Nigeria has constantly reaffirmed its support for the sub regions economic organization and
has expressed its determination to accelerate the efficient functions of the
community. Fundamentally the West African sup-region occupies the level of the
"Centrically Circle" of Nigeria's Foreign Policy. This centrically
circle has the West African sub - region as the first level and the world at
large as the third and final level.
Relations between Ghana and Nigeria are of long standing
rooted in their history as colonies of the same imperial power. In March 1957
when Ghana became Independent the two countries shared many institutions and
other interests in common.
Apart from this, they inherited from the United Kingdom a
common official language, and common legal, administrative and educational
systems. In addition both of them joined the common wealth on their
However, all this tended to make one assume at the time
they would continue to strengthen their links which are of vital importance for
unity not only the common wealth African countries, but also for the whole of
Africa. This is mainly because between them they constitute in size and
population a large part of Africa. In natural and mineral resources the two
countries put together are a giant in Africa.
In these circumstances, the case for close co-operation
between the two countries for the purpose of improving the living conditions of
their peoples and of promoting Pan African objectives can scarcely be over
stated. Consequently, on the attainment of independence by the Gold Coast on 6th
March 1957, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa who later became the Nigerian Prime
Minister expressed the hope that the traditional bonds and links between his
country (Nigeria) and the newly independent Ghana would continue to grow strangers.
During his visit, to Nigeria very early in 1959, late Dr.
Kwame Nkrumah assured the Nigerians that once their country was independent his
government would take prompt measures to re-establish her connections with
Nigeria through the various international institutions such as the West African
Airways etc. from which Ghana had withdrawn since March 1957 because of her new
status as a sovereign independent state.
In spite of all these declarations, very little
co-operation did really take place between the two countries in the sixties and
seventies. Instead of co-operation, the two countries actually began
progressively from the time of Ghana's Independence, and even a little earlier,
to move apart. By the end of 1970 both had virtually dismissed the hope of
co-operating with each other, that year which saw the signing of the
Ghana-Ivory Coast (now Cote d'Ivoire) friendship Treaty’s under which the
Russian government formally committed the country into a sort of alliance with
the Ivory Coast. It also witnessed the placing of a premium by Nigeria on her
relations with .her Francophone neighbours rather than with Ghana. Indeed, the
Central facts about the Ghanaian - Nigerian relationships during the early days
were those ranging from mutual apathy and suspicions, to violent antagonism and
Although there were brief intervals of a relaxed
relationships between Accra and Lagos, such as the immediate months following
the formation of the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) in May 1963 (now A. U),
the main feature of the relationship was one of discord. Needless to say that
one of the reasons for the lack of cordial relationship could be seen in the
extreme background of both leaders of the two countries at Independence. Ghana had a radical minded leader in
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, while Nigeria had a conservative leader; Sir Abubakar Tafawa
Balewa. These differences in background of both leaders greatly influenced
their foreign policy and accounted for the not too cordial relationship.
Furthermore, the struggle for leadership in Africa was
another great difficulty in Ghanaian - Nigerian harmony. Both countries based
their claims on a number of factors. The Ghanaians based their claims on the
fact that they were the first country in West Africa to have attained political
independence and as such they hoped that this would give them a unique
opportunity to play a leading role within the continent of Africa. Shortly
after independence, Kwame Nkrumah spoke of this "historic role" of
the Ghanaians "To our brethren who are still struggling to be free,
later in 1958, he declared in the National
"Whether we like it or not, history has assigned to us a great
responsibility and we must not fail all the millions on this continent, who
look up to us as a symbol or their hopes in Africa"
The Second myth associated with the Ghanaian's claim was
the fact that new or modern Ghana was the rebirth of the Old Ghana, Empire. Although
there has been no concrete historical evidence to substantiate the assertion of
the ancient Ghana.8
However, Nigeria's claim to the leadership position in Africa
has been attributed to the possession of abundant right natural resources.
Although, it may be pertinent to add that even today both countries struggle
and are still struggling for the position of leadership in the sub-region in
virtually all aspect of national life.
This struggle for leadership position was continued in the
ECOWAS when President John Kuffour became the chairman of the organization.
The year 1966 marked a turning point in Nigeria - Ghana
relations mainly because of the events that took place in both countries at
this time. These events were coup d’état carried out by the Armed Forces of
both countries on the 15th of January and 25th of
February, 1966 respectively. The coup plot ousted the two civilian governments
of both countries and equally intensified an improvement in the relations of
both countries which hitherto was not devoid of mutual distrust, resentment, suspicion, envy and antagonism. The factors responsible of both countries could
be located in the fact that most of the army officers.
In 1966 and 1965 all belonged to the Royal West African
Frontier Force, and they were all under the same West African Command
Headquarters in Accra Ghana. Above all some of them had been contemporaries in
British military training institutions. For instance, Major General Kotoka who
led the Coup in Accra had part of his training in Easton Hall, England which was
where General Aguyi Ironsi got trained, while General A.A. Afrifa was second in
command in the coup, General Yakubu Gowon was his contemporary at Sandhurst
Military School. Apart from being contemporaries in various British Military
institutions, these military officers had very little ideological differences
Suffice to say that they honey moon of good relationship
between Nigeria and Ghana was to further degenerate in 1983 when the
administration of President Shehu Shagari gave an expulsion order to the
illegal aliens drawn mainly from the neighbouring West African countries
including Ghana. The expulsion order was issued following public outcry over
the adverse effect which the presence of the illegal aliens in the country had
on the Nigerian populace.
Similarly, the General Muhammad Buhari's government for
the same apparent reasons issued a directive that was reminiscent of the Shehu
Shagari's administration expulsion order to illegal aliens.
Nevertheless, the wounds of expulsion and counter
expulsion of the past were healed when General Babangida extended an arm of
friendship to the Ghanaian leader Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings. Besides,
both countries sought improvement in their economies, various visits were
exchanged by representatives of both countries, this visit eventually created
way for the Ghanaian Head of State to pay a state visit to Nigeria in 1988.
During this visit to Nigeria the Ghanaian leader was given the privilege honour
of being the special guest of honour at the Nigerian Air force Day celebration
held in Makurdi, Benue State. During this visit to Nigeria, the Ghanaian Head of State
flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, and his Nigerian Counterpart, General Ibrahim
Babangida agreed that the relationship between the two countries is too
historic to be scarified on the altar of expediency. A bilateral agreement to
this effect was signed by the two leaders
and from this point onward it was obvious that the Nigeria-Ghana relations was
gradually improving upon the previous situations. Subsequent Nigerian military
administrations of General Sanni Abacha and General Abubakar also maintained
cordial relations with Ghana.
The Olusegun Obasanjo and Musa Yar'Adua democratic
governments maintained this relationship with Ghana. The visit of the Ghanaian
president John Kuffour in Nigeria in February 2001 was an expression of
appreciation to Nigeria for their support to his government.
Evidently, Nigeria and Ghana have been co-operating in many
areas such as bilateral trade agreement, cooperation in the energy sector, joint defense and a host
In the field of sports especially football, both countries
rule the continent and have made appreciable impacts at the international level
of riote are the exploits of such clubs as Ashanti Kotoko and Accra hearts of
oak both of Ghana and the dazzling performances of the Enyimba football Club of
Aba in Nigeria.
Both countries have dominated the Africa Cup Nations
tournaments and are greatly detested by other national teams. Both countries
became experimental grounds for the co-hosting arrangement as they co-hosted
the year 2000 edition of the African cup of Nations In January /February 2000.
At the 1996 Olympic games In Atlanta, Nigeria conquered the Brazilians and
Argentines to lift the football gold. To celebrate this feat, Nigeria declared
public holidays and Ghana did same to honour the Nigerian soccer Kings.
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this study therefore, is summarized as follows:
To reconstruct the historical development of Nigeria Ghana relations and discusses the
Strain in relations in the early days of their relationship. Also, It aims at
pointing out and discussing various issues political, economic social and
otherwise, emanating in the course of the bilateral relations between Nigeria
and Ghana. Finally, it aims at discussing the
problems and prospects of Nigeria - Ghana relations in the New World Order.
This research relied primarily on secondary sources, such
as books, magazines. Major articles, periodicals and documents were adequately
consulted and provided great deal of data and statistics used in this research
It is quite obvious that the available literature is
deficient in areas dealing, with contemporary development in the International
system, and its implications on Nigeria Ghana relations. These Inadequacies made this
investigation a worthwhile effort.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The growing importance of bilateral relations in the
International system as a means of fostering international co-operation in all
aspects Socio, economic, Political Scientific and Technological of human
endeavours in the world has become glaring and the need to interact and foster
mutual and all round bilateral relations between countries of the world has
This study apart from helping to understand the
development of Nigeria - Ghana relations, will also make it possible for the
general readers, students of International Relations, policy formulators and
statesmen to be familiar with issues relating
to national interests and foreign policy formulation, adjustment and
implementation strategy in the field of diplomacy.
This study will promote further enquiry into the Nigeria, Ghana national interests and foreign
policy. Formulation and implementation. It will also serve as a source of
reference to other researches on other aspect of Nigeria Ghana relations.
Finally, the study will not only provide awareness to the
general public on the implication of Africa as the Centre piece in the conduct of
Nigeria's relation with neighbouring countries in the sub-region, but will also
"enhance' the integration of the policies into the mainstream of Nigeria's
Foreign Policy in the New world order.
Scholars have done useful and solid work concerning the
subject. Among them are such works as Aluko Olajide's Ghana and Nigeria 1957-70: A study in inter
African Discord published in 1976,
Kirk Green's Crisis and Conflicts in
Nigeria Foreign Policy, which appeared in
1981, Olajide Aluko's The Foreign
Policy of African States published in 1977, Group
son Okechuku’s military in politics and
the third cotordzauon of Africa beyond destruction
and despairs published in 2009.
There are of course articles in journals which also dealt
with our subject. Among them are Aluko Olajide's "Ghana's Foreign Policy
under the national Liberation Council" African Quarterly vol 5, No 2,
January 1971, Odu Richard's "Questioning our stand on Ghana" In
Nigeria Tide 1982, Aluko Olajide's "Ghana, and the Nigerian civil war"
in the Journal of Economic and Social Studies vol 12,
1976, Odu Richards "Why Nigeria Bluffs Rawlings"
in Nigerian statesman 1982.
Admittedly, the scholars have done well to unravel much
relevant data on the subject and to establish some analytical framework for the
interpretation of Nigeria Ghana relations. It is in this regard that this present work has gained from the scholars in question. However, certain
limitations became apparent once it was realized that these existing works on
the topic are too sketchy and sometimes only make casual comments on vital
issues in it In addition, virtually all the
world do not contain a contemporary information on Nigeria - Ghana relations.
More importantly, the articles in the journals of the
Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), The Nigerian Forum deals
extensively on contemporary issues regarding Nigeria - Ghana relations.
According to Adekunle Ajala (2000), although relations
between Nigeria and Ghana have always been one of suspicion and mistrust in the
60s up till the 1980s, relations between the two countries has improved
significantly since the 1990s.
On the whole the subject is organized under four chapters. The chapter one deals with
the general introduction, alms and objectives of the study, methodology,
significance of the study and literature review. Chapter two is on the economic
relations between Nigeria and Ghana since 1999 up till 2010. Chapter three
deals with Nigeria - Ghana socio political relations within the period of
study. Lastly, Chapter four is on the summary of the work and conclusion.