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A Switch of Class?

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Exploring the Nigeria–Ghana Giant–Liliputian Thesis

image of Matatu

So much has been written about Nigeria–Ghana relations. However, very little attempt has been made to interrogate and historicize their competing status as independent states in the same sub-region over the decades. The two states have common historical experiences in terms of pre-colonial interactions, colonial rule, military dictatorship, and modern institutions. But, shortly after independence, their hitherto smooth relationship became competitive and at times, mutually antagonistic. It is this competitiveness that this essay investigates. In addition, it examines Nigeria’s claim to be the giant of Africa (and as a world player) while other, neighbouring West African states, including Ghana, are mere Lilliputians. The essay recalls the pitiable experience of Ghanaian nationals taking economic refuge in Nigeria in the 1980s—clutching at any kinds of menial jobs they could lay their hands on. In this connection, the essay is particularly fascinated by the obvious change of tide, which seems to be moving in favour of Ghana. With all positive indices of development being present in Ghana while, conversely, Nigeria suffers from the lack of these, the essay wonders whether Nigeria’s claim to be a giant can still hold water. It concludes with a rather shocking revelation which suggests the reversal of positions between the two countries.

Affiliations: 1: Redeemer’s University


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