Many people as at today are still wondering why the bag has the name ‘Ghana Must Go’ mostly those are born in the year 2000 and above.
It was the bags that made up Solomon “Acquaye” Asiedu’s mind. They were cheap, ordinary bags. They had no name and came in blue and red, in big and medium sizes, all checked. They were wanted in Lagos markets with an intensity never experienced before. Nigerian traders sold out of the bags as hundreds jostled to get as many as they could to pack their things into.
The bags had always been popular: they were big and spacious and sturdy enough for long-haul travel. But it was when people started calling them “Ghana must go” bags that the young man knew it was time to leave. The bags followed him home, as he crossed two countries to return to Ghana and, 36 years later, they still stare at him from stores on every corner — with the same cursed name. They represent a period of despair that many Ghanaians would rather forget.
In 1983 the government of Shehu Shagari ordered more than a million West African migrants, most of them Ghanaians, to leave Nigeria at short notice as the country faced an economic downturn.
The red, white and blue chequered plastic bag that the desperate departing Ghanaians used to carry their possessions became known as “Ghana Must Go”. But now they are more often seen as a symbol of sleaze in Nigeria, preferred by corrupt politicians to ferry huge amounts of cash.