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War Drums in Dagbon

2005-04-12 16:12:17
This article has been read 1011 times.

UNLESS THE Otumfuo’s Committee of Eminent Chiefs steps up its mediation efforts and strikes a good compromise between the two gates to the Ya-Na skin, a bloody clash between the Abudu and the Andani over the choice of a regent to succeed the late Ya-Na, is very inevitable.
The bitter truth on the ground here in Yendi, the capital of the Dagbon State, and for that matter, all over Dagbon, is that war drums are being beaten over the one who qualifies to succeed the late Ya-Na, Yakubu Andani II.

The Andani contend the late Ya-Na was allegedly murdered by the Abudu to pave the way for them to ascend the skin, and that it will be a travesty of justice to allow the Abudu to lay claim to the skin, as they allegedly prematurely ended the reign of the late Ya-Na, and that the late Ya-Na’s son must the allowed to succeed him, to “finish” his (father’s) reign.

On the other hand, the Abudu stress that it was unfortunate the late Ya-Na died in a “war” he started, and that since the skin is rotational, it is their turn to have the skin.

At the moment, the Abudu have groomed a regent who is the son of the late Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV, whose supposed deskinment by National Redemption Council (NRC) Decree 299, in 1974, paved the way for Ya-Na Yakubu Andani to become the new king had been a huge legal battle, because the deskinment was reported to be against the customs of Dagbon, to be made a king.

The Andani have also groomed and prepared a son of the late Ya-Na to take over from his father, and is being kept at a secret location, so now it is Bolin-Lana, a prospective regent from the Abudu family against Kampankuya-Na, a prospective regent from the Andani family, to fight it out for the skin.

Besides the clash over the regent, Daily Guide learnt that another thorny issue which could further prolong the burial of the late Ya-Na, as well as the search for his successor is that the Andani family is asking for the return of the skin’s regalia which supposedly got missing in the upheaval at the Gbewaa Palace, which resulted in the killing of the Ya-Na.

These include a hat, a gown for the king, a staff, the skins of a lion, tiger, cow and other animals, a royal stool, beads, umbrellas and talking drums.

But these, as gathered by Daily Guide could be conveniently replaced if a regent is found. The three eminent chiefs, made up of the Asantehene, Osei Tutu II, the Nayiri from the Mamprusi State, Yagbon-Wura from the Gonja State mediating in the dispute, have done everything humanly possible to come up with a roadmap to solve the problem.

The committee did this mediation in consultation with the overlord and caretaker of the Dagbon Paramountcy, Kuga-Na Abdulai Braimah, spelling out the arrangements for the burial of the immediate Ya-Na and funerals for the two immediate, Ya-Nas, Mahamadu Abdulai IV, and Yakubu Andani II.

A programme to that effect, drawn by the Kuga-Na and presented to the Otumfuo’s Committee notes the completion work on the new palace for the Ya-Na should be speeded, and at the same time, calling for re-enforcement of security in Yendi.

The programme also spelt out the customary rites to be performed by the Kuga-Na and other customary officials at the palace, before the burial of the late Ya-Na. The return of widows, children and dependants of the late Ya-Na, to the palace.

In relation to the Ya-Na’s burial which was aborted yesterday, there would be customary announcement of the death of Ya-Na, followed by the arrival of divisional chiefs in Yendi, then the removal of the body of the late Ya-Na from the hospital, to the palace.

Entombment of the late Ya-Na’s body by Dagbon customary officials, will take place, to be followed by the 3rd and 7th days rites for the king, known in Dagbani as “Bogili Logibu” and “Bog-Nyanga”, then the installation of Ya-Na Yakubu’s Gbon-lana, will follow a week after the rites.

But the Abudu have rejected the supposed installation of the Gbon-lana as the regent.

According to the Abudus if a regent was installed immediately after the burial of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, the regency cannot be revoked until after the performance of his father’s funeral, and that they (the Abudu) should be allowed to perform the funeral of the late Ya-Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV, ealier.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Guide at his palace at Kuga, just a stone’s throw, from Yendi, the Kuga-Na, Abdulai Braimah, told Daily Guide that Dagbon custom demanded that a regent be installed seven days after the burial of a late Ya-Na.

According to him, the Abudu were trying to put impediments in the way of the traditional authorities, because they claim they have a government in power which was sympathetic toward their cause.

Abdulai Braimah contended the Abudu are determined to enskin the son of the late Mahamadu Abdulai, as the regent for the Yendi skin, but that is unacceptable, since the late Abdulai was deskined in 1974.

He pointed out that he was doing the right thing, and that he would go ahead to install the son of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, as the regent for the skin.

“Because of the confusion the Abudu want to prosecute, I have decided to send my secretary, Abdulai Kwabena, and one of my elders, Nyolagula-Na Mahami Adam, back to Otumfuo to iron out the latest differences”, he told Daily Guide.

The latest meeting would be taking place today at the Manhyia Palace where representatives of Andani, Abudu and the Kuga-Na will be discussing the matters which resulted in the cancellation of the supposed burial of the late Ya-Na. However, the secretary to the Abudus, Alhassan Iddrisu in a reaction has said the Kuga-Na is not being fair to the Abudus because he is also an Andani.

According to him, the Kuga-Na is currently stressing that he was not notified about the death of Mahamadu Abdulai, even though when the late Yakubu Andani was alive, he approached him together with the leadership of the Abudus to allow the funeral of the Mahamadu Abdulai to be performed.

Alhassan Iddrisu told Daily Guide that they have a document and a ruling of the Supreme Court on December 17, 1986, which ruled that ‘having regard to the Dagomba Constitution that deskinment is unknown in Dagomba, all persons who occupied the Nam of Yendi shall without regard to how they ceased to be Ya-Na, be regarded as former Ya-Nas.

Consequently, their sons do qualify for appointment to the gate skins of Savelugu, Karaga and Mion’, he indicated, adding that, the Supreme Court also explained that the rotation system must be scrupulously observed, that is to emphasise that, after the incumbent Ya-Na Yakubu II, of the Andani family, the next occupant should be from the Abdulai family, in keeping with the rotation system.

According to the Abudu family secretary, the Supreme Court did not specify whether the kind of death of the Ya-Na, before the other gate takes the skin and therefore the attempt by the Kuga-Na to instal another Andani as the regent, was a potent recipe for chaos and confusion.

“In the present circumstances, we have two funerals in the waiting, and if we instal their regent, and we installed our regent before our funeral, there would be two regents for Dagbon, which would mean two parallel authorities and clash of authorities and that can unleash disastrous choas upon Dagbon State”, the secretary told Daily Guide.

Meanwhile, preparations are almost complete, and the finishing touches to the Palace are through. There is also a heavy security presence on the ground in Yendi to forestall any eventuality.

source: daily guide

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