36 States is a weekly publication offering stories about culture, sports, music, business and politics of Nigeria. The blog aims to take its audience through a discovery of Nigeria through interviews, editorials and historical perspectives.

NOT JUST A BAG...

I decided to make a transition this week from the entertainment topics and address this interesting historically significant bag pictured above. Nigerians refer to the bags above as "Ghana Must Go". A discriminatory phrase that I never bothered to inquire or research more about. I found myself referring to this bag as such until it dawned on me that I had been expressing a phrase that alienated a specific group of people. Through my conversations, I found out more about the bag and why the name became part of everyday expressions in Nigeria.

I was born in Ghana but my parents were born in Nigeria. The relationship between Ghanians and Nigerians has always been competitive from football games to music and fashion. The rivalry was fun as long as it stayed in this arena. The problem between Ghana and Nigeria dates back to a government policy implemented to push out Nigerian population residing in Ghana at the time. Nigerians held the economic power with many selling items such as cocoa and different spices. They did very well financially. Nigerians were forced out of Ghana because of these policies and with the removal of Nigeria, it led to a collapse of the Ghanian economy. Many Ghanians would later migrate to Nigeria - in fact throughout secondary school all my teachers were Ghanaians. When Nigeria started struggling economically the Nigerian government began its own propaganda campaign to push out the Ghanaians. The bags Ghanaians used to move their items were the Bacco bags, which we later started calling “Ghana must go”. I don’t think most people even know the name of the manufacturer and I don’t think Nigerians will ever stop using the phrase.

As remembered by a Nigerian living in Toronto, Canada.

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