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Nigeria: A year of recession and repression is a review of the Major General Muhammadu Buhari years as Head of state of Nigeria between 1984-1985.

The review was first published in 1986 and is contained in the Africa Contemporary Record | Annual Survey and Documents 1984-1985 | Editor- Colin Legum | Executive Editors- Helen and Sean Moroney | Indexer – Diana Lecore | pages B545 – B563

Parts of this material is reproduced by The PanAtlantic Journal to provide detailed objective information on the Maj-General Buhari Military Regime, between 1984-1985, the intent is to provide reliable information of the time, as Nigeria prepares for Presidential and General elections on February 14, 2015. General Muhammadu Buhari is one of the candidates contesting for the Presidency of Nigeria in the February, 2015 elections.



Nigeria – A year of recession and repression
Political Affairs; The SMC’s Policies
Political Trials
Government Reshuffle
The Government
Defense and Armed Forces
Social Affairs
Trade Unions
Legal Affairs
Religious Affairs
Foreign Affairs
Relations with the Organization of African Unity
West African Relations
Relations with Britain
Relations with other Western Countries
Relations with other Countries
Economic Affairs
Oil and OPEC
Trade and Development
Debts and Loans
The May 1984 and 1985 Budgets


A year of recession and repression

The military government, led by Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, tightened its grip on political and economic affairs during the year in a determined effort to correct problems accentuated by the wayward policies of the deposed Shagari Administration. [1] Despite rumors of unease within the junior ranks of the military, the Supreme Military Council (SMC) appeared to be in effective control during 1984, even though the leadership possessed an acute awareness of the potential for unrest [2]

Such a perception was evident in the harsh decrees under which the death sentence was imposed for many offences, while the media came under increasing pressure.

On the economic front, the recession and retrenchment put increasing strain on the population, and government policies held out little hope for an improvement. If anything, the SMC appeared to have run out of productive ideas for economic rejuvenation and, with the continuing deadlock in talks with the IMF over a $2.4bn loan, seemed content to pursue the harsh austerity program while engaging in makeshift policies of battering oil for essential imports.

Following the euphoria surrounding the military takeover, popular support for the military leadership waned considerably during 1984, and began to turn to disillusionment [3].

The severity of its policies and its apparent imperviousness to public opinion appeared to be turning large sections of the public against it. With the SMC holding the view that these policies would need to remain for at least two or three more years, doubts began to emerge as to whether the regime could last the course.

Maj-Gen Buhari was overthrown by another army coup (Nigeria’s sixth since independence) on 27 August 1985. The coup led by brig Joshua Dogon Yaro, was unopposed. He announced the dissolution of the Supreme Military Council, the Federal Executive Council and the National Council of State. Giving the reasons for their actions, the coupists said they ‘could not stay passively and watch a small group of individuals misuse power to the detriment of our national aspirations and interests.’

While acknowledging that the Buhari Regime had inherited a lot of problems, they claimed that the real reason for the failure to make progress was ‘the lack of unanimity of purpose among the ruling body’


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