A former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that the African Free Continental Trade Area Agreement (AfCTA) will not be hindered by because Nigeria is slow to sign up to the process.
He spoke on Monday 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 and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA). Obasanjo is the Chairman of the Coalition.
Obasanjo was responding to comments 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.
Nigeria, Benin and Eritrea were the only countries yet to sign the AfCTA agreement.
Already, the Agreement has achieved the number of ratification, 22 countries, needed for its implementation.
The former President wondered why Nigeria which took over the processes leading to the AfCTA agreement from Egypt, suddenly halted signing and was not even participating in the session.
“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.
He also recalled that Nigeria led the way, at ministerial level, with the government ready to be in Kigali, Rwanda, to sign the agreement, before the sudden turnabout.