– The Sun News

Nigeria, China revel in cultural extravaganza

…Seek closer ties

Magnus Eze

Nigeria and China have continued to explore cultural cooperation as exemplified recently when the Director of Culture and Tradition in the Chinese Ministry of Culture, Chen Huanan, led a delegation of Television Production and Animation Companies from China to Nigeria.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who received the delegation in his office in Abuja, called for meaningful partnership with China to develop Nigeria’s animation industry.

He described animation as the fastest growing genre of the film industry, saying animation would thrive in Nigeria, especially if it is rooted in the culture and tradition of the people.

The minister expressed optimism that animation would open another vista of opportunity for talented youths in Nigeria because of the abundance of interesting stories in the country. He stressed the need for technology transfer from China in order to make the desired impact.

“We have the content, we have the stories, what we need is the technology. So we want to partner with you in a manner that we can encourage our very young and talented artists, film-makers and producers. But the content of the animation, for it to be meaningful to us and to the younger ones, must be rooted in the culture and history of our people,” Mohammed said.

Last month, some members of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), who recently visited China on a cultural exchange, were at the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, located at Wuse Zone 5, Abuja, and made a presentation of shared experience in China.

 During the occasion, Mr. Li Xuda, Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy and director of China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, said the exchange programme, which started in 2013, has created stronger economic ties between Nigeria and China.

He noted that China has benefited a lot from Nigeria, and some Nigerian students have established their own businesses in China, while others make corporations with Chinese companies after taking their degrees in the country.

Xuda said the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria has language programmes every week, where language classes, ranging from beginner to level 5, are offered from Monday to Saturday.

“Some Nigerian friends after they pass the examinations can apply for scholarship to China and study up to PhD level,” he said, adding that “some even get jobs over there in China after their studies.”

He further noted that the centre also has different events on cultural exchange on a monthly basis.

Earlier, secretary of the centre, You Baoming, said Nigerians were kind and hospitable people, but regretted that they grace events late.

Meanwhile, the director-general of NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe, when he visited the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, in Abuja last November, solicited for more cultural collaboration with the Peoples Republic of China.

He thanked China for always supporting Nigeria in areas of human capital development and praised the ambassador for giving the NCAC staff the opportunity for some capacity building.

Runsewe intimated the ambassador on the plan of the council to take the commissioners of the 36 states of the federation to China to understudy Chinese cultural content in order to replicate it in Nigeria.

On his part, the ambassador stated that Nigeria and China have a lot of similarities in terms of population and economy, noting that while Nigeria has the largest population in Africa, China has the largest population in the world.

He was also emphatic that both countries enjoyed very wide cultural diversity.

“Nigeria’s tradition is awesome, we can truly work together,” said the ambassador, who stated that China’s government was ready to explore various areas of collaboration in terms of cultural exchanges, capacity building and many other angles of opportunity.

“It is on record, both countries are major players in the world, if we build on our existing bilateral relationship, both nations will further make huge impact in the world as a whole,” the envoy enthused.

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