Abudu Royal Family's Statement On Ya Na
2008-05-29 23:02:26This article has been read 2172 times.
STATEMENT RELEASED TO THE PRESS AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN YENDI ON THE FUNERAL OF THE LATE YA-NA MAHAMADU ABUDULAI
We would like to thank the Media for answering our call to attend this Press Conference at such a short notice. We also take the opportunity to express our gratitude to the Media for the key role that they play in educating and informing the Ghanaian public on the Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis.
We are gathered here today to inform the good people of Dagbon and all peace loving Ghanaians that the Abudu Royal Family, upon consultation with traditional leaders and elders of the Abudu Gate, has come to the sad conclusion that the pertinent issue central to the realization of sustainable peace in the Dagbon traditional area has not been properly resolve by the Otumfuo Committee of Eminent Chiefs. We, therefore, wish to state that the Abudu Royal Family has categorically rejected the final recommendations made by the Eminent Chiefs on the funeral rites of Na Mahamadu Abudulai. We will state the legal and customary grounds upon which we reject the Committee’s final recommendation. We will also state the steps that the Abudu Royal Family intends to take to ensure that a proper funeral befitting the status of a Ya Na is accorded Na Mahamadu Abdulai.
The Committee of Eminent Chiefs was constituted by His Excellency, President J. A. Kufuor to oversee the traditional aspects of finding solutions to the Dagbon chieftaincy crisis. The Committee promulgated what became known as the “Roadmap to Peace” on 30th March 2006. Representatives from the two Royal Gates all signed on to the document as a legally binding instrument in the Dagbon peace process. The Government, acting on the “Roadmap to Peace”, implemented the burial of the late King, Naa Yakubu Andani. Government also executed the installation of the first male son of the late king as Regent of Dagbon. The Abudu Royal Family cooperated with Government and its security agencies throughout the two major events in Yendi.
The next phase of implementation of the “Roadmap to Peace” was the performance of the funeral of Naa Mahamadu Abudulai. The Andani Royal Family has obstructed the implementation of this phase by seeking to redefine the principles agreed by both Royal Gates in the “Roadmap to Peace”. Consequently, the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, upon further investigation, deliberation and negotiation with both Royal families, published what became known as the “Final Peace Agreement” on 18th November 2007. The directives coming from the Committee of Eminent chiefs to the Abudu Royal Family on Sunday, May 25 2008 is a new innovation that contradicts the very documents that they promulgated as blue-prints to finding lasting peace in Dagbon.
Legal Grounds for Rejecting the Committee’s Recommendations On the substantive issue of where the funeral of Naa Mahamadu Abudulai should be perform, the Committee of Eminent Chiefs on 30th March 2006 stated under clause ‘i’ of the “Roadmap to Peace” that: “there can only be one palace in Dagbon Kingdom. The temporary palace was constructed following the unfortunate incidence of 2002. In this connection, the old Gbewaa Palace should remain free of occupation of any activity until a date is set for the performance of the funeral rites of Ya-Na Mahamadu Abudulai.”
On 18th November 2007, the Eminent Kings observed under clause ‘B’ of the “Final Peace Agreement” that: “…the Supreme Court judgment of 1986 conferred the status of a former Ya Naa on Mahamadu Abudulai in recognition of the tradition that diskinment is unknown in Dagbon custom. Naa Yakubu Andani himself appended his signature to the ‘Reconciliation Agreement’ of 1987 which provided that Naa Mahamadu Abudulai should be accorded the status and entitlements of a Ya Naa at death…We therefore conclude that the funeral should take place at the old Gbewaa Palace…”
Furthermore, clause “C” of the “Final Peace Agreement” states inter alia that: “…The Bolin-Lana as Regent of Na Mahamadu Abudulai shall enter the old Gbewaa Palace as regent of his father…he shall perform all ceremonies necessary for the funeral of his father only.”
The aforementioned quotations from the Committee of Eminent Kings’ own working documents have established beyond reasonable doubt that the Committee intended, based on legal facts, to allow the Abudu Royal Family to perform the funeral of Naa Mahamadu Abudulai in the Gbewaa Palace. This intention was duly communicated to the Government. The Interior Minister, acting on the information that the Eminent Kings recommended the performance of the funeral of Na Mahamadu at the Gbewaa Palace, met and demanded an undertaken from some prominent members of the Abudu Gate to the effect that the Abudu Royal Family would vacate the Gbewaa Palace after the performance of the funeral. The Eminent Kings themselves had a timeline indicating the date that the Abudu Royal Family should enter the Gbewaa Palace, as well as the date that they should vacate the Palace to give way for the performance of the funeral rites of NaaYakubu Andani.
The Eminent Kings have demonstrated by the flip-flop on their position on such a crucial and sensitive issue in the Dagbon conflict that they have a credibility problem. The Abudu Royal Family no longer believes that the Eminent Kings have the moral clarity to be honest brokers in the conflict. The Committee was constituted by the President to oversee the traditional aspects of the conflict within the boundaries of existing legal instruments on the Yendi Skin affairs. The Committee exceeded its boundaries by seeking to improvise its own innovations in clear contradiction and violation of an existing Supreme Court ruling on the case. No amount of explanation or powers can sustained such a blatant violation of a ‘settled’ law; not even the powers of Eminent Kings or that of a President who constituted the Committee of Eminent Kings. We live in a constitutional liberal democracy, not under a Monarchy, where the ‘Rule of Law’ is fundamental to our very existence as a people.
The three Eminent Kings who are the custodians of our country’s rich heritage are expected to know better than to proposed an adulteration of one of the most sacrosanct practice of Dagbon culture. They have compromised the principles and integrity of their traditional offices for political expedience. The late Na Mahamadu Abudulai was the overlord of Dagbon for a considerable period of our history. The Dagbon Kingdom is of no less significance than other Kingdoms in Ghana. We, therefore, take serious exception to the deliberate and arrogant disrespect for the late king of Dagbon and the wanton disregard of Dagbon custom and tradition. The perverted and distorted mode of performing the funeral of no less a person than the late overlord of the Dagbon Kingdom as prescribed by the three Eminent Kings can only pass for a good Hollywood script, but not a serious blue print for preserving dagbon customs and tradition. The idea that a funeral of a Ya Naa or any Dagbon chief can be perform at several locations at the same time is an aberration that the three Eminent Kings seek to introduce into Dagbon custom. Such innovation in any culture is dangerous and should be rejected by all.
On the issue of whether it is customary to perform the funeral of Na Mahamadu in the Gbewaa Palace, the three Eminent Kings concluded in their Final Peace Agreement that the fact that he was buried in the Gbewaa Palace defeat the argument that his funeral should be perform where he died. According to the Eminent Kings, “it would have been a foregone conclusion if he was buried where he died.” It is, therefore, contradictory and highly strange for the same Eminent Kings to renege on their own expressed position on the issue. There is also a historical precedent in Dagbon history where the funeral of Na Zangina was performed in the Gbewaa Palace even though he died outside the palace. In the case of Na Zangina, his body was not even buried inside the Gbewaa Palace, yet Dagbon elders in their wisdom performed his funeral alongside that of Na Andan Sigli inside the Gbewaa Palace. The question of whether a Dagbon King should be buried in the Gbewaa Palace if he did not die in the Palace should not be a reason to alter our time tested customary practice. The Abudu Royal Family ignored this notion in the interest of peace when Na Yakubu was to be buried in the Gbewaa Palace. The very elders from the Andani Gate who are now arguing that the funeral of Na Mahamadu should be performed where he died were silent when the body of Na Yakubu was buried inside the Gbewaa Palace instead of the spot where he died during the war as prescribed under Dagbon custom.
The Way Forward:
We take this opportunity to call on all sympathisers of the Abudu Royal Family and all peace loving Dagombas to remain calm during this difficult period. Any resort to violence will only serve the interest of our detractors and enemies of Dagbon. We wish to reassure all friends and supporters of the Abudu Gate that the funeral of Naa Mahamadu Abudulai shall and will be perform in the Gbewaa Palace in accordance with Dagbon customs and tradition. We intend to take any and all necessary steps to ensure that the late King is accorded a funeral befitting his status. We are keeping all options open, and nothing will be taken off the table.
Thank you all for coming and May God continues to bless the Dagbon Kingdom.
Abudu Royal Family