By IKENNA EMEWU
It looks like a new dawn in the China-Nigeria diplomatic relations as something new is introduced by Ambassador Cui Jianchun who resumed three months ago as head of the diplomatic mission of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria.
Cuim Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China in Nigeria is not new to the business of diplomacy, therefore came to Nigeria ready and laden with experiences and agenda on what exactly he wants. He therefore has his sight set on taking the 50-year-old relationship between the two sides higher.
He has his agenda well cut out for his mission and is already running towards his goal.
At his office recently, the eloquent and friendly envoy handed me a compressed copy of the project he calls ‘The 5GIST Nigeria-China GDP Strategy’. GDP? You may ask, yes, it is but far more than the GDP you know on which the economy of a country is measured. Of course, economy is the core of diplomacy and bilateral frameworks between nations, but this is far in excess of the GDP you know.
Painstakingly explaining the details of the six-page graphics document, Ambassador Cui and his deputy, Mr. Zhao Yong elaborated the full content of everything that would sustain fertile diplomatic relations outlined.
He put it in summary that the target is a symphony performed by the two countries where Presidents Xi Jinping and Muhammadu Buhari are commanders of the orchestra.
He encapsulated the entire diplomatic combination as “the future BRI symphony by Nigeria-China orchestra.”
The GDP in the 5GIST project represent – growth, development and progress among the two sides and the goals of the GIST are broken down into: political support for each other; economic cooperation; military collaboration; international coordination and people-to-people bond.
By Cui’s postulation, the realisation of the first goal of political support would lead to actualizing nation building, national unity and social harmony which will also give rise to building of a powerful and influential country in Africa and the world out of Nigeria.
Furthermore, the economic cooperation targets to elicit modernization of agriculture, industry and services, ultimately giving rise to the eradication of poverty and turning Nigeria to an economic powerhouse in Africa and the world. These sound like a purpose to work more closely with Nigeria sharing with them those secrets that took China to the top.
The military cooperation mentioned earlier is explained in details as snownballing into capacity building, advancement of equipment, intelligence and technology that would help counter the domestic threats and create a peaceful and stable country.
Following Cui’s roadmap, the international coordination of the two would help uphold international systems, international order and common values, dovetailing into the agenda of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) China’s flagship plurilateral diplomatic framework that has over 136 state and intergovernmental agency parties.
Regarding military cooperation, at various fora and bilateral meetings in Nigeria and China, it has been repeatedly stated that the two have a vigorous alliance. This has existed for years but especially strengthened more since 2010 after Nigeria started facing more national security threats from Boko Haram terrorism.
This led to the first participation of Chinese Naval Warship in the joint maritime exercises hosted by Nigerian Navy in the Gulf of Guinea in 2012.
The most important part in a diplomatic alliance is the people-to-people aspect where the union is reduced to individual levels at the point stereotypes and prejudices are reduced to the minimum.
The 5 Is of the GIST will target infrastructure, information and communications technology, industry, investment and enhancement of imports and exports between the two countries with the steadily growing trade volume and narrowing balance that is better than what it used to be 10 years ago.
Further to the plans, the 5S are in building security, structure, achieving speed, activating and improving on synergy and supervision of intergovernmental committees, legislation, the judiciary, law enforcement and technical support.
For the 5Ts, thoughts would be developed, talents sought and enhanced, treasures in national and human resources built, technology in the 5G, AI and others adopted and expanded while traditions would transcend cultures of tourism, arts and many more.