The second edition of the Nigerian Culture Week in China held recently in the Nanjing province of Chin. Based on a strong desire to project the cultural diversity of the country, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, had invited states to participate at the event. Bayelsa and Kwara states took the challenge with the participation of their cultural troupes alongside the National Troupe which added colour to the various events which subsequently drew appreciation from the Chinese Government and public.
At a well-attended opening ceremony which took place at the auditorium of Jinling Library in Nanjing, Duke, who was accompanied by members of the ministry, directors-general of parastatals and representatives of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), underscored the importance of inter- cultural relations and, especially cultural diplomacy, to the Transformation Agenda of the Nigerian Government.
‘’For us in Nigeria, we have always believed, like the people of this great country that culture is the most definitive element of any people. And time may pass, civilization upon civilization, modernity upon modernity, technology will come and go but culture is the very fabric and the essence that welds people together, that strengthens the bond of friendship and enriches mankind as a whole. So for us, the biggest nation in Africa to be here in the biggest nation of the world, there is a purpose,’’ the minister said.
He also expressed appreciation, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan and the people of Nigeria, to the Government and people of China for the quality and level of cultural cooperation between the two countries, especially the recent opening of a Chinese Cultural Centre in Abuja, apparently in reciprocation of the opening of a Nigerian Cultural Centre in Beijing in 2011, stressing that the relations would provide a bigger space for greater cultural understanding and diplomacy.
Exhibitions put up by the National Council for Arts and Culture, the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, the National Gallery of Art, the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments combined to give expressions to rich cultural heritage of Nigeria as well as the propagation of this heritage and that of Africa at home and in the diaspora.
A slice of what the National Troupe of Nigeria , the Bayelsa State Cultural Troupe and the Kwara State Cultural Troupe had in store was served to the applause of the audience at the opening ceremony, which also witnessed a brief appearance of Emmanuel Uwuechue, a Nigerian musician in China, whose fluency singing in Chinese was a delight to the Chinese and Nigerian delegations.