(By Karo Orovboni)
“Ghana has also continued to strengthen her educational system. Education in Ghana is that good that there are over 200,000 Nigerians currently studying in Ghana, spending over N100 billion annually on tuition fees, thereby contributing to the already growing economy.“
Most Nigerians will not remember this period, in fact, about 77% of Nigerians (that is Nigerians under the age of 35) were not born or were too young to understand what was happening at the time the term ‘Ghana must go’ was coined, but it was not in the very distant past.
In the 1970s, Ghana was facing a lot of economic hardship, just about the same time Nigeria had an oil boom, Nigeria’s economy was flourishing. Citizens of some West African countries (mostly Ghanaians) flocked into Nigeria in search of pastures green. In the early 1980s the oil boom somewhat subsided and there was also economic downturn in Nigeria due to low oil prices, jobs were no longer readily available even for Nigerians. The Federal Government decided that the Ghanaians and other African migrants had overstayed their welcome. The Nigerian government enacted an expulsion order in 1983, about 700,000 Ghanaians were returned to their country. The Ghanaians during the exodus used a peculiar type of bag to move their belongings; the bags were popularly termed by Nigerians as ‘Ghana must go’ bags. Well, Ghana left, and if you must know, Ghana is doing really well.
Ghana has since then attained significant economic growth and huge human development, which is majorly down to the growth in manufacturing and exportation of goods. Ghana currently has the fastest growing economy in Africa and one of the top-ten fastest growing economies in the world. 97% of energy in Ghana now comes from Hydropower and they have also started exporting energy to neighbouring countries. Starting up a business is pretty easy and promising; there is economic stability, which makes it alluring to investors. Nigerian elites have now thronged the cities of Ghana, owning houses, setting up businesses and major long-term investments, a country that they once denigrated and couldn’t wait to send packing her citizens out of Nigeria.
Ghana has also continued to strengthen her educational system. Education in Ghana is that good that there are over 200,000 Nigerians currently studying in Ghana, spending over N100 billion annually on tuition fees, thereby contributing to the already growing economy.
Let us make a quick comparison of Ghana and Nigeria based on factual figures from the World Bank and United Nations.
3.6% of the total labour force in Ghana is unemployed, compared to 21% in Nigeria
Life expectancy in Ghana is 60. In Nigeria, life expectancy is 50
80% of the rural population in Ghana now have access to water source, in Nigeria, the figure is 47%
28.5% of Ghanaians live below the poverty line, 70% of Nigerians live below the poverty line
The literacy rate of Ghanaians from the ages of 15 and above is 67.3%. In Nigeria, it is 61.3%
Rate of inflation in Ghana is 9.2%. Nigeria has an inflation rate of 12.2%
The level of corruption in Ghana has been on the decrease; the most recent major statement made by the current president on the combat against corruption is the sacking of a serving deputy minister who bragged about making $1million before she leaves politics. The government showed its intolerance to such acts and immediately sent her packing. This action will certainly reverberate and send shock waves in the political space in Ghana, any politician with similar intensions would probably think twice before embarking on such agenda.
Contrast that to the brazen corruption in the aviation industry that has engulfed the pages of online and print media in the last few weeks. The minister of aviation ‘did the needful’; she approved the purchase of two bulletproof cars for an astonishing sum of N255 million!
The immediate response by our beloved president who claims to be fighting corruption with every drop of blood he has was to include the indicted minister in his entourage to the holy land of Israel. He also quickly set up a committee to determine whether the aviation ministry had followed due process in the procurement of the vehicles, an act that I call ‘political mesmerism’. The House of Representatives have managed to highlight that the aviation ministry spent N643 million without appropriation! But come to think of it, this brazen act has precedence. The government of Nigeria, under the auspices of our illustrious, son of the land, incumbent president, spent over a whopping N2.6 trillion without appropriation in the name of fuel subsidy. Nothing happened to those who approved the spending of over N2.6 trillion, so my guess is the minister of aviation need not worry (that is if she’s flinching), she is home and dry. But if I were to be in any capacity to morally advise the honourable minister, it would simply be, “please ‘do the needful’ and resign honourably”.
It is not rocket science and definitely not by luck that Ghana has been able to achieve what they have. They had a vision, plans were set and they worked vigorously in realising the vision.
It is not all doom and gloom for Nigeria, if the country’s leadership set their minds and hearts to it, this nation can surely be changed for the better, and we can reclaim our ‘emeritus’ status as the ‘Giant of Africa’.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”