A former President Olusegun Obasanjo says President Muhammadu Buhari has a weak hand to sign the African Free Trade Agreement.
Obasanjo spoke on the theme, ‘Global Power Disequilibrium, Trade Wars and Implications for Africa’ during the international lecture series instituted by Afrexim Bank to honour Dr. Babacar Ndiaye, a former President of the African Development Bank, who died on July 13, 2017.
The event held from the sidelines of the 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.
Guests present at the 2018 lecture included leaders of African and global banks, development finance institutions, the business community and political leaders attending the World Bank–IMF Annual Meetings.
Others were members of the diplomatic community, policymakers, academicians, African and non-African ministers of finance, economy and development, central bank governors, and CEOs of global and African corporations.
Sanusi, who is a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, had said at the launching of the Association Peer-Review Journal in July that it was ironic that Nigeria had signed many trade deals with European and Asian countries but was failing to replicate it in Africa.
He had said, “I am very careful about what I sign, whether it is my cheque book or agreements, especially when it involves nations and states. As your President Ramaphosa has said, we are so populated and have so many young unemployed citizens and our industries are just coming up.
“I was presented with the document; I am a very slow reader maybe because I am an ex-soldier. I didn’t read it fast enough before my officials saw that it was all right for signature. I kept it on my table. I will soon sign it.”
She added, “Olusegun Obasanjo is right. Everybody knows that this government has no policy direction. So, we are all waiting eagerly for that change of baton. It will come to pass next year. We will have a people-oriented government; a government that understands the economy and can turn resource advantage to fortune for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
Also, a Second Republic lawmaker and elder statesman, Dr Junaid Mohammed, said the economy under Muhammadu Buhari suffered from rising foreign debts and an incompetent economic team to salvage the situation.
Mohammed said, “It is not only Olusegun Obasanjo who sees these things; I remember I have consistently questioned Buhari’s capacity to manage the Nigerian economy. International economic agencies have also been warning Nigeria about our rising public expenditure and growing foreign debts. We have borrowed and over-borrowed.”