By John Okeke
China has taken a further steps to strengthening its ties with Nigeria by enhancing the cultural relations between the two countries.
This comes as the Cultural Performance of the Zhejiang Wu Opera Troupe from the People’s Republic of China held the audience spellbound during their presentation in Abuja weekend as a part of the activities to celebrate 2020 Chinese New Year .
They presented among other things ,”9-pieced segmented dragon, Wu opera excerpt on broken bridge, stage smell face changing and Wu Opera Divergent path .”
Speaking at the event , the Minister of Information and Culture Alh. Lai Mohammed said the three decades of Cultural Co-operation between the two countries has witnessed several cultural activities and exchanges in the arts , music , dance , Cultural officers, exhibition , Cultural administration m training and capacity building of Cultural officers and recently , th development of Cultural industries centres in Nigeria among others .
He commended the Embassy of China for its various cultural exchange programme initiatives in Nigeria.
The Minister who was represented by Mr Jacob Ehichomo from the ministry, the minister said that Nigeria and China would continue to grow their cooperation for the benefit of their citizens.
Mohammed assured that the ministry would continue to explore ways to expand implementation of cultural cooperation and exchanges between both countries.
“Let me commend the cultural office of the embassy of China for initiating cultural exchange programmes with positive impact on stakeholders of the sector in Nigeria.
“It is my hope that our cooperation continues for the benefit of our people,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Mr Li Xuda, Director, China Cultural Centre, Abuja said that cultural exchanges play a crucial role in strengthening bilateral ties between countries.
Li said that the performance of the Zheijang Wu Opera Troupe in Nigeria, during the commemoration of the Chinese New Year, also aimed at strengthening the long years of friendship between Nigeria and China.
“This time, as the Chinese New Year is approaching, let’s take this opportunity to say Happy Chinese New Year to you! With the aim to promote cultural exchange and strengthen the traditional friendship between China and Nigeria, the Troupe visits Nigeria. New year means new hope, 2020 is a very important year for all of us.For China, in this year we will continue to work hard and finish the building a moderately prosperous society in all respects; for Nigeria, 2020 marks the 60th Anniversary of the founding the Federal Republic, and both countries will also celebrate the 49th Anniversary of bilateral ties between each other.”
The director urged countries to hold strongly to their culture as nations would only thrive when culture remains strong.
“Our nations will be strong only if our culture remains strong because culture plays a very important role in every country.
“The relationship between countries is based on the affection between the people and cultural exchange.
“The essence of cultural exchange is to serve as a bridge to promote mutual understanding and mutual learning between countries.
“Let us work together, learn from each other and support each other to build a greater global community for peace and love,’’ Li said.
“The Troupe was established in 1956, since then generation after generation, those artists in the Troupe have visited over 40 different countries including the United States, France, Austria, Germany, Brazil, Cuba, South Africa, etc. Their footprints covered 5 continents and make a wide range of friends all over the world. I can tell you that 5 years ago, when I was working in Trinidad and Tobago as cultural attache, the Troupe visited the twin-island Caribbean country and their amazing performance was well received. We can say the Troupe has already become one of the most popular performing arts Troupes in China, its fame spreads far and wide around the globe,” he added.