By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Abuja – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja, proposed a toast for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The vice president’s toast was proposed at a dinner organised in honour of the Deputy Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Prof. Vuong Hue.
Osinbajo, had earlier, at the Presidential Villa, received Hue and his team and witnessed the signing and exchange of the Memorandum of Understanding on waiver of visa requirements for holders of Valid Diplomatic and Official Passports.
The vice president, during the toast on a lighter note, said that Hue was his long lost brother as both of them were born on same year and same month– March, 1957.
Osinbajo said more so, that he and Hue were both lecturers and professors.
He said that Nigeria and Vietnam had maintained long standing diplomatic relations since 1976 but there were no high level engagements.
“So, this visit is very significant because we will be looking at the possibility of setting up a bilateral commission between Vietnam and Nigeria so that we can concretise the existing areas of cooperation that we discussed earlier today.
“ I am confident that we can build on the successes recorded in the past while we work on boosting cooperation in business, trade and investment and social and cultural relationship between both countries.
“We agreed on promoting a friendly football match between Vietnam and Nigeria.
“The Super Eagles and the Vietnamese National Team and as well the Female National Team of Vietnam and our Super Falcons.
“First toast to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; Long live the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; the next will be the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria,’’ he said.
In his response, Hue said that Nigeria and Vietnam had a lot of things in common.
He said that aside boosting economic and trade ties, there was need to enhance cultural relationship.
Hue said that the Vietnamese national team was a strong side in Asia as he was looking forward for a friendly match between both male and female national teams of both countries.
In his welcome address at the dinner, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada, said that the Vietnamese delegation, led by Hue, had demonstrated willingness to strengthen relationship between Nigeria and Vietnam.
He said that the delegation had the opportunity of meeting people that matter in Nigeria, especially on the area of trade, commerce and investment.
“Indications are that their engagements are very fruitful and they are willing to take the relationship to the next level.
“On our part, we are, ready and willing to reciprocate; to pick up the challenge they have thrown to us.
“This evening, we, signed an agreement on waiving Visa for people carrying diplomatic passport,” he said.
Dada said that the dinner was put together by the vice president to introduce the Vietnamese delegation to Nigerian cuisine.(NAN)