A Nigerian Student’s Dream in Changsha
Sabo observes his plants at a Hunan Agricultural University laboratory. (Photo/Changsha Evening, Yue Xia, Qin Fei)
“Do you know yam, and cassava? They taste good! They are ecological products in Nigeria. I want to introduce them to China,” said Sabo, a Nigerian doctoral student at the Hunan Agricultural University. He showed the reporter some agricultural products from Africa and described his plan to start company for China-Africa agricultural product exchange and his striving to become a Nigerian “Yuan Longping”.
Sabo had studied in Singapore for three years and got his master’s degree from Liaoning University of Technology. “I visited a friend at the Hengyang Medical College of the University of South China in 2016. When I passed Changsha on train, the city gave me a good feeling.”
Hunan Agricultural University amazed Sabo. “It is the most suitable place in Changsha for living and study. When I looked for Hunan’s university information, I found that many African students recommend it,” he said.
“I love Changsha, and also this university. Agriculture means the prospect for a country,” he convinced. Yuan Longping, the “father of hybrid rice”, is a great expert in his eyes. He is determined to become a Nigerian “Yuan Longping”. Holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science, Sabo continued to pursue his doctorate in bioinformation. “I should learn more about algorithm and statistics in China and use these to improve my research.”
Sabo likes studying in labs, or kicking football, after school. Changsha turns hot now. “Changsha is even hotter than Africa in summer, and colder in winter. I got sunburned here!”
In a keynote speech delivered at the China-Africa Cooperation Forum Beijing Summit which was held in September 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the Chinese government will found a China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Center, which aims to facilitate youth innovation and entrepreneurship cooperation. China will train 1,000 high-caliber Africans, provide 50,000 Africans with government scholarships, sponsor seminars and workshop opportunities, and invite 2,000 African exchange youths to visit China.
Sabo is one of the African students who got the opportunity to study in China free of charge. He appreciates it. “China offers aid to other countries, especially those in Africa. It assists African students to study, and then back and contribute to their homeland, which greatly impacts their living and these regions. Beyond that, Chinese teachers are really kind.”
Sabo’s wife came to study at the Hunan Agricultural University last year. “She studies hard even on weekends to increase her language competence.”
As for the future, Sabo intends to start up an agricultural company in Changsha. “I returned to Nigeria in 2012 and found few jobs, low pay, and hard employment. Agriculture will create more jobs.” Sabo is determined to help his hometown to access the international market and provide more jobs for Nigerians.
“There are many Chinese people doing business and living in Nigeria. Nigeria and China are closely connected.” Living in China for 5 years, Sabo thinks Changsha is the greenest city in China. “Changsha people are kind which makes the city more charming.”
When talking about China-Nigeria relationship, Sabo said that, “I hope to be an honest ‘envoy’ between the two countries, to safeguard bilateral interests and realize win-win results”.