By Sarafina Christopher
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Abuja Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah said Nigeria could emulate China’s successful approach to development while still retaining its cultural heritage.
Na’Allah stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at a Seminar on the “Global Civilisation Initiative” organised by the Chinese Embassy in collaboration with the University of Abuja.
According to the vice-chancellor, with the second largest population in the world with more than a billion people, China has been able to become a civilised entity without compromising its culture and traditions.
“Nigeria with only about 250 million people is still struggling to develop its economy whereas China with the second largest population has been able to grow because their democracy is not Western it is defined according to their culture and people’s needs.
“We don’t have to resemble the West because we are not them; we have our differences, our traditions, and our culture are different.
“We need to develop based on our traditions, kingdoms, and way of life to sustain our cultural heritage because only Nigerians are in the best position to tell what kind of modernisation best suits our nation.
“Nigeria needs to go back to its tradition and start teaching the younger generation about their language and culture to have a sustainable cultural heritage.
“We have rendered our emirs, chiefs, and kings useless in the name of modernisation, so we must look at what China has done and how they’ve embraced their culture alongside civilisation.
“We can see that most Chinese don’t speak English, they speak their language yet their productivity ranks number one in the world.
“For civilisation to influence our development in Nigeria, we must realise that modernisation is not Westernisation,” he said.
Speaking, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria Cui Jianchun, said to achieve civilisation that influences development there must be respect for diversity in ethnicity.
“Civilisation is the foundation of modernisation and through this initiative, we advocate for respect for diversity.
“We want our respective countries to embrace and innovate their culture alongside civilisation.
“In March 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the Global Civilisation Initiative at the CPC (Communist Party of China) in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting.
“China believes that the Global Civilisation Initiative (GCI) will inject strong impetus into advancing humanity’s modernisation process and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
“We advocate the respect for the diversity of civilisations, the common values of humanity, the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilisations, and robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation,” he said.
Cui also said that if Nigeria aims to achieve civilisation as Chinese President Xi Jinping said, it needs not only to follow the general laws governing the process but more importantly consider its national conditions and unique features.
The ambassador also added that in October 2024, China will hold the China-Africa forum in China and Nigeria will be a participant and the leader. (NAN) (www.nannews.com.ng)
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)