I am a Ghanaian and arguably a Nigerian also, I lived in several parts of Nigeria for over two decades and I have lived here in Ghana for almost the same period – so I am writing from a combined experience of about 40 years. I know the difference between the two countries like I know the difference between black and white.
You see those Nigerian banks like Zenith Bank, GTBank, Access Bank etc, that have dominated our Ghanaian market here? They were the UT Banks and UniBanks of Nigeria many years ago. There were seasons where some of them were on their knees dying due to so many regulatory issues but there was a deliberate effort to clean them up, sanitise their structures and even further strengthen them – of course, the extremely damaged ones like Oceanic Bank fell away.
Today, they are so strong and compliant that no Nigerian Bank in Ghana was a victim of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) cleanup exercise. GTBank has expanded to Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Kenya and even Rwanda!
You see Dangote? Today he is a serious threat to GHACEM and taking our Ghanaian cement market share aggressively. President Olusegun Obasanjo picked up Dangote, then a medium sized business and they had a deliberate plan to build a business that will not only feed Nigeria with cement and staples but also feed Africa in order to attract FX. Today, Nigeria is the BIGGEST Economy in Africa.
There are over 100 private Jets in Nigeria owned by businessmen in all kinds discipline with over $6.5Billion spent. And guess what? Nobody cares, nobody is angry, it is just okay.
I know what I am saying, I have lived both countries. Most Ghanaians are envious and jealous of their counterparts’ growth and success, most of us, we are evil people and very uncomfortable seeing someone else rise. And you see this all over, not just in business but even in churches and amongst top pastors and clergymen!
Let us examine a few examples:
You see Nigerian comedians? The big comedians like Alibaba and AY created big platforms to unearth new comedy talents and gave them all the support to bring them into limelight. The top ones like Klint D Druk, Gordons, Basket Mouth, Bovi, I go Die etc, are the ones that raised and produced the newer ones like SeyiLaw, Akpororo, SimCard, KennyBlack, Destalker, Funny bone, Short Family, etc. And the respect is still there, you will never find a younger comedian disrespect or insult the bigger boys.
Nigerians will do everything to support their own comedians, if you are a foreign comedian in the UK, Nigerians in the UK will organise a comedy show and fly in their own people to the O2 Arena and pay them pounds sterling and watch them and laugh.
Come to Ghana, where is our comedy industry? Dead! Where is David Oscar? Kalybos? FunnyFace? They are unable to build and last, because, aside the absence of capacity and proper resources to have an effective management team for their brand, Ghanaians themselves here will rather laugh to Nigerians comedy jokes than a Ghanaian comedian’s jokes, then they will say he is not funny. But Nigerians will laugh even when their own comedian is not funny, they’ll say: “Make we encourage am sha, he dey try sha, make una clap for am, na small small, he try.”
Today it is DKB, OB and few others trying to remain relevant and hold the comedy industry together.
What about Music? Ghanaian musicians have more time for Beefs than hardwork, today it is Samini and Shatta, tomorrow Shatta and Stonebouy, next tomorrow Reggi and Shatta, another day Becca and Efya, then before you breath it is AMGMedikal and Strongman. Even amongst SlayQueens there is still no peace, today it is Moesha and Salma Mumin, tomorrow it is another set.
The Ghanaian just love to be at the chase of the other.
Ghanaian musicians never raise another musician, no mentoring, everyone wants to be known and reign forever. We have enjoyed musicians like Daddy Lumba, Amakye Dede, Kojo Antwi for decades, who are they raising to take over from their music genre? But in Nigeria, legends like Fela Kuti for example, left us traces of their greatness in younger ones like Femi and Seun Kuti!
Do you remember TV3 Mentor? You remember Isaac? Cee? Great Ampong? Dee? Where are they today in the music industry?
Kennis Music raised 2Baba (Former 2Face) and 2Baba has mentored so many I cant even start mentioning. I am sure you know Asa, the Nigerian female artiste who sang Mr Jailer, did you know she is mentored and produced by Cobhams Asuquo? Google Cobhams if you don’t know him – a powerfully talented, blind musician cum producer in Nigeria who himself is a name in the industry with so many awards under his belt.
Don Jazzy is raising Rima, he also brought to light Korede Bello with his favourite track “Godwin”. As big as Davido and Wizkid are, you will hardly see them have open public direct social media fights, the beef only happens amongst their fans. But in Ghana the artistes themselves fight each other publicly with so many social media wars, how on earth can you ever build a great industry behaving like that?
Even in church music, see how most of our songs are now Nigerian? Sinach is a global brand and household name, invited to lead worship for Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church, she was raised by Pastor Chris, which Ghanaian Christian international music star has been raised by any Ghanaian preacher? Where is our Nii Okai, Noble Nketia, Moses Ok and co?
You see Nollywood? You still remember household names like Pete Edoche, Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva and younger ones of the early 2000s like Jim Ike, Ramsey Noah, Omotola Jalade etc, up till this day, they are still very vibrant and relevant in the industry. Go online to their social media pages and see how Nigerians praise and adore them with inspiring comments on almost every post they make.
Come to Ghana, where is Ghallywood? Tell me – where is it today? Dead! Why? I leave you with the opportunity to think about the answer.
Which other industry or example do you want me to give you? Because I can go on and on and on.
There are only very few Ghanaians with great spirit and pure soul and I have met some – amazing individuals with genuine passion to see others succeed but those are the exceptions and not the norm, most have an innate preset envy and jealousy hidden in them, they are cool as long as you are average and ordinary but show up on CNN feature or Forbes tomorrow or hit big with some investment from a big multinational, you will see them becoming uncomfortable and starting to suddenly find everything wrong with you, if they call you once and you don’t pick the call, you have changed and now you are proud.
That is why Nigerians have more successful people in almost every aspect, be it entertainment or business, and they are not even afraid to flaunt it. A wealthy mentor of mine in Ghana once told me, “BigGodwin, in Ghana everyone hides his wealth ooo, because instinctively he knows his environment is hostile and understands that the ground where he threads is carefully interlaced with mines! If he doesn’t play underground, he can be targeted and most times, his instincts are correct.”
Let’s be a different Ghanaian, one that wants to see others do well. You are not failing because others are succeeding, if we are 20 in class and I score 90/100, it doesn’t mean the rest 19 students in the class must share the 10 left on my 90/100 score, no, all the 19 students can chose to even score higher marks than my 90, there is abundance for everyone and it is only when we think like this that we will change Ghana and export our greatness beyond Ghana and the World at large.
About the Author:
Godwin Martey (often called BigGodwin or BigG) is a Cyber Security Consultant, a Tech Entrepreneur who runs Websoft Solutions, a Ghanaian firm that builds Software and Web Solutions for Banks and Corporate Institutions in Ghana.