FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision not to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement, describing the last minute withdrawal as a disappointment.
The treaty is one of the flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063, aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments and one currency.
The Federal Government had delayed the signing of the treaty to allow for more deliberations and input from stakeholders, The government has set up a committee to work on the agreement before the President would sign it.
Speaking at the 6th Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Obasanjo expressed the hope that President Buhari would sign before it is too late.
“Egypt started the discussion about the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.
“That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing, I hope he signs it before it is too late,” he said.
Obasanjo called on the continent leaders to increase youth and women participation in politics.
“In our own part of the world, we have not done enough in this regard. Since independence, we have never had any woman as president or vice president; no woman has contested governorship election and won.
“In the coming dispensation, all organs of political parties should have 30 per cent slots for women, 30 per cent for the youth, and 40 per cent for the others.”
The former president said it was disheartening that the number of women in the National Assembly in Nigeria was still very insignificant.”