Nigeria, Where Do You Stand Now?

Nigeria News takes a look at the country’s stance on the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

As African leaders gathered to deliberate on the way forward in the continent in Mauritania,  one thing comes to mind and it is about what the continent has failed to do in the area of sports, mostly, football.

No African nation has ever won the Fifa World Cup at the senior level. All the five Africa representatives at the ongoing World Cup in Russia have been eliminated. They are back home.

African teams have always set the quarterfinal target since Cameroon reached the stage in 1990. Beside Cameroon; Senegal and Ghana had also reached the quarter-final. Nigeria has been a force in African football and in the global arena when it comes to age-grade Fifa organized tournament.

As a matter of fact, Nigeria won the Olympic Gold Medal in football, at Atlanta 1996. The country holds the highest records of the under-17 world cup, having won it five times and had placed second and third in the past in the under-21 Fifa world cup.

But, the country has never surpassed the second stage of the senior world cup and it is baffling. Where does Nigeria stand in Africa? The country has done well and it is among the countries that have won the African Cup of Nations more than two times.

Nigeria has dominated African women football for more than eight years. However as the African leaders meet in Mauritania, one will expect them to take a look at sports and football in particular.

The round leather game is not just a sport now, there is a lot of politics and business behind it that the leaders must focus on. The leaders must not just leave the management of our football in the hands of their countries football association.

There is a need for skill transfer among African players as it is done in Europe that have dominated football world to the extent that Africa now exports players to Europe to fortify their leagues.

Currently, African players now find solace in China, Turkey and Russia. They travel as far as Israel to ply their trade.

While some African countries are thinking along this direction, perhaps to make business easy, Nigeria has not fully bought into this idea.

At the 31st Summit of Heads of States, AU Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, addressing an Executive session of the Union noted ‘that the Extraordinary AU summit, held in Kigali in March 2018, was certainly a success.

He explained that 44- Member States have signed the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

Seven Member States have already ratified the Free Trade Area Agreement, of which four of Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Niger, have deposited the relevant instruments. One Member State, Rwanda, ratified the Protocol on Free Movement and deposited its instrument of ratification.

“I urge the Member States that have not yet done so, to make the necessary arrangements to become parties to these instruments. It is equally important that the Member States that have not yet done so to join the Single African Air Transport Market,” he said.

He also stressed that the crucial importance of the free movement of persons is necessary so that Africans will not be strangers in their own continent.

“As I have had the opportunity to say it on many occasions, it is high time that Africans ceased to be foreigners on their own continent. I congratulate those Member States that have already taken steps to ease visa procedures or simply abolished them for African citizens.

I seize this opportunity to stress that it is important, for our collective credibility, that Africans be treated with dignity and respect across the continent. He said.

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