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One of Nigeria’s Elder Statesmen Reflects on Ties With China

Aminu Wali served as Nigeria's ambassador to China, the United Nations and as foreign minister.

Aminu Wali, 79, is long retired from a distinguished diplomatic career as Nigeria’s envoy to China, the United Nations and a stint as the country’s foreign minister. In a wide-ranging interview with the Premium Times newspaper, Wali reflected on the current state of ties with China and what he thinks many people don’t understand about this complex, multifaceted geopolitical relationship.

Aminu Wali’s Reflections on the Current State of China-Nigeria Ties

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF CHINESE MONEY: “China is about the only power today with the resources to spare for our needs. Therefore, we cannot sit down and say because there is a problem between the East and West we should not get involved… As far as Nigeria is concerned, we are not selling out to the Chinese, neither is China trying to take over our resources. They would want to get involved in some of the activities that we do in this country for the resources that we have. At the same time, they are prepared also to give us the kind of support that we need also, particularly in infrastructural development.”
  • NIGERIA NEEDS GOOD NEGOTIATORS:  “I know that any right-thinking person coming to power in Nigeria cannot ignore the importance of Chinese involvement in our economic development. I believe we will continue dealing with China. The only thing that I would have to repeat, is the quality of our negotiators that will be able to negotiate with the Chinese to be able to get the best deal for our country. They should be able to get the best deals for our country.”
  • THE U.S.-CHINA CONFLICT: “People are talking about loans. What matters is how we negotiate them. Yes, the U.S. do give us certain technical support and some financial, but in certain institutions like under the USAID, not in the way China does. So, their war is their war, not ours. We should try as much as possible to maintain good relations with both sides. Even China and the U.S. that are involved in the war, they still have not given up on finding solutions and get a situation where they can be able to operate successfully for the benefits of each other.”

Read the full interview with Aminu Wali on the Premium Times website.

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