Comparisons between Ghana and Nigeria, two west African nations, are frequently discussed in discourse. The debate of the discussion has also grown/evolved on social media, on the playing field, and in the eyes of the global community.
To be clear, There are sure to be areas of cultural overlap between these two peoples, given their shared colonial hist. Yet, these similarities are frequently overlooked instead of being appreciated. Due to pride, neither side is keen to acknowledge their similarities, and it is almost unthinkable for one side to be seen to look to the other for inspiration. Doing so would imply that one side is inferior to the other. Giving in on one front means giving in on all -so it seems.
This article doesn’t aim to exalt one above the other but to highlight a few of these debates out of the numerous that have been going on for decades.
Table of Contents
Jollof Rice War
For starters, it describes how a fierce feud between two countries, with complex geopolitical and sociocultural implications, has become symbolized by a spicy rice dish that originated among the Wolof people of Senegal and The Gambia than in either nation.
The Jollof War is also hotly debated, down to the kind of rice used, how much spice is added, and how it is served. But, amusingly enough, there is still disagreement over whether the version is better despite the discussion having prompted responses from politicians and diplomats alike.
Long grain rice is used to produce Nigerian Party Jollof. The purpose of washing large particles of parboiled rice (precooked with husk) is to alter the texture, improve nutrition, and increase weevil resistance. To create a taste, it combines mild tomatoes with sautéed onions in groundnut oil. Add thyme, pepper, bullion cubes, curry powder, chilies, paprika, and red pepper spice for warm and spicy sweetness, richness, and color. Fish, crayfish, and habanero pepper are the best options for a sweet and flowery flavor. Jollof rice from Nigeria is cooked more extended, giving it a smokey flavor. This interacts with the tomato to produce a smoky, ashy, roasted tomato note that gives the rice a savory and delectable taste.
On the other hand, because Ghanaians enjoy tomatoes in all of their forms, Ghanaian Jollof has a higher tomato taste component. To the tomato sauce, they also add meat. As a result, it has earned a reputation for possessing the most alluring spices and flavors. The brightest orange/red roots are the juiciest and richest. Ghanaian Jollof is not as hot as Nigerian.
In comparison to Nigerian Party Jollof, it utilizes fewer chiles. In contrast to Nigerian Jollof, it also prioritizes using tomato stew and beef stock for the rice. It uses spicy pepper, onions, and ginger with a desire for a distinct burnt flavor that results from the pot’s response to the rice for decadent and authentic Jollof rice.
Movies (Ghallywood Vs. Nollywood)
The comparisons between the two giant movie industries will be one of the debates that will continue to last for a long time on the West-African soil.
Even though Statistically, Nollywood is rated Third in the world, after Bollywood and Hollywood in terms of revenue, and Second after Bollywood in terms of unit Outputs, the argument that Ghallywood Acts were majorly instrumental in its astronomical rise in ratings will continue to rage on-end and Nollywood will continue that rather than it being the beneficiary here, these Ghallywood acts got international recognition because of its already established platform. There’s no doubt, though, that The Nigerian movie industry is more mature and experienced.
Today, collaborations between the two industries have become commonplace, and the industries are experiencing some exponential rise in attention it attracts independently and as a collective. Partnerships between the international filmmaking giants have now increased too. As a result, a film can feature a Hollywood, Nollywood, and Ghallywood cast.
Ifeanyi Onyeabor (also known as Big Slim), Rev. Tony Meribe-White, and later, around 2006, the Nigerian filmmaker Frank Rajah Arase, who Ifeanyi Onyeabor hired as his personal or production assistant, were among the Nigerian film directors featured in Ghanaian and Nigerian collaboration films that began production around 1997.
Also, he developed into a film director. He worked with Venus Films, a Ghanaian production firm, to produce several films that included well-known Ghanaian actors who could find work in Nigeria (Nollywood). Actors included Van Vicker, Jackie Appiah, Majid Michel, Yvonne Nelson, John Dumelo, Nadia Buari, and Yvonne Okoro, to name a few. In addition, a few Nigerian producers have recently begun to shoot in Ghana since production costs are lower there.
The first football matches between Ghana and Nigeria were played in the 1950s; it wasn’t until Ghana passed the Aliens Compliance Order in 1969 that there was genuine hostility between the two countries. Then, unsurprisingly, and in the spirit of the rivalry, Nigeria passed a similar law in 1983, enforcing a mass exodus of Ghanaians. That rivalry on the field of play still stands to date.
The term “Jollof Derby” may best describe the utter hilarity and weight of the rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana in football. Not counting friendly matches and unofficial contests, Ghana and Nigeria have won six games thus far in recent times. Overall. Fifty-six games, including close tournaments, have been played between Nigeria and Ghana across all competitions. Nigeria has lost to Ghana 25 times, winning just 12 of the games. Matches between the two have ended in ties on 19 occasions.
As the teams prepared for the second leg of the qualifier matches in Abuja that would have determined who would go on to represent West Africa among the five countries that were expected to fly Africa’s colors at the Qatar world cup, the latest iteration of this West African derby was to have more than just football supremacy for the time being as the prize. -Fans were dissatisfied with the first leg of the Jollof derby when it ended in a goalless draw in Kumasi.
Nigeria lost out on the world-cup ticket due to a 1-1 draw. However, Ghana managed to hold Nigeria to a vital 1-1 draw and advanced to the 2022 World Cup on the grounds of away goals rule. That latest win has seemingly put Ghana in the driving seat for the bragging rites, especially in football, and Nigeria will be bidding their time to get even again.
Comparisons of the quality of the teams have also been another angle of debate here( and in sports generally), as each team’s fan will give a listener an earful of reasons why their favorite country team is better equipped. This has led to conversations that border on the comparisons between Gyan and Obafemi, Okocha-Ayew/Muntari, etc.
The origins and inspirations of Afrobeats music have been debated to the point where prominent Nigerian musician Oluwatosin “Mr. Eazi” Ajibade, who attended school in Kumasi, came under harsh criticism from his colleagues in 2017 when he claimed that Nigerian Afrobeats was influenced by Ghanaian sound.
There have also been recent minor disputes between other, more modern acts. For example, in 2021, the Nigerian Afrobeats star Burna Boy and the Ghanaian musician Shatta Wale argued online over the latter’s comments criticizing Nigerian musicians. Burna Boy then offered to “fight one on one” to resolve the issue.
But truth be told that on the music front and as long as Afrobeats is concerned, Nigeria’s artists are the flag bearers of the genre right now as sounds from the country’s stars have gone on to make worldwide impressions and attract attention to the country’s (and Africa’s) entertainment industries. Nigerian Stars have released internationally acclaimed work and have even been nominated in Grammy and other top-ranking musical bodies categories. Moreover, a Nigerian man -Anikulapo Fela Kuti- is often credited to be “The father and most-renowned pioneer” of the Afrobeat genre.
It is also said that the love and attention Nigerian music is getting over their counterparts, and even from Ghanaians themselves, is one of the significant reasons Nigerian music deservedly takes the lead in this category.
Every culture has dance as an integral part. For example, the regional folk and tribal dances of Nigeria and Ghana offer several opportunities for emotional expression, social interaction, and physical activity. In addition, these dances can be used to convey messages or tell stories at times.
From the Cultural dance steps to the more conventional and trendy ones, The two countries have developed and preserved a sturdy dance culture that has been passed down to its generation over the years. So whether it is the Atilogwu, Bata, Swange, Sharo dance or the Adowa, Agbadza, or Adzogbo dance, traditional dance steps of the respective countries remain essential in their regions of origin.
Contemporary dance steps like Galala, Suo, Azonto, and Alanta have all had controversial claims about their region of origin. However, the conversation has always included Nigeria and Ghana.
The comparisons between the males in these two countries are another part of the debate that has raged on. Most Ghanaian men are often tall, dark, and well-built physically like their Nigerian counterparts, who have lighter-skinned men than Ghana. However, their Men are also imposing and enticingly attractive, as seen by a higher number of affiliations between Nigerian Men and women from other parts of the African soil, including Ghana.
Ghana’s screen personalities like John Dumelo, Majid Michael, and Musician Sarkodie, to name a few, are celebrities and can serve as examples of how endowed a Ghanaian man may be. At the same time, Nigeria’s list will include Banky-W, Fredricks Leonard, and Anthony Joshua, amongst others, in the debate.
For many people, what constitutes beauty includes a person’s outward look and social interactional behaviors. It should go without saying that Ghana is known for having some of the most stunning women in the world and in all of Africa. Most of the pretty girls in Ghana have received an education and using their skills to support themselves. Ghanaian girls are known for their curves and dark skin. From Nadia Buhari to Yvonne Nelson and Juliet Ibrahim, as examples of Ghanaian beauty figures, It is evident that Ghanaian women are amongst the top beauties in Africa.
Nigerian women are also characterized to be extremely beautiful, as can be seen in the movies and videos that are abundant on the internet. Like their Ghanaian Counterparts, Their women have great curves and appealing physiques. Nigerian women have also made their mark on the international scene for their beauty as the country has produced top finishers for top pageantries like the “Miss World” competitions. Beautiful Nigerian celebrities like former Miss World Agbani Darego, Actresses Genevive Nnaji, Adesuwa Etomi, and Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde are worth mentioning.
Another aspect that enhances their beauty is their behavior, mainly how they interact with others, even though it’s said that Nigerian ladies are more materialistic and do not hesitate to show that side. Despite their physical differences, these are successful women, as seen by their occupations and business interests.
According to research, Nigeria’s gross domestic product is more than six times greater than Ghana’s, making up around 20% of the Sub-Saharan African economic region. But in terms of capital income, the Ghanaian economy seems to be stronger.
While the epidemic exposed flaws in African economic policy, leadership, and capacity to endure pressure, some countries quickly reacted even without the aid of bilateral and multilateral lenders.
Nonetheless, Ghana was strained more than Nigeria, so Ghana’s ability to enter the Eurobond market was restricted. Moreover, compared to Ghana, Nigeria has a lower debt-to-GDP ratio, with around 80% of the country’s total GDP mortgaged to domestic and international creditors.
Despite the rising global oil prices, Nigeria still has room for improvement. The nation is, nevertheless, plagued by poor oil investment, which leads to weaker-than-anticipated output volume.
Ghana only makes up about 3.6% of the Sub-Saharan African economic bloc’s GDP, whereas Nigeria accounts for 19.93% of it, according to a SAMTL research paper. Nigeria’s balance sheet increased by more than 5% in the second quarter of 2021 due to initiatives based on economic recovery. Ghana’s GDP grew by 3.90% during the same time frame.
Nigeria’s per capita income is declining, falling below South Africa and Ghana but ahead of Kenya despite population growth that continues to outpace economic growth. Nigeria’s population was more significant than South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya in 2020. Still, the nation hasn’t been able to produce enough jobs for its people to increase productivity, unlike Ghana, which had an unemployment rate of 4.5% as of the fourth quarter of 2020, and Kenya, which had a rate of 6.6% as of the first quarter of 2021.
There is always rivalry where there is fashion. Contrasting it with other fashion senses, this is the finest approach to demonstrating the value of a person’s sense of style. Although every nation has its sense of style, some distinctive characteristics can be compared or, even better, used to rank on a scale of 1 to 10.
Ghana’s fashion designs are well-known for being incredibly impressive worldwide. When portraying fashion in Ghana, famous designers like Sima Brew and Afriken give their best.
Because they have been so prevalent, these designs are well-known and respected globally. For example, on the much-anticipated Black Panther world premiere, the main character T’chall wore a dashiki, and African pattern clothing was also permitted.
With some of the most significant educational institutions on the continent, Ghana’s fashion institutes, such as the BlueCrest School of Fashion, create many highly regarded graduates who successfully support the fashion sector.
Things are the same for their Nigerian colleagues as well. It is necessary to acknowledge that Nigerians are fashion moguls in their distinctive style. Even on the global stage, it is easy to identify a Nigerian. Nigerian fashion has also significantly impacted the market, competing fiercely with its Ghanaian competitors. Although the raw materials (kitenges, Ankaras, etc.) are similar, it is well known that the final products are different due to the nature of Nigerian and Ghanaian fashion designers.
There is no denying the incredible work of these designers while looking at the most recent designs in the industry, and the Dashiki and Ankara creativity will continue to grow stronger in both sectors.
Nigerians Migrating To Ghana
Once upon a time, Nigeria witnessed the influx of Ghanaians, and it took the enactment of a law to expel some of them back to the gold coast; now, the reverse is the case as Nigerians are now the ones moving In great numbers to Ghana.
Migration from Nigeria to Ghana stretches back to the caravan era. Ghana’s mines, cocoa plantations, and railroad employment drew Nigerians there in the early 20th century. Up to their expulsion in 1969, they ruled the Ghanaian market as traders of various goods in the later 1960s. However, between 1992 and 2010, a period of nearly 20 years, Ghanaians’ demand for democratic administration grew significantly. As a result, Ghana has seen a large influx of immigrants, many of whom are from Nigeria and the West African region.
Therefore, It is not strange to see that as Nigeria’s democratic flexibility and Financial security decline, more and more Nigerians make their way out of the country to the nearest or most affordable abodes, one of which Ghana is a part.
The state of security in Nigeria has also been one of the significant reasons many have been fleeing the country, as well as the high rate of unemployment and the expensive standard of living there, as Ghana offers its citizenry better opportunities than its counterpart.