By Francis Ewherido
Ihave been going to YouTube, specifically African YouTube channels, for a while now. I started with wildlife channels before moving to travel channels and others. Initially, I really enjoyed the experience because it opened my eyes to the developments taking place in the rest of Africa.
But since many people, especially young Africans without set goals and knowledge of mass media ethics, saw YouTube as an opportunity to earn a living, many immature and people with shallow knowledge have entered the YouTube space and put me off.
The one that really got me pissed off and made my anger to boil over is the one I stumbled on with the topic: “Can a Nigerian marry or date a Ghanaian?” What a dumb question? Before independence, Ghanaians and Nigerians were already getting married to one another.
One of the happiest couples I have met is a Ghanaian man and a Nigerian woman. Marriage is essentially about the people involved. Culture can be a factor, but the critical factor is the couple, especially if they understand marriage for what it is: companionship.
If two blind folded people were to have sex, for instance, without uttering a word, which will reveal their accent, can they tell from the feel of the vagina or the penis their nationality, race or ethnicity? It is pre-existing biases and beliefs that colour can poison people’s minds. Notwithstanding, love conquers all.
Love is mysterious, once two souls connect genuinely, ethnicity or nationality take the back seat. That is why, inter-ethnic, interracial and marriages across national borders endure.
Apart from the above topic, there is the obsession and continuous of comparison of Nigeria and Ghana. Both countries have had a long time healthy rivalry in football, a sport where 11 players are pitched against each other, and this makes comparison easy. Older Nigerians will never forget the heartbreak that Abedi Pele, the great Ghanaian and African player caused Nigerians as he contributed greatly to defeats of the Eagles by the Ghana Black Stars at Senegal ’92 Nations Cup. The Eagles had great players, but Abedi Pele was exceptional.
I see the comparison Nigeria jollof and Ghana jollof rice as fun, but the truth is, a great Nigerian cook will give you delicious jollof rice while a lousy Nigerian cook will give you jollof rice that’s tasteless. The same applies to Ghana. So, there is no rivalry there; it is just fun.
I was trained in journalism when the only mass media were print and electronic. They still remain the most reliable media to date. So I decided to go there and verify the so called intense rivalry between Nigeria and Ghana, as the YouTubers portray. In the Nigerian newspapers, there is scarcely any news on Ghana. I only saw one two-paragraph story on four Ghanaians resident in Nigeria, who were involved in some infractions.
Nigeria has enough internal issues to fill the newspapers of Nigeria. The last time news on Ghana featured prominently in Nigerian newspapers was when the Black Stars nicked Super Eagles to the 2022 World Cup ticket.
The expulsion of Nigerians from Ghana in 1969 and Ghanaians from Nigeria in 1982 has nothing to do with rivalry. As far as I am concerned, it is due to the inexperience and wrong sense of judgement by the leadership of both countries at that time. Do not forget that these leaders were very young then. I do acknowledge that the experience might have left a bitter taste, especially in the mouths of those who were affected. I
recall my friend telling me how his father who was very rich in Ghana came back to Nigeria to start life all over again. The same story reverberates with some people in Ghana.
Some Nigerians refer to Ghana as “ordinary Ghana” sometimes which Ghanaians find very upsetting. Ghanaians on the other hand never fail to remind Nigerians of how peaceful Ghana is and their more stable electricity. They also taunt Nigerians about instability, erratic power supply, frequent disruption in school calendar and fraudsters. In truth, many Nigerians have left Nigeria for Europe and other countries in Africa, including Ghana, for further education due to insecurity and frequent strikes.
That is a fact. But the truth is there is no black African country that enjoys uninterrupted electricity supply like we have in Europe and that should be every country’s target, not just stable power supply.
Some young Nigerians are also involved in criminal activities in Ghana. This is making many Ghanaians angry. And that is understandable, but they have laws to take care of that problem. Two main reasons are responsible for young Nigerians going to Ghana, apart from peace and security which some of them claim. One is herd mentality.
Youngster will disappear and reappear after a while. He has become very rich after coming back from Ghana. What did he do to make money? Nobody is interested. His peers just went to Ghana and “blow.” It is later you will hear rumours of rituals and internet fraud.
I do not want to go into entertainment because Ghanaians who are the gurus in that sector acknowledge Nigerians’ dominance. Nigeria is undisputed entertainment hub in Africa. These young Nigerians have gone beyond Africa to the global scene and are making waves.
So, which rivalry are these YouTubers hyping? I studied mass communication and decided to go to the traditional media and verify the rivalry. There is not much Ghanaian news in Nigeria’s newspapers and electronic media. I have never been to Ghana so I went online to see their newspapers. The stories on all the front pages of all the newspapers I saw were issues concerning Ghana.
The only Nigeria-related stories I saw, and not even on the front page, were on one Nigerian cross dresser who recently opened a multi-million naira house and three Nigerians arrested for alleged involvement in internet fraud. I also watched a few television programmes on Ghana television stations.
On entertainment, some downplay the giant strides Nigeria has made in entertainment, while others readily acknowledge them and advise Ghanaian entertainers to find out what Nigeria is doing right. Generally, they are not happy about the state of the Ghana entertainment industry. That is fair enough.
So where did all these YouTubers get this rivalry from? They are just trying to get more subscribers and drive traffic to their channels. Unfortunately, they are also irritating some readers/viewers. I want to watch the growth and developments in other African countries, not non-existent rivalry. We want every country to grow so that Africa can be like Europe. How does the non-development of other African countries help Nigeria?
These ill-trained YouTubers should study other successful YouTubers on how to be successful. They should come up with irresistible contents and not promote hate and non-existent rivalry. Nigerian YouTubers, based in Ghana, should leave Nigerians at home alone, and just enjoy the peace and stable electricity in Ghana, while we grapple with our challenges and look for solutions. What we need are solution providers, not people who devalue us.