Opinion | Buhari’s Almost Forty Years Of Fighting Trade And The Tribe That Trades

By Ena Ofugara

Whatever I say now, ask any person that has become aware of politics and policies as at 1983.

In 1984, Buhari ordered military men to move into markets and force traders to sell Omo, Peak Milk, Bournvita, Rice etc at below cost price. Women were flogged. Men were made to do frog jump. Locked shops were broken into and goods carted away by military men.

Igbos are the major tribe of people who sell these things in the market.

Meat was the most expensive part of food then and now.

Buhari did not order the army to flog herdsmen and butchers to sell cows and cow meat at cheap rates.

Fulanis are the tribe that control the cow meat market.

The truth no one will admit is that there is a school of thought in the North and perhaps all over much of Nigeria that Igbos make all the money and that things are expensive because of them. What this school of thought do not realize is that the Igbos have to keep prices very low to compete among themselves and all others from any tribe who wish to compete in free trade with them. Igbos have never stopped a Yoruba or Hausa man from owning a shop in Alaba or Ladipo or Computer Village. But can you COMPETE?

Quite often the answer is NO.

So in 1983, Buhari ordered military men to break into these shops and force the sale of goods at below cost price.

Make no mistake, Yorubas, Urhobos, Tivs all had their goods STOLEN by the military. But we all know who dominates the market and who the target is and how perhaps, Yorubas my tribe (to that school of thought, we are all Igbos aka IYAMIRI)

Facts are facts.

And as we all know, with TRADE DESTROYED, Nigeria’s economy CRASHED and IBB had to take over and introduce “AUSTERITY MEASURES” suggested by IMF to try and rescue Nigeria from the destruction of business and economy brought on by Buhari.

It is very easy to destroy.

Note also that that same year and because of Buhari that the naira STOPPED being an international money tender as banks in Europe and America could not exchange the naira in their possession with Nigerian banks when Buhari changed our money and gave a short window for old naira to be exchanged for the new one.

And that is how any naira in your pocket is USELESS outside Nigeria while SA Rand and CFA is honoured abroad.

Again, ask your parents or uncles and aunties about what I am saying if you do not trust google.


Igbos again control the market and micro economy of buying and selling (They are a tenacious and resilient bunch they are.) And they do this through import as we are a buying economy.

Then Buhari makes the dollar impossible to get. He says “they should LOOK FOR DOLLAR”. And so dollar went up as high as 520 naira to a dollar.

This while selling to Dangote and other Fulani businessmen at 195 naira to a dollar, something even the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi came out to criticize.

And the economy crashed

And we had a recession

A SECOND RECESSION in our history, all under BUHARI

And like he blamed NPN and Shagari back then, he has been blaming PDP and Jonathan.

Note that between 1979 and 1983, years Shagari and NPN were in power, Lagos governor, Lateef Jakande, built most of the housing complexes, roads and schools.

Ambrose Alli of then Bendel state built at least 5 higher institutions. and over 600 secondary schools and FED students as in I ate rice provided FREE by Ambrose Alli and all our textbooks had NOT FOR SALE on them cos they were free.

This is post OIL BOOM. Yet these civilian governors, even with the corruption of Umaru Dikko, were building universities and constructing roads and free education at all levels and FREE BOOK and free food.

But the minute Buhari took the coup, played with the naira and “fought corruption” thereby promoting naira flight as people could no longer do business, THE ECONOMY CRASHED and we has our FIRST RECESSION.

And Nigeria saw real POVERTY for the first time. From an administration of Shagari that was tarring roads and buklding school to Buhari’s of EXTREME POVERTY all in a year.

Same thing with Jonathan and PDP. With all the talk of corruption, bag of rice was 8 thousand. Now it is 21. Basketbof tomato is 5 times the cost now that it was under Jonathan. Fuel price is up 100 percent. Loans taken by Buhari has made up for the high price of crude oil and yet…..

NIGERIANS ARE SEEING POVERTYYY like at no time before. And again, all in a year.

Like he blamed Shagari and NPN, he has been blaming Jonathan and PDP when all the while it is his messing with the naira and attempt to stifle TRADE and those who trade, chiefly Igbos, that has ruined the economy.

The big banks and underwriters of foreign investment are gone just the way KINGSWAY and many other top foreign businesses left in 1983 and thereabouts. JP Morgan and two other international banks have blacklisted Nigeria.

Yet some say they want a NEXT LEVEL of this dastardly DESTRUCTION OF BUSINESS and the economy.


And for those who say Buhari, by forcing traders to sell goods under their cost price, had a desire to have Nigerians pay less, again, ask your uncles and fathers and mothers who were in universities at that time. In Uniben, Buhari STOPPED FEEDING OF STUDENTS and introduced SCHOOL/TUITION FEES. Is that making Nigerians pay less? Is that socialism that he was introducing? NO. It is clear his target was not that Nigerians pay less but a simple strategy to PUNISH TRADE and those whose mainstay is trade.

And he ends up punishing everyone because for Dangote to sell his cement, we all must be rich enough to buy. WEALTH REVOLVES.

And if he was so into local production and if that was why he did the evil with the dollar, WHAT HAS HE DONE FOR ABA and other centers of local production? What has he done for local products anywhere? Even the textile industry that was bailed by Jonathan, how has Buhari encouraged it so we stop buying ABC wax from abroad?

And if he was so against importation, WHY DID WE GO AND IMPORT GRASSSSSSSS from Brazil for Northern cattle business?

Will he import a thing for Igbos or even Yorubas?

So go on and allow Buhari blame a Shagari under whose admin universities were being built. Go on and allow him blame a Jonathan that built 11 Universities and almajiri schools all over the North including an additional
Law school in Bayelsa. Let a man who has never built a secondary school under his many administrations and positions of power blame those whose administrations saw cheaper food, happier populace and stronger economies

When for two straight times your rule leads to recession, surely you must be questioned.

Shagari did not see oil boom yet Jakande, Ambrose Alli and so many other governors excelled.

So why is there so much hunger in Buhari’s time if it is not his fault???

Where are the arms for the army? Where is the 2.1 billion dollars loan for development of the North East? Is anything resembling development in that Norrh East? 13 trillion in loans and largest budgets in our history Where are the projects? All his commission are Jonathan projects that none of Buhari’s budgets account for.

So Why so much hunger any time Buhari rules?

I will tell you

One. By chasing enemies, capital and money is hidden from the economy and since money revolves, the minute the rich, however they got rich withdraw their money from circulatiom, HUNGRR PERMEATES ever nook and cranny.

But more impacting, by DESTROYING TRADE because of hate for those who trade, Buhari DESTROYS THE ECONOMY

Time to elect a man who understands business and who will not seek to destroy the economy in the name of holding those who trade down. We do not want a president who will tell a tribe “let them look for dollars” while allowing those of his tribe access not only to dollars but at a ridiculous exchange rate of 195.

All our family in the East have ever asked for is a level playing field.

May Atiku win and may he live up to our expectations of him as a man ready to allow business grow for EVERYONE, North, South, East and West.

May God Bless Nigeria and start this by helping us remove Buhari.

Ena Ofugara is a U.S. based Nigerian activist, political analyst and strategist.

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