Permit me to welcome you all to this important gathering .This gathering offers us the opportunity to rei-nforce our commitment to everything that seeks to deepen and contribute to the development of our people and our country, especially, in the area of fostering co-operation , collaboration and partnership with other nations of the world, China being one of them.
2. I bring you greetings from the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and, indeed, from the House of Representatives. Let me, in a special way, congratulate and applaud the efforts of the Centre for China Studies, organisers of this session, on the diverse resources which they have put together for the making and success of a programme of this nature, including the array of distinguished personalities that they have assembled either as discussants, facilitators or guests to this programme.
3. Without mincing words, the theme of today’s seminar is one which adequately speaks to us as a country and one which,for a very long time ,will continue to attract continuous review by Historians, Political Scientists, Development Experts and the like,who forever will be surprised to see, feel and form opinion on what the people of China have achieved in the last 70 years since they boldly took the reins of leadership of their nation as an Independent nation in their own hands. For us as a country, China presents a veritable model of development that, if you ask me, we do not need to turn elsewhere in search of a nation-role-model figure to aid our present quest for all-round development as a people.
4. From a consuming population a few decades ago, it will surprise every first-time visitor to China that in almost every home in the entire Chinese industrial hubs across the country there exists a mould that ensures that, that family is putting its imprimatur on some manufactured product, no matter how small such a product might be. In 1979, about 400 units of air-conditioning systems, I am told, were produced in the whole of China. Fast forward to 20 years later, the number of ACs produced in China in 1999 alone did not become double the initial number mentioned; it did not become three times that number, but became over 10 million units for that year alone! As little as this may sound,this is a positive narrative that is reflective of the success story that China represents in today’s global community. That was a product of hard work, adequate planning, strong policy initiatives and consistency in pursuing those initiatives that are driven by the power of real leadership.
5. In a few decades from its independence, China has risen from a struggling economy to become one of the first two in the world at every given time. It has in the last few years ensured that every manufacturing giant in the world must have some form of presence on Chinese turf in order to survive global economic realities. In doing this, China has grown such indigenous technology that has remained one of the fastest growing in the history of development and mankind. They are leaders in Construction, in Production and have made copious strides even in such highly technical areas as satellite technology! They have used the above to change the face of their cities and provinces on such a rapid basis that we are told that, “a 2-week old street in China is already obsolete”. The above implies that changes come so rapidly that if you visit a place in China and return to the same place after a fortnight, chances are that you might miss your way.
6. China stands as a towering giant, marketing its goods, services and technology to other parts of the globe and increasing its presence in almost every home the world over. But all of these did not just happen.
They took the noble vision of men and women, who, we were told, vowed at one time to “borrow, buy or steal technology from the West” to turn things around for the better. That solemn resolve was to ignite a strong belief in self and in one’s ability to achieve results even in the face of challenges. Through it all,they learnt to think out of the box and to provide solutions to the ever-evolving challenges of our world; to make sacrifices for tomorrow and to look beyond the present.
7. This is what has given China the strength and the technical know-how to attain the enviable height that has become its lot these past years. Amidst all of this ,what lessons can Nigeria draw from the experience of China and from the cooperation between our both countries ,including the growing interactions between our peoples? These lessons are as myriad as they are demanding of our best efforts to pursue. Again, it brings me back to the noble place of vision in our existence as a people and the lack of it among our political leaders.. As a country, we must articulate a national vision that espouses where we hope to be in the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years and so on. All countries of the world that succeeded in making a quality leap on the ladder of development at one time or other in their journey to their dreamland was confronted by this decision. Second, we must identify the means or routes to actualizing our vision. For this,certainly, was the route China went to arrive its today’s Eldorado.
8. we must communicate this vision in such a way as to make it achieve the buy-in of all so that it will become a national mantra on the lips of every Nigerian and our leaders, who are expected to toe the path of actualizing that vision.
Apart from the above, there must be commitment to purpose, honesty of purpose and the concomitant ideals of sacrifice by all for a greater tomorrow. Accidentally, all of these are absent from our present crop of- Nigerians and our leaders, who think that what they cannot get today, should not wait at all for tomorrow. We indulge in desperation, dishonesty and other dastardly acts to win the games of life. The lessons of our cooperation with China must, therefore, teach us to demonstrate the love for our nation by thinking of those who will come after us. We must trust in our ability and capacity to improve in whatever we do. We must, in line with the clear calls of Mr. President ,shun corruption and whatever that goes with it. China had to come down strongly on corruption to be where it is today as a nation. And, I think, that lesson from China speaks to our case today as Nigerians.
9. To end this,Your Excellences, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I challenge us to pour our hearts and other resources into this programme in order to achieve the kind of mindset required to evolve the nation of our fondest dreams. I cannot ,however,end this speech well without calling on everyone in this distinguished audience to make it a point of duty to visit China before you pass on. To me, China has provided for us a basis to strive to be all we want to be as a people. It has shown that all possibilities and negativities of life exist only in the mind, and that whichever we choose to make real become our lot in the end.
10.Thank you all and may God bless you for listening.
Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub,MHR
Gombi/Hong Federal Constituency, Adamawa State
Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs