Azantilow goes home
2007-01-30 00:12:17This article has been read 1354 times.
The Paramount Chief of the Builsa Traditional Area, Naab (Dr) Ayieta Azantilow, was laid to rest last Saturday, at Sandema in the Upper East Region.
Dr. Ayieta Azantilow
Hundreds of mourners, including the two Members of Parliament (MPs) for the area, Roger Abolem-bisa, for Builsa South, and Agnes Chigabatia Asangalisa, for Builsa North, attended the burial service.
Others were Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, a former Minister of Defence; Mr John Tia, MP for Talensi, Abuga Pele, MP for Chiana-Paga, Donald Adabre, a former Upper East Regional Minister, and David Adendze Kanga, Deputy Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC) in charge of Administration. Nana Asabre Ababio II, Samankwa Mmamahene, represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Security was tight at the funeral grounds, as it was alleged that another family wanted to prevent the Azantilow family from going ahead with the burial. However, last Friday, the Azantilow family laid hands on the corpse, paving the way for the funeral.
Born in 1900, the late chief started life as a shepherd and later became a prominent farmer.
In 1931, he was enskinned as San-dem Naab and paramount chief of Builsa, a position he held until his death in November last year. During his reign, he worked tirelessly in the area of community mobilisation. In 1948, he extended his develop¬ment activities to other Builsa communities, including Chuchiliga, Siniensi and Fumbisi, where he mobilised the people through communal labour to put up primary schools.
The late Sandem Naab, from 1952 to 1976, spearheaded the struggle for the establishment of the Sandema Middle Boarding School and later the Secondary/Technical School.
Naab Azantilow was the brain behind the planting of trees for enhanced sustainable development in the Builsa communities.
The British colonial government relied on him for the supply of soldiers for the Second World War.
In honour of his immense contribution towards the colonial army, the Governor of the Gold Coast in 1942 called on him to give a word of encouragement to the Regiment that was stationed in Kumasi prior to their departure to the war front in Naab Azantilow represented the Gold Coast in 1953 at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
At independence, he was the leading signatory to the irrevocable agreement of Northern Region to join the rest of the Gold Coast for self-government.
He served as the Vice-President of the Northern Territorial Council with its headquarters at Tamale.
He also became the first Vice-President of the Upper Region House of Chiefs in 1960. From 1966-1972, he became the President of the Upper Region House of Chiefs, a period when no chieftaincy dispute was recorded in the region.
In recognition of his immense contribution to the development of his people, the University for Development Studies in February, 2005 honoured him with a Doctorate Degree.
From 1966 to 1972, the eminent chief became the President of the Upper Regional House of Chiefs, and it is also on record that within that period, no chieftaincy dispute was recorded in the region.
Naab Azantilow had been the recipient of several prestigious awards in recognition of his contribution to both national and international relations. In 1935, he was decorated with the King George V and Queen Mary's Medals. In 1953, Naab Azantilow again won the King George Medal in addition to that of Queen Elizabeth.
He was also decorated with a Grand Medal of Ghana in 1969 and also received a medal from the Mayor of Gelligan, Germany, in 1972.
The citation accompanying the honorary doctorate degree conferred on him by the LIDS described him as "an outstanding and visionary leader, believer in promoting development through education and demand-driven initiatives, peacemaker and avowed crusader for sustainable development of the environment".
Naab Azantilow had eight wives, 57 children and 238 grandchildren, as well as several great grandchildren.
There were tributes from the widow, children, as well as the two MPs from the area.
In a sermon, Rev Fr Jacob Moldana of the Wiage Parish of the Catholic Church said the greatest tribute the people of Builsa could pay to the late chief was to ensure that there was peace in the area, since the late chief was a man of peace. He also urged the people to continue with the development works initiated by the late chief.