Objectively speaking, both Ghana and Nigeria are characterised by severe socioeconomic inequalities among their regions, ethnic groups and religions. Yet, since ultimately collective action depends on how social groups perceive the world in which they live and act, unravelling such perceptions must be a critical element in any investigation of group behaviour, including violent group mobilization. One of the preferred methods of obtaining data on these issues is through a social survey. This paper presents and analyzes survey data on how people see their own identities and their perceptions of the extent of domination of state institutions by particular ethnic or religious groups in Ghana and Nigeria. The data are drawn from perceptions surveys conducted in both countries which consisted principally of a set of structured questionnaires in which respondents answered closed-ended questions. The surveys show quite marked differences in comparative perceptions of identities and of perceptions of the state in both countries.