Sunday Aborisade in Abuja
The Senate has urged the Republic of Korea to support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore democracy in some African countries under the military rule.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, made the appeal on Tuesday.
He spoke when the Special Envoy of the Speaker of Korea National Assembly, Hon. Suh Byung Soo, paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly in Abuja.
Akpabio explained to the special envoy that President Bola Tinubu was determined to turn Nigeria into a country that gives aids just like the Republic of Korea, from a country that receives aid.
He said: “We are here to support the Economic Community of West Africa States’ efforts in restoring democracy to many countries in West Africa and beyond.
“We hope that South Korea will work closely with Nigeria in that regard to ensure that democracy thrives, not just in West Africa, but in the whole of Africa, being the best form of government that guarantees development, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
“That is what Nigeria stands for and I believe strongly that that is what would make for a stable economy going forward.”
The Senate President congratulated South Korea on its 45 years of independence which coincided with the visit.
According to Akpabio, “At the same time, we particularly congratulate you on your emergence after the three-year Korean War, stronger by recovering from being a receiver of aids nation to a giver of aids nation. Nigeria looks forward to joining your league.
“We are very determined in this current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to turn Nigeria from being a country that receives aid to a country that also gives out aid by improving our GDP, internally generated revenue and doing everything right to wipe out corruption, strengthen the naira and make sure that we remain more focused to be the leading country economically in the whole of West Africa.
“Just like Korea, Nigeria also shortly after independence had its own test of internal war for almost three years.
“We would have probably done as much as you have, but for a lot of interruptions in our democratic institutions at that time.
“We are hoping now that we have long term of uninterrupted democracy and that Nigeria looks forward to more development and more progress and freedom of speech.”
He pledged that the Senate and the current administration in the country will work together towards fostering a closer relationship with the Republic of Korea.
The Senate President said: “We are happy to note that about 15 per cent of your trade in Africa is with Nigeria as a nation.
“We are hoping that after the meeting between your president and our president, in the next few weeks in the G20 meeting in India, we will even increase the percentage of that trade relationship for the betterment of the two countries.
“On our part, we would like to assure you that this Senate will support your bid for the Expo 2030 to be hosted in Korea.
“At the same time, we have noted your request for a strong Korean-Nigeria parliamentary friendship association and we totally support that move.
“We will do everything to belong to that association to foster closer working relationship between your parliament and the parliament in Nigeria, which should be for the betterment of the good people of Korea and Nigeria.”
The leader of the delegation, Hon Soo, noted that August 15th is a meaningful day to Korea being the day the country was liberated and became independent.
He called for the establishment of the Korean-Nigeria Parliamentary Friendship group to boost the relationship between the two countries.
Soo said: “Unfortunately, five years later, there was a Korean War that broke out in 1950.
“So, after three years of the Korean War, the Korean Peninsula was totally destroyed.
“But thanks to the international aid and also Koreans’ eagerness for education and hard work, we could recover from the ashes of the war and achieve the miracle of the Han River to become one of the top 10 countries in the world.
“After the end of the Second World War in 1945, there were a lot of newly independent nations, but Korea is the only country in the world who transitioned from a country receiving aid to a country providing aid.
“We really want to share our secrets to our economic miracle with other countries with the World Expo 2030.
“So at the end of November this year, there will be a final vote to select the World Expo venue. So Your Excellency and honorable members of the Senate, I would like to cordially ask for your full support for us.
“So the diplomacy at the administration or the government level is quite important, but I also think that the parliamentary level exchanges between the two countries are also very important.
“There is Korea-Nigeria Parliamentarian Friendship Association that we have already established in the Korean National Assembly.
“So if the Senate of Nigeria establishes Nigeria-Korea friendship group in your Senate, then it will accelerate the development of bilateral relations.”