I am a chief in Africa: I have a fief of 100 square kilometers

  Lai Jianfeng said that every chief has a title, and his title is “the person closest to the crown”. Although the current chief is no longer a “natural ruler”, as the traditional leader of the tribe, the chief still enjoys a high prestige. Behind the honor, a sense of responsibility also arises spontaneously.
  Owning more than 100 square kilometers of land and being respected by nearly 5,000 households, what kind of experience is it like to be a chief in Africa?
   “It was really unexpected at first, but then I felt the joy of being recognized and the heavy responsibility.” Lai Jianfeng, who was crowned chief in Yagbashi City, Kogi State, Federal Republic of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as Nigeria), said.
  ”I was crowned chief by unanimous vote, and I was also the first Chinese chief of Yager Brazil.” Lai Jianfeng said, “During the coronation ceremony, I put on a white robe, a special headscarf, a necklace, a bracelet, and received The certificate arrived. After the ceremony, the local citizens sang and danced, and some people asked me to take a group photo.” “The
  person closest to the crown”
   In 1987, Lai Jianfeng was born in Aokoutang Village, Jiantiao Town, Sanmen County, Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province. His story with Nigeria began in 2012. At that time, Lai Jianfeng, who had worked in many industries and accumulated a lot of entrepreneurial experience, started import and export business between Africa and China.
  ”At that time, electronic products were very popular in Africa, and I exported mobile phone accessories from China. Nigeria’s special resources such as moringa seeds and mahogany were very popular in China.” Lai Jianfeng said.
   In 2022, after a lot of research in the early stage, Lai Jianfeng, who has accumulated a certain amount of funds and contacts, decided to give it a go. “Take Yager Brazil as an example. This small town is rich in timber and mineral resources, and the development cost is relatively low. So I took over a forest and mine here, and invested in the construction of a timber processing plant and mining workshop After Lai Jianfeng’s factory and mine were put into use, it provided the city with more than 500 jobs and a certain amount of tax revenue, which aroused widespread concern from local citizens and the government.
   Lai Jianfeng said that every chief has a title, and his title is “the person closest to the crown”. Although the current chief is no longer a “natural ruler”, as the traditional leader of the tribe, the chief still enjoys a high prestige. Behind the honor, a sense of responsibility also arises spontaneously.
   In fact, before being crowned the chief, Lai Jianfeng had already fulfilled the “chief’s responsibilities”—in Yager Brazil, where infrastructure is relatively lacking, he built wells and drainage channels for his employees and some surrounding residents at his own expense, which relieved everyone Knowing that Nigerian teenagers who love football have no training conditions, he formed a football team, donated football supplies, and hired coaches for them… It is reported that
   Nigeria has a population of 174 million and currently has more than 1,000 chiefs. The vast majority of these chiefs are hereditary, passed down through the patrilineal or matrilineal lines, but some of them, like Lai Jianfeng, have been conferred titles.
   Talking about the changes after becoming a chief, Lai Jianfeng said that the chief will have his own exclusive license plate, and ordinary people will also salute according to the local culture when they see him, “but the most important thing for me is that I can better represent the Chinese people and communities negotiate with relevant government departments, and appointments are no longer required to enter the offices of local officials.”
   Lai Jianfeng, who is both an overseas Chinese and a chieftain, now has two identities, said frankly: “I feel that the burden on my shoulders is heavier. I will try my best to provide help to local residents and Chinese overseas Chinese, and do a good job in the communication and development of the people of China and Nepal.” A bridge.”
   recent years, many overseas Chinese have been crowned chiefs in Nigeria. Kong Tao, an overseas employee of a Chinese engineering company, was sent to Nigeria to build railways after graduating from graduate school in 2010. During his long years of expatriate career, Kong Tao has made important contributions to the construction and development of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, and forged a deep friendship with the local people. In 2019, in recognition of Kong Tao’s contribution, he was awarded the title of “WAKILIN AYYUKA” chief by Musa, the emperor of Jiwa area in Abuja, which means “engineering leader”.
   Nigeria is a country governed by national government agencies and traditional local forces. As the head of local politics, the chief enjoys real power and is generally divided into three levels: the emperor of the land, the chief official of the frontier, and the administrator at the county and town level. The title of chieftain obtained by Kong Tao is second only to the emperor in rank, and belongs to the “big border official”.
   After becoming the chief, Kong Tao would attend every important festival together with other chiefs. The identity of the chief also further narrowed the distance between him and his African friends. “When I first meet a local, as long as I say that I am the chief of Jiwa, the other party will feel very friendly in an instant, and the topic will immediately increase, and the atmosphere will become quite harmonious.” Kong Tao said.
   Africans attach great importance to tradition. When he participated in the tribal festival for the first time, Kong Tao was notified in advance that he would ride a horse that day. “I said I don’t have a horse, but the people in the tribe said it’s fine. We have one and we’ve prepared it for you.” Kong Tao originally thought he was just going around his territory on horseback. Hundreds of chiefs participated. Surrounded by everyone, Kong Tao rode his horse for several hours in various territories under the scorching sun. When the event was over, Kong Tao was almost exhausted.
   In Nigeria, among the chiefs are the emperors like Musa and the “big border officials” like Kong Tao, as well as small chiefs at the village level. Kong Tao said that he does not participate in the actual management of local affairs, but land transactions usually communicate with the chiefs.
   In fact, Kong Tao is not the first person in China to be awarded this honorary title. Many Chinese employees of China Civil Engineering Nigeria Co., Ltd. have been awarded the title of chief. Today, Nigeria has emerged as the largest economy in Africa. On the “Belt and Road”, countless Chinese builders are still writing their “African stories”.

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