Cultural Exchanges between Nigeria and China dates back February 10, 1971, when the duo established formal diplomatic ties. However, Nigeria upped the game by establishing a full fledge Cultural Centre in Beijing in 2012. China reciprocated by setting up a Cultural Centre in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2013. In this interview with DANIEL BENJAMIN, China’s Cultural Counsellor at the embassy of China, and the Director of Chinese Cultural Centre, Mr Li Xuda said “A lot have been achieved in China and Nigeria’s government to government and people to people relations.”
QUESTION: From records, Chinese Culture is assumed to be among the richest and most dynamic in the world, why do you think this is so?
First of all, you know, China is a very large country with huge population and long written history that dates back to about five thousand years. China has developed into famous civilisation, one of the four ancient civilisations like Egypt and others. At the same time I want to mention that Nigeria is a great country with rich culture. You have a long history. You have many wonderful, beautiful and splendid civilisations like China. We have similarities in cultural field. Another thing is, Chinese People are diligent and working so hard. Generation after generation, year after year, creatively, we became famous for inventions like producing so many things like paper making, gun powder making, making of compass for ships to navigate in the ocean so that they can know the path. In modern times, China has made a lot of contribution to the world peace and development. We have many new inventions like e-commerce, which was developed in China. Just like Nigeria has developed very quickly in its economic, social and culture sectors. China and Nigeria have a lot in common to share. So, we are good brothers and good partners.
QUESTION: When did Nigeria and China established formal cultural exchange, I mean, at governmental level?
Cultural Exchanges between Nigeria and China dates back to February 10, 1971, the year Nigeria and China established formal diplomatic relations. This is the 47th anniversary of our development relations. In commemoration, His Excellency, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Zhou Pingjian from what I know, paid visit to three famous universities in Nigeria, where 47 excellent students were selected from each of the three universities for various forms of scholarships. Through education, we are trying our best to help Nigerian people.
Question: You established a Cultural Centre in Nigeria in 2013, what was the motivation behind the action?
The move is to deepen our cultural relations. Before the establishment of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Nigeria, both countries had agreement. Nigeria first established a Cultural Centre in Beijing, China. Then in 2013, China decided to setup its Cultural Centre in Nigeria. It is to enrich our cultural and education exchanges. Like I mentioned during the 5th anniversary of Chinese Cultural Centre in Nigeria, “The Cultural Centre is setup as a platform for our two countries, government to government, people to people exchanges. “Certainly, is like a window through which Chinese People can come to see the Nigerian people the same way the Nigerian people can come through the window to know more about China people.
“It is like a bridge; let our two peoples use this bridge to do business, education and many other things, in which our people can connect with each other very easily.” The Centres can provide information and at the same time, we can organise bigger events, festivals and national holidays. Coincidentally, Nigeria and China shares the same national holiday (October 1st). Our two countries can host bigger events.
Question: Festival is an aspect of culture; recently, you celebrated ‘Moon Festival.’ What is Moon Festival?
You know in China, we have four seasons: Spring, summer, autumn, and Winter. Spring seasons generally are for planting and the autumn season is for harvest. So, when the mid-autumn season comes, it is time for harvest. Chinese People use the mid-autumn ‘Moon Festival’ to have a reunion for the family. They get together to celebrate harvest and brighter future. Moon Festival is a traditional Chinese Festival.
Nigeria has many ethnic groups and as such, multiple cultures, the head of ethnic Traditional Institutions doubles as custodian of their cultures, have your Centre been collaborating with traditional institutions in Nigeria?
Yes! I can tell you that since I came here last year, I made lot of friends with the local people working in the cultural and education field and we have been enjoying good collaboration with co-hosting of some events. We have collaboration with National Council for Arts Culture, NCAC, Federal Capital Cultures and Arts department, Ministry of Education.
Also, the newly established China Cultural Village will be hosting many events together as time goes on. Through these government to government, people to people exchanges; we can deepen our cultural relations that our both people can benefit from.
QUESTION: In your own understanding, what is the relationship between culture and tourism?
I think culture and tourism should be put together. It is better to promote either through culture style and at the same time, if you want to promote your culture, you can use tourism concept to promote your culture. You know, tourism gives people some platform to relax themselves, while at the same time learning some values. Each country has its own values, including Nigeria. China and Nigeria share common values like care for our peoples, our children, it is through these mediums that we can promote our tourism sector.
QUESTION: There are many tourist sites in Nigeria that are yet to be developed. What are you doing to expose Chinese investors to tourism potentials in Nigeria?
Few days ago, I invited some youths to attend our Culture and Tourism talk shop at the Chinese Cultural Centre. The event turned out to be very successful. It was co-hosted by Embassy of China and China Cultural Centre in Nigeria. The theme of the talk shop was “Youths, Tourism, Development and Organisation. Participants were drawn from China and Nigeria on the way to move the culture and tourism sector in our both countries forward.
To me, Nigeria is a great country with splendid natural resources and at the same time, splendid human resources with so many young people. If we promote our tourism industry, it will create many jobs, which will solve unemployment problems. It will also give the youths the opportunities to develop themselves.
On my part, I will do my best to expose Nigeria’s tourism potentials to Chinese investors. Encourage Chinese to come here and see Nigeria’s tourism potentials. I will encourage Chinese businessmen to come and invest in Nigeria’s tourism industry. By these measures, we can move Nigeria’s tourism sector forward faster.
Kenneth Kaunda, last of African patriarchs joined the ages @ 97
The first president of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, has died aged 97. He was the country’s founding father and ruled for 27 years from 1964 after it gained independence from Britain.
Kaunda’s death comes days after reports that he was admitted to Maina Soko military hospital in the capital, Lusaka, where he was treated for pneumonia from Monday.
One of the first generation of post-independence African leaders, Kenneth Kaunda led his vulnerable and landlocked nation through a perilous era in southern Africa. It was his most outstanding achievement that during his 27 years in power he maintained domestic stability in a comparatively benign manner while providing bases for the movements struggling against his far more powerful white neighbours in Rhodesia and South Africa.
Kenneth David Kaunda (28 April 1924 – 17 June 2021), also known as KK, was Zambian President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. Kaunda was the youngest of eight children born to an ordained Church of Scotland missionary and teacher, an immigrant from Malawi. He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule. Dissatisfied with Harry Nkumbula‘s leadership of the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress, he broke away and founded the Zambian African National Congress, later becoming the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). He was the first President of the independent Zambia. In 1973 following tribal and inter-party violence, all political parties except UNIP were banned through an amendment of the constitution after the signing of the Choma Declaration. At the same time, Kaunda oversaw the acquisition of majority stakes in key foreign-owned companies. The oil crisis of 1973 and a slump in export revenues put Zambia in a state of economic crisis. International pressure forced Kaunda to change the rules that had kept him in power. Multi-party elections took place in 1991, in which Frederick Chiluba, the leader of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, ousted Kaunda.
Ex-MD of Bank PHB Atuche to spend 6 years behind bars for N25.7bn fraud
Ex-MD of Bank PHB Atuche to spend 6 years behind bars for N25.7bn fraud
An Ikeja High Court on Wednesday sentenced a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank) Francis Atuche to six years imprisonment for N25.7 billion fraud.
His co-defendant, Ugo Anyanwu, was also sentenced to four years imprisonment.
The duo was convicted in 21 of 27-count charges against them.
Atuche and Anyanwu were sentenced to six and four years on each of the 21 charges. The sentences will run concurrently.
Justice Lateefat Okunnu said the convicts must make restitution as contained in Count 4, noting that the amount stolen was not up to what was alleged in the charge.
The judge discharged and acquitted Atuche’s wife of charges of conspiracy and stealing.
She held that the EFCC failed to link her to the crime, adding that suspicion no matter how strong can not take the place of fact.
In convicting the duo of Atuche and Anyanwu, the judge upheld the arguments of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Kemi Pinheiro, who prosecuted the case with the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
Pinheiro had opposed Atuche’s contention that the stolen funds in dispute were loaned, not stolen.
The judge agreed with the prosecution and held that the money belonged to the bank and that it was capable of being stolen.
Justice Okunnu convicted Atuche and Anyanwu on counts 1 to 11, 14-20, 23, 24 and 27.
“The first and third defendants did not debunk the evidence of the prosecution that the loans were used to purchase shares.
“They rather contended that the monies granted as loan could be used for whatever purposes,” she said.
In a judgement that lasted over 11 hours, Justice Okunnu held that the EFCC successful proved its case against the convicts beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge also held that the offences for which the convicts were charged can not be said to be mere professional negligence but criminal.
The court held that Atuche and Anyanwu abused their powers and ignored established rules and regulations, thereby putting the bank and depositors’ funds in danger.
The court held that the convicts corruptly took advantage of their positions to confer on themselves undue financial benefits without regard to the health of the bank.
The EFCC alleged that between November 2007 and April 2008, the convicts stole about N25.7bn belonging to the bank.
The defendants had pleaded not guilty.
Source: The Nation
State of the nation: Group insists on creation of Aba State
. As Governor Uzodimma backs additional State for SE
Aba State Movement on Wednesday told the House of Representatives Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution which was held at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, that the request for the creation of Aba State was a quest for equity based on history stretching more than 40 years.
This is even as the Governor of Imo State, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodimma, called on the National Assembly to consider additional state for the Southeast.
Chief Theo Nkire, who presented the case for the proposed Aba State recalled that the House of Representatives passed a motion for a referendum on the creation of Aba, Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu States from the then Anambra and Imo States in January 1982. In June 1983, the Senate passed the same motion on the creation of Aba, Abia, Ebonyi, and Enugu States from the then Anambra and Imo States. On the same day the National Assembly confirmed the four States and others for referendum.
“Of the four States the National Assembly confirmed for referendum by 1983 Aba State is the only one that has not been created from the South East,” he said, waving copies of the 39-year-old Hansard that reported the National Assembly’s decision.
Chief Nkire, first Attorney General of Abia State, said that most recently Aba State’s case was made by a Committee that Chief John Nnia Nwodo, immediate past President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, inaugurated on 11 September 2018, in his capacity as the President General of Ohanaeze. The Committee’s mandate was to evaluate requests for more States in the South East.
He noted that the conclusion of the Committee’s report to Governor Dave Umahi, Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum stated, “The Committee considered the merit for the creation of Aba and Adada State respectively, resolved and recommended for the creation of Aba State with 12 members supporting and 5 abstaining. The Committee also recommended that any other State Creation exercise in the South-East should give Adada State priority.” The report was dated 10 October 2018.
Aba State Movement, he said, stood by the report of the Ohanaeze Committee on State Creation. Chief Nwodo, who was Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide President General until January 2021, set up the Committee. “The Ohanaeze Committee, under Chief Nwodo’s presidency recommended the creation of Aba State,”
President Muhammadu Buhari had promised an Ohanaeze delegation Chief Nwodo led to Abuja in November 2017 an extra in the South East. Chief Nwodo inaugurated the 2018 Ohanaeze Committee. It was the process in realisation of an extra State in the South East as the President promised.
On his part, Governor Hope Uzodimma also called on the National Assembly to consider additional state for the Southeast, saying that Ndigbo want a constitutional that works for all Nigerians on the basis of equity, Justice and fairness.
He said: “As Nigerians we all want a country that will accommodate our legitimate desires. We don’t want secession. We want a country that will be driven by the spirit of equity, fairness and justice. We are in a democracy where questions of doubt are resolved through dialogue and not through violence or insurrection.
“The demand of our people is simple: we want a constitution that works for all of us. Our people want a constitution that devolves more powers to the federation unit. A constitution that gives vent to restructuring. The National Assembly should consider a sixth state for the Southeast. The sixth state will go a long way in this regard”.
On his part, the Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, said the review of the constitution is in fulfilment of the provision of the constitution and answer to the calls of Nigerians, to promote peace and unity. He assured: “From the National Assembly, we shall do all that you have asked us to do undiluted”.
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