growth and modernization and attendant industrial, energy and market expansion needs brought it into greater contact with Africa,” Obasanjo also said.
NDLEA Arrests 774 Suspects, Seizes 3,874.3kgs Of Drugs In Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau
The three states make the Zone D of the narcotics agency.
Zonal Commander in the zone Umoru Ambrose, said this in Lafia yesterday while marking the 2022 UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
He said 134 drug suspects were prosecuted during the period, while 378 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated.
He added that states in the zone had intensified their operations in the War against Drug Abuse and sensitisation.
Ambrose called on all stakeholders to get involved in curbing drugs menace in the zone.
In his remarks, NDLEA Commander in Nasarawa State, Peter Odaudu, said the celebrations underscored the need for access to proper treatment for people with drug disorders.
He stressed that the war against drugs must be intensified in Nasarawa State especially given its position as the second highest drug prevalence state in the North Central after Kwara.
“Statistics from the 2018 drug survey showed a very alarming trend, the involvement of females in drug issues.
“We have at least one female out of every four drug users; this development is worrisome and must be reversed,’’ he said.
Odaudu thanked Nasarawa State’s Governor Abdullahi Sule for his support for the NDLEA and solicited urgent intervention in the provision of operational vehicles and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.
Guest speaker, Mr Nwora Okpalaeke, who is coordinator of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria in Nasarawa State, said 494,000 users died of drug abuse in 2019.
He spoke on “Illicit Drugs in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’’
He said drug abusers suffered liver cirrhosis, stroke, hepatitis, kidney and heart failure, noting that 14.3 million Nigerians are drug addicts, while three million are suffering from drug-related disorders.
“Government should strengthen the system to prevent proliferation of drugs and pay attention to agencies charged with reversing the situation.
“Drug abuse affects economic growth; the higher the abuse the higher the level of insecurity and poverty,’’ he said.
Senior Special Assistant on Primary Healthcare to Governor Sule, Margaret Elayo, commended the NDLEA in the state and assured of partnership to curb drug abuse in Nasarawa State.
The theme for this year’s celebration of the Day is: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’
NDLEA Arrests 218 Suspects, Seizes 1,471.314kg Of Drugs In Imo
The agency has also seized 1,471.314kg of drugs between July 2021 and June 2022.
The state commandant, NDLEA, Mr. Reuben Apeh, disclosed this while speaking to The Tide ahead of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking.
He said that 1,458.49kg of Cannabis Sativa, 1,0513kg of cocaine, 0.2077kg of Heroine, 3.896kg of Methamphetamine and 3.184kg of Tramadol were exhibits seized within the period under review.
Apeh disclosed further that cannabis farm in hectares was also destroyed in Imo State while 0.5278kg of Rohypnol and 2.5135kg of diazepam were among the seized exhibits.
He stated that some of the arrested suspects had been arraigned and convicted for drug related offences at the Federal High Court.
According to him, “Within the period covered, 51 were convicted and 145 were charged and their cases are still on going”.
Apeh described the drug situation in Imo State as worrisome, saying women have joined the illicit trade for financial gains.
He lamented that drug peddling was alarming among the younger generation in the state.
He, therefore, called on the stakeholders to partner with NDLEA to sensitize the society on the dangers of drug abuse.
By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri
NDE Trains 750 Youths On Apprenticeship Skills In Imo
Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu-Fikpo, made this known while flagging off the training programme in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Tide reports that the training is captured under the Advanced National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (A-NOAS) and Basic National Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS) of the Directorate’s Department of Vocational Skills Development (VSD).
The training skills include barbing, basic tailoring, hairdressing, welding, event planning, make- up, confectionery and auto mechanic, among others.
Nuhu-Fikpo, represented by the State Coordinator of the NDE in Imo State, Mrs Ngozi Ihenacho, explained that the trainees include youths and women drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the intensive training programme will take place in the Directorate’s training centres, one in each senatorial district of the state, and last for three months.
He urged the trainees to utilise the opportunity provided by the training programme to acquire viable skills that would enable them become self-reliant, and thereby decongest the labour market, and reduce poverty and hunger.
“In today’s world, opportunities such as these are rare and hardly come on a platter and I urge you, my dear beneficiaries, to take this opportunity serious, be punctual at the training venue with the aim of liberating yourselves from the chains of poverty and unemployment”, he advised.
Also speaking at the programme, Director of the VSD, Mallam Isa Abdu, explained that the training scheme would run simultaneously, with the beneficiaries receiving transport allowances for the duration of training.
Abdu, represented by a senior staff in VSD, Mr Onyekwelu Igwesi, said that expert trainers had been hired to conduct the training and urged the trainees to justify the opportunity given them to become employers of labour.
“All over the world, as the value of money depreciates, entrepreneurs are adjusting with the times, hence the need for viable skills that can drive the economy. Learn the skills and be your own boss”, he said.
One of the trainees, Miss Oluchi Uchenna, who responded on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the NDE for creating the opportunity for them to thrive in their quest to become economically independent.
By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri
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