This paper assesses the effects of inter-ethnic chieftaincy and land conflicts on the socio-political development of northern Ghana. The paper examines the theoretical antecedents of these conflicts and what could to be done to achieve lasting peace. Methodologically, the study makes use of content analysis of secondary data, by following the tenets of the realistic group conflict theory. Examples were drawn from the Konkomba, Gonja, Nanumba, Dagomba, Kusasi, Mo and the Sissala disputes of emancipation. It was revealed that major positive effects of the conflicts include improvement in the decision-making processes on community development issues, strengthening of inter-ethnic unity and helping to redeem the identity of a group. The destruction of life and property is the major demerit. The study concludes that the realistic group conflict theory aids a better understanding of how inter-ethnic chieftaincy and land conflicts result to modification of group actions and the achievement of mutual agreements. It was recommended that civic education on the causes and effects of the conflicts by authentic participation of potential disputants could provide a more sustainable way of preventing conflict.
Keywords: Realistic Group Conflict Theory, inter-ethnic conflict, land, chieftaincy, northern Ghana.