By Njoku SaintJerry A.
“The prosperity of the country is the well-being of its people and that is the focus of China’s people oriented socio-economic development”
From the coastal city of Lagos extended to Ogun state industrial hubs in Agbara, Sango Otta and surrounding environs, to the sprawling markets of Onitsha, bustling city of artisans and traders in Aba thriving with SME operators, extended to Port Harcourt enroute to the Northern commercial city of Kano and the serene city of Abuja.
One can only imagine the wonders Nigeria will portray when its leaders chose to show sincere commitment to the fortunes these cities harbor in terms of agile young population, location, trade and industry.
As a Diaspora leader who witnessed the making of the new China and with experience on the China-Africa relations spanning over a decade, China’s success in moving over 75% of its people and region away from underdevelopment and poverty could be replicated here in Nigeria as the Nigerian cities I have mentioned all bore stark similarities of China in the late 80’s and 90’s.
We cannot continue to sing the song of infrastructural decay, neglect and poverty here in Nigeria because these are all man-made deficiencies. They are created as a result of disconnection from the reality of self-dignity, love for your people and disdain for your homeland.
The Chinese Consul General in Lagos, Chu Maoming in a recent remark reinstated that “China has made it clear that we strive for more visible and substantive progress in the well-rounded development of individuals and common prosperity of the entire population.”
Nobody needs a seer to interpret statements like this for the average Nigerian ruler from presidency down to the local council chairmen.
“it will behooves Nigerian rulers to seek for the right partnership that will portray a commitment to better the life of its people than the continuous show of shame Nigerian rulers always portray whenever it joins the queue to take China loans”
The prosperity of the country is the well-being of its people and that is the focus of China’s people oriented socio-economic development.
What does common prosperity mean and What significance does it have for Africa? Chu Maoming asked; As a one-time Nigeria resident in China and watching China grows from the rubble, from the rural community to the urban, turning former swamps in the southern city of Shenzhen into top-notch high-tech city, turning one-time rustic town of Guangzhou to a mega trade hub and industrializing entire nearby laid back towns of Donguang, Foshan, Zhuhai etc, into trade ports, taking advantage of its exposure to coastal boundaries, Common prosperity will mean translating opportunities that these towns harbours into industry, creating employment and building infrastructures to sustain the prosperity that comes with these ideas.
Having experimented this idea successfully across the 31 provinces of China including Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing and Shanghai which are the only 4 municipalities directly under the control of the central government, while the rest independently pursues competitive development, China decided to expand its wealth creation capacity to Africa as a friend in need. This is where China’s interest to cooperate with Nigeria and pursue common goal of development that is people oriented has become paramount.
Now, the question is; how sincere is Nigeria’s rulers to make this happen irrespective of political, tribal and ethnic differences beginning from the top to the bottom.
The city of Aba in South-east Abia state is a classic example of such disconnection between the rulers and the people, followed by Ogun State, despite its affinity to Lagos, industrial regions as Agbara, Otta etc continue to pose a threat to any meaningful development and quite remote from creating any sign of prosperity for the indigenes that lives in this region.
China did not focus on enriching its rulers first and making them lords and emperors to the ordinary Chinese citizens – it started with a doctrine of win-win conditions between its leaders and the people, the farmers, the artisans, low income earners, it initiated an adjustment for high incomes through channels such as taxes, and created more help for low-income groups through the provision of stronger public benefits like basic amenities that will make life easier for the ordinary people to thrive in their skills and talents.
This is what China would like to see replicated in Nigeria, this is the genesis of win-win mantra, a harmonious society is an ideal place for business and peaceful coexistence of people and less prone to crime.
In recent years, China has adopted measures to reduce developing gaps between the rich and poor in their territory, as well as between urban and rural regions, through economic upgrading and more investment in local businesses. Because the absence of a sincere commitment to these inadequacies will lead to conflicting outcomes for the poor and neglected members of the society and this is one of the basis of crime and conflict in any nation.
When the people in authority chose to focus on extreme comfort and show of power for themselves and circle of friends and neglect to build the environment and the people whose means of survival is dependent on the environment, it is an invitation to anarchy and decay that will deprive such region the necessary prerequisite for development.
Nigerian rulers should learn from the people they are always running after to borrow money from and seek for aids, The cities of Aba, Lagos, Ogun, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja were not any different from what China used to be when it committed itself to internal development of its regions.
And now China is willing to export such ideas, after winning the anti-poverty fight and completing the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, it will behooves Nigerian rulers to seek for the right partnership that will portray a commitment to better the life of its people than the continuous show of shame Nigerian rulers always portray whenever it joins the queue to take China loans but not ready to commit to the kind of development that has established China from poverty to such favorable conditions for promoting common prosperity outside its territory.Njoku SaintJerry A. is the Secretary General – China-Arab &Africa Business Union Council, Nigeria Branch and Minister of Information & Media, South West Africa Forum (SWAF)