Yendi, the traditional seat of the Dagbon State (Namship), is gearing up for the enskinment of the Yaa Na-elect, Abukari Mahama, to the ‘Yani’ Skin as the Overlord of Dagbon tomorrow, January 25, 2019.
The last time such a spectacle was witnessed was in mid-1974 when the late Yaa Na Yakubu Andani II ascended the skin in Yendi.
The coronation, which will mark an epoch in the history of Dagbon, will be attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the Special Guest of Honour, while the President of the National House of Chiefs and Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State in the Volta Region, Togbe Afede XIV, will be the Chairman.
Also in attendance will be members of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs that crafted the road map to peace in Dagbon. They are the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who chairs the committee; the Paramount Chief of the Mamprugu Traditional Area, the Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahama Sheriga, and the Paramount Chief of the Gonja Traditional Area, the Yagbonwuura, Tuntumba Boresa II.
Already, there is an expectant atmosphere in Yendi, with people discussing the epoch-making event. Even as people go about their normal activities, security remains tight.
Preparations are underway at the temporary Gbewaa Palace where the enskinment process will begin on Friday.
The palace is currently being given a facelift. The activities of the investiture will later be moved to the Jubilee Park at the Yendi Senior High School.
According to the Chief Director of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, everything was on course and that the venues would be ready for the ceremonies tomorrow
Some residents who spoke with the Daily Graphic expressed the hope that the enskinment would be done successfully to pave the way for the development of the area.
“I am excited about the entire process because this is the first time I have witnessed the funeral and enskinment procedure of a Yaa Na,” 23-year-old Mumun Issah, a trader, said, adding: “I pray that after the investiture, the way will be cleared for the rapid development of Yendi in particular and Dagbon.”
For her part, Hajia Sanatu Ziblim, alias Wuriche, expressed surprise at the sudden haste in fixing malfunctioning streetlights in parts of the municipality when the people had been living in darkness for some time now.
“I know we will host a lot of visitors this week but must we always wait for a big event such as this to happen before we live up to our responsibilities?” she queried.
Today, the Yaa Na-elect is expected to leave Zohe, where he had undergone some royal grooming in the past few days, for the residence of Mba Dugu (custodian) en-route to the Gbewaa Palace where he will pass the night ahead of his enskinment tomorrow.
According to the Northern Regional Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr Mohammed Yussif Tanko, security had been beefed up in Yendi.
As part of the security measures, he said, road blocks would be mounted at vantage points to conduct searches on vehicles entering the town.
On the prevailing curfew in the municipality and its environs, the PRO explained that the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew would be in force, except for dignitaries and invited guests to the enskinment ceremony.
The curfew, which was initially from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m., was imposed on the area on Friday, January 18, 2019 by the Ministry of the Interior to avert any possible disturbances during and after the selection of the new Yaa Naa.
In its congratulatory message to the Yaa Na-elect last weekend, the Committee of Eminent Chiefs expressed its preparedness to assist the incoming Overlord to ensure sustainable harmony in Dagbon.
In a statement, the committee pledged its readiness to engage the Yaa Na in resolving all outstanding issues pertaining to the funerals of princes and elders of Dagbon and the enskinment of regents for Yaa Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV and Yaa Na Yakubu Andani II, including other regents.
“We appeal to all Dagombas, especially Abudus and Andanis, to accord due recognition and obeisance to the new Yaa Na as we chart a new course for lasting peace in Dagbon,” the statement concluded.
The Committee of Eminent Chiefs, on November 16, 2018, made a declaration to bring finality to the over a decade-old Dagbon conflict between the Abudu and the Andani Royal families when it presented a document on the road map to peace in the troubled kingdom to President Akufo -Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra.
The committee was set up by former President John Kufuor in 2002 to find a lasting solution to the protracted Dagbon chieftaincy dispute after the killing of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II in Yendi in March 2002.