By Victor Gotevbe, Publisher and Nathaniel Gotevbe, Correspondent,
On Thursday, November 15, 2018 marked the handover ceremony of classrooms rehabilitation project of St. Patrick Catholic Primary School funded by China- Africa People to People Friendship Actions.
The ceremony was attended by people from all walks of life including the Chinese Consul General, Mr. Chao Xiaoliang; Honorable Member, House Representative of Lagos state, Dr. Dolapo Enitan Badru; Director of Human Resources, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs Taiye Oguntona ; Head teacher of St.Patrick Catholic School, Ms. Alhaja A.Ikassim; the Chairman of the Charity Foundation of Overseas Chinese Service Association, Mr.ChengGuang and Vice chairman Mr.Eric Ni ,Ms.Zhoujun, and other members of the Foundation, amongst others.
Dr. Dolapo Badru, in his opening remarks thanked the Chinese Government and the Association for the good gesture in renovating the 1934 school as he reminded all present that it is located in his constituency. He expressed joy that the pupils will now have a more conducive environment to learning.
Mr. Chao Xiaoliang, in his speech said that the Chinese government has always attached great importance to the development of China-Africa relations including Nigeria. This cooperation was rechoed at the Summit of Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held in Beijing earlier this year, where the Chinese Government and other heads of States of Africa jointly drew the blueprint for future cooperation between China and African countries. Immediately after the Summit, President Xi Jinping and President Buhari discussed numerous issues, witnessed signing of bilateral cooperation agreements and have reached broad consensus, he remarked.
The Chinese Consul General also noted that the China-Africa People –to-People Friendship Action was established by the Chinese government at the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2012 to support and promote exchanges and cooperation between non-governmental organizations, women and adolescents in China and Africa.
He added that a total of 16 projects have been executed since the beginning of the Actions. They include donation of a borehole system to Lagos University and Nnamdi Azikiwe University respectively, donation of medical equipment to Lagos University Teaching Hospital, donation to a welfare house, and rehabilitation projects of some primary and secondary schools in Lagos. Also, he informed that tens of thousands of Nigerians have benefited directly from the projects.
Mr. Xiaoliang mentioned that “Lagos market is the largest commodity wholesale market in West Africa where most Chinese merchants develop their businesses.” In the light of this, St. Patrick Catholic Primary School with a student population of more than 720 students and a history of 84 years was chosen by “China-Africa People-to-People Friendship Action” projects undertaking this year, the Chinese communities under the Charity Foundation of Overseas Chinese Service Association, because it provides education for a local crowded population around Lagos Market.
He reiterated that the Chinese government and people have always ascribed value to education going by a famous saying: 百年大计,教育为先，which means, of all the hundred-year policies and strategies, education is of the fundamental importance and priority. China’s development today is not far from the enormous investment put into qualitative education. Thus, it is regarded as one of the fundamental areas of bilateral relations.
“Supporting the local development of education remains the Chinese Community’s first choice in giving back to the local people. Today, after more than half a year of hard work, the project is finally completed. Children don’t need to worry about the rain season any more. There will be neither leaking of the classroom nor the dirty water pouring into the campus from the street in bad weather. The new classroom is equipped with new facilities, the children will have better conditions to concentrate on studying and the teachers can devote more on teaching”, the Chinese envoy remarked.
It is hoped that with the facelift of the Primary School, it would help to produce more excellent students with moral values that will bring about positive development to the country and the world as well as the friendship between China and Nigeria.