By Dickson Okafor
THE Guangzhou Province in China was agog recently when Nigerians resident in the city trooped out in their numbers to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari, who was on a state visit to the country.
Earlier, the Nigerian community in Guangzhou had, through the President of Blue Diamond Logistics, China, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, appealed to Buhari to stop over in the city after his stay in Beijing, the Chinese capital. A cross section of Nigerians in the city expressed happiness that Buhari honoured their invitation.
Mbisiogu, who joined the Nigerian consular officers in Guangzhou to welcome the president, said Buhari had shown that he was sensitive to the yelling of the masses. He said the visit had restated government commitment to the well being of Nigerians citizens in the Diaspora.
“The president’s visit will surely change our lives in Guangzhou positively, especially in the area of visa issuance,” Mbisiogu noted. On other benefits of the visit, the Blue Diamond boss said the investments from the Chinese government would help improve infrastructure, especially in the area of power supply.
Among the challenges the Nigerian community faces in the province, according to Mbisiogu, was the policy that male immigrants are not allowed to live with their wives and children in Guangzhou, the visa issue and others. Mbisiogu, through his non-government organisation (NGO), Good Governance Initiative (GGI) had insisted that steady power supply was key to industrial revolution in Nigeria. According to him, the epileptic power supply in the country was responsible for the lack of development, unemployment and insecurity in the world’s most populous black nation. He appealed to President Buhari to face just two issues: uninterrupted power supply and introduction of mechanised farming.
He reminded Buhari that previous administrations signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), especially on power, with the China-Nigeria Business Forum and with the Chinese government, which, he said, never yielded any positive results.
Mbisiogu warned that the China- Nigerian Business Forum could be a mirage if the issue of power was not tackled. He regretted that even after the privatisation of the power sector, Nigerians could not enjoy uninterrupted power supply in spite of the huge electricity tariff charged them by the electricity companies. He said it was regrettable that industries were shutting down and workers laid-off.
Responding on behalf of the Nigerian government, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, appealed to the Chinese government to allow quality products into Nigeria, noting that Nigerians love to patronise Chinese goods and services. He invited Chinese businessmen to invest in agriculture because of Nigeria’s huge population. The minister charged the Nigerian community to be good ambassadors of Nigeria in Guangzhou and, by so doing, continue the 45 years of China/Nigeria bilateral relationship and cooperation.
President Buhari later held a meeting with the Nigerian community in China where he promised to discuss all the challenges the people were facing with the Guangdong authorities. The president promised to do his best to fix Nigeria. On insecurity, he said: “The Nigeria military have done well to flush out Boko Haran and reclaim all the areas the insurgents occupied.”
He urged them to shun corruption and join hands with his government to win the anti-graft war.