The Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja (UniAbuja), Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’allah, says making right development choices as a nation is central to building and forming a modern nation.
Na’Allah expressed this view at the Third Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chair programme for Japanese Studies on Tuesday in Abuja.
The theme of the event was, “Making of Modern Japan.”
The vice chancellor said that the development choices Japan had made as a country formed what it had become as a modern nation.
He said that the Japanese model should serve as an example to Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
“It is important to have not only individuals as role models but also to have nations as role models.
“Japan economy has gone higher and stronger because of the kind of choices they have made in developing their country.
“Even in the face of economic challenges, Japan has not stopped growing economically; rather, it has strengthened it to move higher.”
Na’Allah said that in order to support learning and collaboration, the university attracted the Japanese Language and Culture Institute(JLCI) which thought Japanese culture.
“We have asked our students to learn Japanese as one of the foreign languages they must learn without which they will not graduate.
“We want our students to understand the spirit of Japan, which will enable them as future leaders to think and be prepared in order to move this nation forward.”
He called on the students to make use of all they would learn from the event to propel the kind of modernisation needed in Nigeria.
“It is important for you all as students to form this kind of leadership skills now and know more about your country.
“The opportunity you all have is the opportunity to develop these ideals; it is important to know that production and true patriotism to your country must be high.”
He said that Nigeria, with all its abundant resources, had the capacity to be the best in the world in terms of economic growth and even beat Japan that had the third largest economy.
According to him, UniAbuja has signed an MoU with two Japanese universities on some programmes such as students exchange.
He said that JICA had sponsored many students to Japan through the Japanese foundation.
The vice chancellor said that the institution was collaborating with Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry on training.
He added that no fewer than 200 students of UniAbuja were being trained by the chamber in order to equip them with the capacity to work with Japanese companies.
On his part, the Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, said that the Japanese embassy had been supporting JLCI since it was established in 2021.
Kazuyoshi said the embassy promised to continue to actively support UniAbuja which served as a hub for the promotion of Japanese culture and language in Nigeria.
According to him, studying in Japan provides not only with expertise, but also offers Nigerians the opportunity to learn about the Japanese code of conduct such as diligence and punctuality.
He said that the Japanese Government had also provided opportunity to learn more about Japanese through scholarship.
“Many students who have completed their studies in Japan are now working with Nigeria Government and the university.
“We hope to see more of them work in Japanese companies in Nigeria in the future,” he said.
Similarly, Prof. Kitaoka Shinichi, Special Advisor to the President of JICA, in his lecture, highlighted all the struggles Japan went through to be where it was today.
He said that Japanese modernisation started in 1868 when there was revolution, adding that Japan changed from imperial rule to parliamentary rule.
Shinich said that Japan invested more on education and hard work which has helped their economy to grow to what it was today.
He said that Nigeria was in the position, with its rich resources, to bridge the gap and move from a developing country to a developed one.
According to him, Japan has continued to make waves in the automobile industry which is a major boost to its economy.
It was reported that the highlights of the event were the presentation of more than 130 manga books to the institution by the ambassador and a cultural presentation by JLCI.