Opinion: Ghana’s Parliament Cannot Gag the Media – Part Two by Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD

Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jnr., Ph.D.

The dire consequences of the populational imbalance situation presently raging in Ghana, vis-à-vis the inordinately large influx of Nigerian immigrants and migrants, as well as permanent residents, once happened in the Middle-Eastern Kingdom of Jordan, when a dominant Palestinian refugee population came dangerously close to taking over the reins of leadership from King Hussein. I believe it was the Jordanian Army that eventually tilted the balance, healthily, in favor of the natives or indigenes. Now, there are at least two corrective alternatives, the most obvious of which is the less palatable to both sides of the equation, that is, the host country and guest-immigrant population; and that radical and less palatable alternative, of course, is outright deportation. Both countries have done it to each other’s people and the aftertaste of deep-seated resentment, vengeance and regret did not serve any good purpose, at least not in terms of the long-term relations between Ghana and Nigeria.

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The second corrective alternative that is also the more pragmatic and urgently needs to be brought into play or operation by Ghanaian leaders to promptly arrest this dire situation of having indigenous Nigerians swamp and negatively reconfigure Ghana’s relatively more stable, peaceful and civilized culture (and I make absolutely no apologies, whatsoever, for making the foregoing observations), which is also perhaps the most humane and constructive alternative is to have the population of Nigerians resident in Ghana promptly and radically and significantly drawn down – to roughly two to three million – by having the Statistical Service Department of Ghana collaborate with both the Ghana Immigration Service and the country’s Electoral Commission to objectively ascertain the actual number of Nigerians resident in Ghana; and then to further ensure that every adult Nigerian resident in Ghana is gainfully employed in authorized or legitimate enterprises, in both the public and private sectors of Ghana’s economy.

The next most logical and rational step is to have all unemployed and/or underemployed Nigerians living in Ghana promptly vacate the country. You see, Dear Reader, what the present situation means is that practically speaking, whatever the current unemployment level in the country may be, at least a quarter to a third of the number or percentage of unemployed young people routinely counted among Ghana’s general indigenous population, or at least 30-percent, may very well be composed of Nigerian-descended Ghanaian residents. This is very unfair and even untenably immoral of a socioeconomic burden for any country in Ghana’s present situation to bear or carry.

As for this arrant nonsense about Nigerians being unreasonably scapegoated, or Ghanaians being xenophobic against Nigerians, it has absolutely no credible support vis-à-vis the proverbial reality on the ground. Believe it or not, gauging by the current size of ethnic Nigerians resident in Ghana, it is only a matter of another decade or a decade-and-half before Nigerian nationals completely overwhelm native-born Ghanaians and literally take over our country. And then, we may all find ourselves effectively thrown out of our own country and rendered eternal refugees in the other neighboring countries, including Nigeria itself, of course, and abroad.

We owe our children, grandchildren and posterity a bounden obligation to promptly correct this fast-encroaching political and spatial imbalance before it gets much too late to positively and constructively act to stem this looming apocalyptic tide of collective self-annihilation. Now, what the foregoing bizarre situation also means is that at least a third of the Ghana government’s investments in such critical sectors of the country’s economy as education, healthcare and poverty reduction may very well be getting into the hands of unintended and undeserving sections of the general population, unless there are already arrangements on the books, as it were, whereby the Nigerian government regularly sends in remittances to take care of those of their impoverished or indigent nationals resident in Ghana.

Prof. Augustine Nwagbara, the Nigerian national resident in Ghana who was recently arrested by operatives of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) for incitement of Nigerians resident in Ghana and the Nigerian media in a belligerent bid to tarnishing the image and reputation of the Democratic Republic of Ghana before the international community, appears to be absolutely right in his contention that the over 12,000 Nigerian nationals attending universities and colleges in Ghana regularly fork up a collective amount in school fees that is over and above the entire Federal Government of Nigeria’s annually allocated budget for all the publicly operated universities and colleges in West Africa’s most populous country and the biggest economy (See “Research and PhD Capacities in Sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria Report.”

At the same time, Prof. Nwagbara is egregiously inaccurate to assert that the general quality of Nigeria’s Federal Government-operated public tertiary academies is at least 20-percent better than the quality of its counterparts in Ghana. You see, Prof. Nwagbara’s assessment is scandalously false because the magnetic attraction of Nigerian youths to the relatively more qualitative Ghanaian tertiary academy is clearly borne out by the fact of Nigerian college and university students preferring to be schooled or educated in Ghana than in their own country. This, of course, does not in any way, shape or form imply that the curricular content and the general quality of Ghanaian public education are not without their own fair share of challenges. Indeed, Nigerians, by and large, as humans, may fundamentally not be any more criminal than their Ghanaian counterparts. The problem with this sort of facile and purely philosophical and/or theoretical argument is that the figures on the ground, as it were, do not vindicate the contention of Prof. Nwagbara.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com  Ghanaffairs

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