Friday, 24 May 2013
Between Nigeria and Ghana By Ugoo Anieto
1) 1970s = Ghana was in a severe political and economic dilemma while Nigeria was a thriving economy and the Nigerian Naira had a greater value over the US Dollar.
2) 1979 = Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings led a revolution killing military and political leaders in Ghana and organized “a house cleaning exercise” aimed at recovering stolen monies from public servants.
3) 1981 = Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings took over the government of Ghana from the inept Dr. Hilla Limann.
4) 1980s = Millions of Ghanaians “invaded” Nigeria in search of economic reprieve and political stability. The Ghanaian dream of the late 70s and early 80s was to emigrate to oil rich Nigeria.
5) 1980s = Jerry Rawlings was still busy cleaning up Ghana WITHOUT THE HELP OF MARABOUTS, IMAMS, MEN OF GOD etc while Ghanaians in Nigeria served us as artisans and guess what? They were skilled in everything they did… They were street tailors, house servants, shoemakers, day laborers and all types of jobs that did not require a college education.
6) 1985 = Anti-Ghanaian resentment was already growing in Nigeria and the Nigerian government officially expelled Ghanaians from Nigeria. The popular Nigerian BAG called “Ghana must go” was popular amongst arriving Ghanaian immigrants of 1983 and amongst expelled Ghanaians of 1985 and beyond.
(7) 1990s = Ghana had achieved great stability in all sectors and the remnants of Ghanaians in Nigeria were departing voluntarily.
(8) 2000s = Nigerians started emigrating to Ghana in search of better life from political stability to education. The Nigerian dream became to live and do business in Ghana.
(9) 2011 = Nigerians spent 160 billion Naira (US$1 billion) on education alone in Ghana. Tourism and business expenditures run into the billions of dollars from Nigeria.
(10) 2012 = Anti- Nigerian sentiment has grown out of proportion in Ghana prompting the Ghanaian government to set new rules of business which is that a foreigner has to deposit US$300,000 with the government before starting any business in Ghana. This was targeted at invading Nigerians
11) 2012 = Ghana has been deporting Nigerians it deem a threat to its national security and the anti-Nigerian sentiment has come to stay.
Ghanaians no longer standing before us with their hands at their backs but rather they sit down at the negotiating table and tell us what they want from us. They no longer live in shanties in Nigeria, rather they live in well built houses in their country. They do not go to our schools but we go to their schools from kindergarten through university. They are no longer roadside artisans in Nigeria, they have upgraded to skilled contractors. There is not one building whether private or public that would have an excellent finishing if Ghanaians are not contracted to do the job. My dad’s house Obiakor-Ugulu Lodge (completed in 1990) is a typical example.
As I write this, Nigerians are still waiting for some “messiah” for the needed rescue but I know that there is not a messiah coming to help us. We ran the place into the mud and we are still deceiving ourselves that all is well when in fact it isn't true. There are Muslims and Christians in Ghana just like Nigeria but they do not kill each other and blow churches up on Sundays. The Nigerian “testimony” includes sending your family into exile in Ghana and the whole congregation will shout, “praise the lord”.
Expatriates who live in Ghana do not require police escorts, they walk freely amongst the people but same expatriates who live in Nigeria require a full battalion of soldiers for protection. In Ghana, people still do all sorts of jobs without considering it demeaning. They are willing to work for their pay, they just love what they do and are content. In Nigeria, people are taught from home and church to run an enterprise that produces nothing but ideological interests and then use this same enterprise to steal from the small-minded Nigerians- it is called “pastoring”. Kidnapping is also a thriving industry too in the Nigeria of today.
Ever wondered why I stay home on Sunday morning, doing laundry, experimenting with food and drinking bottles of red wine? I know that the truth is lacking in the same Nigerian style institution that would kill 2 hours of my time on Sunday morning. Seriously thinking of seeking “shelter” in the good old traditional deities of my home town Umunnachi in Dunukofia Anambra State.
Ugoo Anieto is a doctoral candidate in the United State
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters