History was made yesterday when a mixture of the aesthetic culture and rich tradition of Dagbon, Gonjaland, Asante and Mamprugu was served at the forecourt of the seat of government, the Jubilee House, when the three eminent chiefs who helped to broker peace in Dagbon introduced the Yaa Naa to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
That was after the Yaa Naa, Abukari Mahama II, had been ushered onto the grounds, riding on a white horse, escorted by traditional outriders on 12 decorated horses.
The Yaa Naa was also accompanied by a large retinue of elders, amid drumming, singing and dancing.
The three eminent chiefs were at the Jubilee House to formally present the Yaa Naa to the President and show gratitude to him for the immense role he played in the restoration of peace and reconciliation in Dagbon and also seek his continued support to deepen the prevailing peace.
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Rich cultural display
Before the Yaa Naa’s entry, the Juabenhene and Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, had led a large entourage of paramount chiefs and elders from the Ashanti and the Ahafo regions, all draped in rich Kente clothes and adorned in gold ornament, to the grounds.
The Buipe Wura, Abdulai Jinapor, represented the Yagbonwura, Tutumba Boresa Suleman Jakpa, one of the eminent chiefs.
The Buipe Wura was the first to enter the forecourt of the Jubilee House in pomp and ceremony.
The third eminent chief, the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area, the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, who was personally present at the event, entered the forecourt adorned in his rich traditional outfit with a large following, including drummers and dancers who danced to traditional songs and beats.
As Dagbon traditions and cultural rites demanded, the two grandsons of the Yaa Naa — the Mion Lana, Abdulai Muhammadu, and the Yo-Na, Yakubu Andani — had to wait outside the durbar grounds for the Yaa Naa to enter, exchange pleasantries, perform some rites and receive appellation before they could enter.
It was a day for traditional town criers, drummers and dancers who performed excellently and beautifully to liven the friendly and comely ambience at the grand durbar.
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The three eminent chiefs — Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Nayiri Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga and Yagbonwura Tutumba Boresa Suleman Jakpa — completed their work of on Dagbon and submitted a road map for peace and reconciliation, which led to the eventual enskinment of a new Yaa Naa in Yendi on January 25, 2019, after 17 years of a protracted chieftaincy dispute.
A visibly elated President Akufo-Addo, in a brown smock over a brown pair of trousers, commended the “three wise men” for the statesmanship, patriotism and tenacity displayed in the face of difficult challenges, saying those values were worthy of emulation by all.
He expressed his determination to explore and add value to the iron ore in the Dagbon area, finish the second phase of the Tamale Airport project, complete the Tamale Interchange and the Tamale Teaching Hospital expansion, as well as upgrade the Yendi Hospital to a befitting status.
“It is evident that great days lie ahead for Dagbon under the stewardship of Yaa Naa Mahama. The fruits of these developments can only be appreciated by the people of Dagbon if the peace being enjoyed there is nurtured and maintained,” the President said.
He said if chieftaincy disputes were allowed to become a part of the fabric of Dagbon or any part the country, development could not take place in such an atmosphere of confusion and chaos.
The President, who had earlier been given the title ‘Naa Abudani I’ by the Yaa Naa, reaffirmed his commitment to peace in Dagbon, saying: “So long as I remain the President of the Republic, I will do everything in my power to assist you to administer Dagbon in an atmosphere of peace, serenity and tranquility.”
He said the Yaa Naa deserved the support of all well-meaning Dagombas and Ghanaians to rebuild the ancient Kingdom of Dagbon, stating that he would not spare any effort to help resolve any outstanding problems in Nanton.
Speaking on behalf of the Asantehene, Nana Otuo Siriboe traced the role played by former President John Agyekum Kufuor, the late Professor John Evans Mills, former President John Dramani Mahama, President Akufo-Addo, as well as the “three wise men” who resorted to patience and perseverance, with a clear focus on the goal at hand.
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He said after a decade of no solution, many people were in despair, with hope raised and dashed several times, with some unseen hands at play to distort the achievement of peace.
However, the three chiefs managed to get a road map but the committee allowed the troubled waters to settle.
Nana Otuo Siriboe said with the advent of President Akufo-Addo, the committee realised that he had made a promise during the electioneering that he would do everything to bring peace to Dagbon, and, true to his words, one of the first things he did was to appeal to the committee to restart the progress and offered them all the moral and political support they needed.
“It is only proper that the committee formally presents to you, the Head of State of the Republic, to thank you for your help in bringing peace to the people of Dagbon.”
In a speech read on his behalf by his spokesperson, Yaa Naa Mahama used the occasion to express appreciation to President Akufo-Addo, the members of the National House of Chiefs, the National Peace Council, the entire security agencies, the clergy for their prayers, United Nations agencies in the country and the diplomatic community for their support.
He also thanked former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills and Mahama for their support during their respective tenures.
Yaa Naa Mahama appealed to President Akufo-Addo to once again direct a similar effort that brought about peace in Dagbon to bring to an end “the unwarranted and lawless usurping of Nanton town”.
He said “the problem in Nanton is threatening the peace and unity that you have worked so hard to build for the people of Dagbon”.
Yaa Naa Mahama said out of the 36 vacant skins made available, he had selected and enskinned 25 members of the Abudu Family and 11 members of the Andani Family after the funerals of the deceased chiefs.
That, he explained, was meant to promote peace and unity and send a strong signal to the world about “our commitment to the peace that we have achieved for Dagbon”.