For us youths that were not born then or were still toddlers, we may be asking what was so special about 1984 in Nigeria. You might have heard the story that Major General Muhammadu Buhari was in charge but do you really know what happened in 1984? If you were part of the generation that experienced 1984, did you ever imagine you would relive that period again?

History has it that Major General Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s head of state during the period of 31st December 1983 – 27th August 1985.

Buhari came into prominence with his alleged involvement in the military coup in Nigeria which ousted Yakubu Gowon in 1975 which saw Murtala Mohammed become military head of state after Gowon. After the coup, that same year he was appointed military governor of the North-Eastern state which is now present-day Borno. In 1976 when Murtala Mohammed was assassinated, General Olusegun Obasanjo became military head of state and appointed Muhammadu Buhari as Federal Commissioner for petroleum resources.

Fast forward to 31st December 1983 when the civilian elected government of Shehu Shagari was overthrown following a coup, Buhari was chosen unanimously to be the new head of state. Shehu Shagari’s government was overthrown due to corruption allegations and bad and economy. But was Buhari’s administration any better?

Your guess is as good as mine. Many economic issues that existed in the past administration continued to plague BUHARI. Some people might even suggest that it got worse. He claimed to have a tough stance on corruption in order to improve the public image of Nigeria. This was welcomed was initially by the citizens but was quick to turn sour when the public noticed the economy was getting any better despite Buhari’s repressive measures.

During his time as military head of state, he introduced War Against Indiscipline, he instituted restrictions on the press, political freedom, and trade unionists. Many who were alive then claim that Buhari’s regime as head of state was the worst ever in Nigeria’s history. Some even go as far as saying that during Buhari’s tenure as military head of state, there was a famine in the land. The rain refused to fall, the sun was scorching hot, plants refused to grow. In fact, it was a nightmare in Nigeria until the military had had enough on 27th August 1985 and decided that Gen. Ibrahim Babangida take over while Buhari was being detained in Benin City.

Fast forward again to 2015. It is unbelievable that the same older generation that claimed to have experienced famine during Buhari’s first regime as military head of state were the same persons campaigning for him to be a democratically elected president of Nigeria. Youths can be forgiven for not knowing better because Nigeria’s history is not taught in school which one cannot help but wonder why.

Often I ask, was Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan that bad? Or was it a case of thinking we deserve more than we got with Jonathan? Or maybe the north just wanted their own regardless of who was available. But one thing for certain is that personally, I am happy Buhari got another chance to be Nigeria’s president after all was said and done or else in years to come he would have been regarded as the best president we never had.

Now let us compare Buhari’s first regime as military head of state to his tenure as democratically elected president. Back then the economy got worse. Needless to say that our economy has been on a downwards spiral. To get a better perspective, a dollar was 199naira on 31st December 2015 but today it is 411naira. Prices of foodstuffs have skyrocketed. Foodstuffs are getting scarce due to the inability of farmers to cultivate their farmlands. Fear of Fulani herdsmen and insecurity in general have forced farmers to stay at home rather hungry than go and die on their farmland. This case can be likened to Buhari’s first regime in 1984 as military head of state when many claimed there was a famine in the land.

Now let us talk about freedom of speech. In his first regime as military head of state in 1984, he instituted restrictions on the press, political freedom, and trade unionists. Fast forward to 2021, Buhari’s democratically elected government has banned Twitter and looking to regulate social media. The same platform they used for the campaign that brought them into power. Before the Twitter ban, there were talks and claims of people condemning Buhari’s administration for trying to silence youths in general. The Twitter ban did enough to validate such claims and shed light on them for international communities.

So permit me to ask. Knowing Buhari’s history as head of state in 1984, what were the likes of Sowore and Wole Soyinka thinking or hoping for when they rigorously campaigned for Buhari, packaged and sold him to us youths in 2015? First, they failed us in this generation with bad governance. Secondly, they made sure we are kept in the dark by removing history from our school curriculum. Maybe if history was taught in schools we would have known better as youths but since we knew no better, all we had were words of our parents and older generation like the likes of Sowore and Wole Soyinka, and they failed us. Knowing that we knew nothing about our history, they in turn preyed on our ignorance by packing and selling possibly the worst leader in the country’s history to us.

Maybe it will be clear to them now that a leopard doesn’t change its spots.

The good news about all of these is that as Buhari clearly stated in his inauguration speech back in May 2015, he belongs to everybody and also belongs to nobody. Meaning all of us will feel the effects and consequences of his actions and policies good or bad.
Yes there have been called for secession and many people probably have reasons why Nigeria cannot continue, I would advise that for now you sit back, fasten your beats and enjoy the ride back to 1984

beheardd here

%d bloggers like this: