Obasanjo Mocks Buhari In Indonesia, ‘Your Hands Too Weak To Sign Africa Free Trade Deal’
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has taken a fresh swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari over his failure to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) in July.
Recall that President Buhari was meant to sign the free trade agreement after the Federal Executive Council (FEC), on March 14, approved that Nigeria should join 55 other African countries in signing the deal. The AfCFTA signing was expected to increase intra-African trade by 52.3 per cent from about 19 per cent.
Obasanjo, while previously expressing disappointment that President Buhari was unable to sign the African free trade deal, said: “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 this during a presidential panel titled: ‘When Leaders Make History’ at the Africa CEO Forum that held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in March.
He had said, “Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”
But renewing his attack on Buhari for reneging on the move, Obasanjo suggested that the president’s hands were “took week” to ink the deal.
The former president said this while speaking at the 2018 Babacar N’Diaye Annual Lecture which held on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Annual General Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
At the event tagged “Global Power Equilibrium,” the former president served as guest speaker alongside American economist and public policy analyst, Professor Jeffery Sachs.
Reaffirming his recent endorsement of former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, for president in 2019, Obasanjo expressed confidence that, “very soon, Nigeria will be able to have a president that will sign the agreement”.
At the event organized by the African Import-Export Bank, the former president equally said free education is the starting point for African development. He submitted that the insurgence of Boko Haram terrorists was a direct result of lack of education.