A former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said on Monday that the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCTA) Agreement will not be hindered by Nigeria’s reluctance to sign up to the process.
Obasanjo made the remark in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the opening session of the Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening the Implementation of the AfCTA.
The dialogue was organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA).
The former President was reacting to concerns raised by one of the discussants at the event, on the need for stakeholders to look into the implications of AfCTA without Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea are the only countries yet to sign the AfCTA agreement.
NAN also reports that the Agreement has achieved the number of ratification, 22 countries, needed for its implementation.
Obasanjo, who recalled that Nigeria took over the processes leading to the AfCTA agreement from Egypt, wondered why it suddenly halted signing and was not even participating at the session.
He also recalled that Nigeria led the way, at ministerial level, with the government ready to be in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign up to the agreement, before the sudden turnabout.
According to him, Nigeria should resolve its domestic intrigues and not bring such to the African Union table.
“It is nobody’s fault if your country cannot resolve its domestic problem.
“If you (Nigeria) is not signing the agreement, it is unfortunate. AfCTA will go on without Nigeria.
“You will recall that this is the first time, since 1976, that Nigeria is not at the table of a major continental process.
“Nigeria should settle its problem at home and not bring it to the AU,’’ Obasanjo said.