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In 1984, just months after the military takeover by General Buhari, the country ground to a halt; just like today! He came with the same song-and-dance: THEY ARE CORRUPT!!

In a matter of months, mothers were selling their jewellery to send their children to school. Thieves were stealing food at gun point, just like today.

Within months, there simply was NO FOOD. The government gathered the little there was and restricted purchases.

Whether you were 100 or ONE in your family, every household had a card with which they went to military manned cooperatives to purchase rationed, “essential commodities”.

These included Rice, Beans, Yam, Bread, Milk, Sugar, and so on. Everything was rationed. It was war-time in peace-time!! Nigeria became like Somalia.

We lived like refugees.

And of course, a lot of children were simply pulled out of schools because feeding was priority number ONE! Going to school became a luxury, even for middle class families.

And ANDREWS & JANES started checking out.

People suddenly remembered they had British and American passports, and simply left the country!

Those who are not aware of all these, ask anyone who was born on or before 1984. They should be old enough to remember. It was that harrowing.

The most baffling aspect of all this was that, the people he said were corrupt and stealing, were presiding over an economy where the Naira was 1:1 with the US Dollar, and N2 to £1 Sterling!

An economy where we were buying Volkswagen Beetle at N400 from Volkswagen of Nigeria. An economy where my entire family, all 7 of us, travelled for summer hols on tickets purchased for N280 and BTA of N400 (official – we managed to sneak more out for shopping naaa).

An economy where everything was robust and vibrant and growing. Then a man comes in and says he took over because people were corrupt and he needed to sanitise things.

In a matter of months, the Dollar was N15 and the Sterling was N40. A VW Beetle sold for N8,000 (up from N400) and that N8,000 simply was not available anywhere!

Children dropped out of school, businesses closed, parents became destitute, food was NOT available and we queued for rations at cooperatives like refugees in a warring country!!!

Fast forward to 2015!! The same man comes with the same song-and-dance.

We tried to remind our peers and elders of those days, and we tried to educate the younger ones.

However, the wind of change, that wind that always tells us that the grass is greener on the other side, deafened them all!

And once again, within months, everything that happened in 1984 and 1985 Y THING – is all being repeated.

I have just come from a home where my friends have owed two terms’ school fees. They have just made the difficult decision to leave Abuja, relocate back to their village and take the two younger children out of school, at least temporarily.

The older boy will stay with friends and they will use the savings on rent and the likes to try and get him across the line (WAEC).

Feeding is now a major task. Infact, people are complaining of their kitchens and farms being raided for food – DAILY!!

Yet again, this is happening just months after Buhari takes over with screams of corruption and stealing.

Corruption and stealing, yet that my family friend who was not corrupt, not stealing and not anywhere close to the corridors of power was paying his rent, feeding his family and sending all three children to school.

Corruption and stealing yet businesses were opening daily, economy was vibrant, people were healthy, GDP was growing and so on!

In 1985, we were rescued by IBB and Dogonyaro. Immediately, people experienced a reversal.

Within a very short time, the cooperatives closed, food became abundant again, the Naira stabilised, mothers stopped selling their jewellery, and so on. It makes one wonder!

If there were no reference points, Buharists may claim that “if only he had been president”, but the mid-80s proved that the worst period in Nigeria’s history were the 20-odd months he was in power, sandwiched between two periods of plenty and growth.

Therefore, they cannot bring the that today’s sufferings and impoverishment were the fault of the past regime – because we will counter with “TAKE HIM OUT NOW LIKE IBB DID IN 1985 AND SEE IF BY THIS CHRISTMAS, YOU WILL NOT BE SMILING AGAIN.

Someone told me today that he predicts that by this Xmas or next Easter at the latest, a person will come and offer a Toyota Camry in exchange for N50,000, just so that his family can eat and make merry over the holidays!!

Nigerians simply don’t refer to history! And I have run out of every single drop of sympathy in my body.


“IN MONTHS TO COME, A TOYOTA CAMRY WOULD BE OFFERED FOR N50,000 JUST TO FEED THE FAMILY” In 1984, just months after the military takeover by General Buhari, the country ground to a halt; …Sep 13 2016nigerianews.info


Rev Francis Waive

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