My fellow Dagombas, please kindly lend me your ears. My name is Natogmah Issahaku, a Dagomba, and I would like to share with you a proposal which, if we consider, could lead us to a plan that would in turn, bring about a lasting peace and unity to Dagbon. I am presenting this proposal, a blue print, to all Dagombas for consideration because of my concern and love for Dagbon and my yearning for peace and unity in this Great Kingdom of ours. As a Dagomba, I am related to both of the feuding Gates on equal terms, because 'in the long-run,' we are all from the same ancestors and are one large family(tribe).
As it happens, we(Dagombas), whether living right in Dagbon or in the diaspora, have experienced deep pain, humiliation, and sarcasm in the past few years following the gruesome, maniacal, savage acts that took place in Yendi on Wednesday, 27 March, 2002 and culminated in the infamous decapitation of the Ya Naa(Naa), Yakubu Andani II. It is the solemn duty of all Dagombas, from the Abudu Gate, the Andani Gate, and the hoi polloi of Dagbon to prevent a replicate of such a regicide in the future. The events of that evil day marked the climax of several ugly happenings which had marred, and still mar, the Dagbon Traditional Area(DTA) for a good part of the last half century.
Fellow Dagombas, please kindly spare me the effort to belabour the background of the Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis(DCC), which in fact, has become a virus, thus the Dagbon Virus(DV) infecting generation after generation of Dagombas. Nevertheless, for the sake of the young generation of Dagombas, a brief background follows: the DCC is a feud between the Andani Gate and the Abudu Gate, both always claiming in the past half century to be the rightful Gate to en-skin a Ya Naa, therefore creating constant confusion among Dagombas, since Dagbon cannot have two Ya Naas('Lions') at the same time. The Yani skin is likened to the strength and power of a Lion, and its therefore the symbol of Yani. Sadly, these two acrimonious families share the same great great great great grandfather, Naa Yakubu I, who ruled the Great Dagomba Kingdom from circa 1824 to 1849, which had up until then, a somewhat uni-linear succession to the Ya Naa Skin(See Appendix 3).
Needless to say, the current DCC as we all know it today, now a household name in Ghana, all started in the years following Ghana's independence when Dagbon traditional(chieftaincy) issues were thrown to national politicians to resolve rather than seeking Dagbon in-house resolution to their differences. Since then, these two rival Gates have engaged in a zero-sum game, mutually-exclusive victory normally given to the feuding Gate that aligned himself with the ruling government. (Note: The Dagbon Kingdom is a society with a primogenital tradition; hence it can be described with musculine pronouns) Realistically, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for political institutions(government) to provide a panacea for this crisis owing to the fact that they are unavoidably partial in their judgement because of political polarization along Gate lines on the one hand, and the complexity of this traditional problem, on the other. Moreso, the DCC is an internecine problem that can be resolved only by us(Dagombas). We have to resolve the crisis ourselves once and for all by taking the initiative towards reconciliation, peace, and unity, with government playing a supplementary role as facilitator by lubricating the wheels of the peace train: creating enabling environment for the process, and providing adequate security, legal, moral, and logistical support for the peace process to achieve its goal. Crying out to government for a resolution in this conflict is analogous to one asking a third party to stop one's teeth from biting one's tongue.
My dear brothers and sisters, I would like to share a little story with you, if I may: On one sunny afternoon in 1970, when I was just an eight-year-old school lad, I accompanied my dad and five elder brothers to one of our farms, and during our lunch break we roasted yams right on the farm and as we were sitting, eating the hot, roasted yams in the shade cast by the shadow of one of the giant dawadawa trees rooted in the middle of the farm, my father looked at me for a while and then smiled, and at the end of the smile he hailed at me, praising my ancestors, and finally, saying “Krachi” (meaning educated fellow in Akan). I smiled back at him and then he asked, “Son, do you know why I enrolled you in school?” I answered in the affirmative, and said, “Because you want me to be educated, get a good job in future to take care of you and mother.” At that answer my father had a long proud laugh and at the end of it he said, “Son, you are a clever boy, I like your answer very much. You are right, but not wholly,” he continued, in his soft voice, almost whispering into my little, but attentive ears. “Beside taking care of mother and me, the additional purpose of enrolling you in school is for you to be educated and through the education your level of understanding will be elavated so that you can 'open our eyes,' help develop Dagbon, prevent 'nasara'(in Dagbani, 'nasara' broadly means Government/Colonialists/Politicians/The Establishment) from cheating, dividing, disuniting, setting Dagomba against Dagomba, and using us to achieve their political goals. We were very united, loved each other as one tribe in spite of occasional disagreements, but today, that is no more”. I had no doubt back then, that my oldman's expectations and aspirations of the good things that educated Dagombas would do for Dagbon, was merely a reflection of the expectations and aspirations of all parents who had enrolled their wards in schools across Dagbon at that time. “Why do you allow 'nasara' to cheat, divide, disunite, set you against your own?” I asked. At that point, I was really intrigued by all what my oldman was telling us, it was the current event of that time. With a big sigh, “hmm”, he went on, “Son, we(Dagombas) are being treated in such a divisive manner mainly because we are not educated, a result of which is a lack of understanding among Dagombas to determine when and how 'nasara'(Government/Colonialists/Politicians/The Establishment) is trying to cheat, divide, disunite, set us against each other. Further, the lack of understanding limits our ability to empathize with each other and to resolve our differences by ourselves without selling ourselves out to others. The past ten or so years have been rough for Dagbon and we had sold ourselves to outsiders before in the past, so this is not a new phenomenon.” He carried on, “Dagombas of my generation are not educated, not a single one I have either seen or heard, so you can imagine how vulnerable, weak, helpless we are in the hands of 'nasara' (Government/Colonialists/Politicians/The Establishment).” Then he said, “It is a sad, painful state. It is all new to us, because up until this chieftaincy crisis began, we were a very proud, brave, strong, united, loving, sharing, good-willed people, and no one could imagine that people from other tribes would dare divide us”. At this point, my father didn't want to stop unleashing his frustration, so he kept on, in a quivering voice: “We, Dagombas, are now victims of illiteracy(lack of education). From now on, we have to make education our best friend, and if every father enrolls at least one of his children in school just like I have done, in twenty years' time, Dagbon will be an educated, understanding, developed Kingdom and 'nasara'(Government/Colonialists/Politicians/The Establishment) would not be able to cheat, divide, disunite, set Dagomba against Dagomba anymore.” Looking at my elder brothers who were not enrolled, and wouldn't allow themselves to be enrolled in school a few years earlier under the fee-free compulsory education programme, he said, “I have done my part to ensure an educated Dagbon, for, your littlemost brother(that was me) has been enrolled and he will 'open your eyes,' in the future. I need the rest of you to help me out with farming.” Turning once again to me, he lamented, “Son, I hope and pray that at the time you grow and mature into an adult this mess we have today in Dagbon would have been resolved and become history. It is a very terrible, strange phenomenon in our history and it won't be proper for you, the young generation, to inherit this ordeal, so help us God.” Finally, my father warned my elder brothers and me in a very subdued tone, saying, “You see, I am a folk singer/entertainer, and as such, do not take sides, and neither should any of you, in this chieftaincy conflict because if the Ya Naa from the Abudu Gate invites me to his palace to entertain and hail at him I would do so with great pleasure and honour, and similarly, if the Ya Naa from the Andani Gate invites me to his palace to entertain and hail at him I would do so with an equal amount of pleasure and honour. I do not make enemies; rather I make friends, and all Dagombas are my friends, that is the way it should be. That is the way we have known Dagbon to be until this problem showed up. The hailing, praises, and the songs I sing are about the bravery of our forefathers, the strength of Dagbon as a great Kingdom, the rich history, proud herittage, the invincible and daring Kings and leaders we had, and no tribe could conquer us especially when we were united, not even the white-man and this reminds me of the Adiboo Dal-la when we vanquished the invading white-man, and the fact is that every Dagomba can trace his/her family roots back to the same ancestors with the roots going through Naa Zangina deep down to even Naa Gbewaa, from whom we share blood relations with our 'elder brothers,' the Mamprusis and our 'younger brothers,' the Nanumbas, the two tribes we(Dagombas) should never, under any circumstance, in our existence as a Kingdom, pick a fight with, not to talk of us(Dagombas) spilling the blood of our own, because we cannot resolve our differences by ourselves.” Emphasizing on the importance of the family bond Dagombas have with Mamprusis and Nanumbas he revealed, “These three brothers(tribes) always protected, defended, supported each other against their enemies during those wild west days of survival of the fittest. We always took care of each other.” He went further, “God forbid, but if things continue the way they are today, unresolved, I am afraid that in not a distant future Dagbon will crack, disintegrate, and collapse, losing his being and identity as a Kingdom, and we will become weak, vulnerable, and other tribes might take advantage of our problems by attacking us in a campagn to capture Dagbon. When that happens there will be nothing to praise, hail about Dagbon and his proud history, his brave Kings and Chiefs who fought like 'lions' to create this strong Kingdom and fought even harder to protect and preserve him for current generations.” On that somber and worrying note, with his eyes visibly soaked in what I thought were tears he was desperately trying hard to hold up from pouring down his face, my oldman said, “Sons, lets go back to work; the break is over,” still holding his unconsumed piece of hot, roasted yam which had turned cold and hard. He joked by saying, “Oh, I forgot I had yam still in my hand. I guess I was so immersed in telling you about our problems and fate that my appetite diminished. Now you know what the worry about Dagbon's future can do to one; it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and rapes you of appetite. I can't eat it anymore; it is too cold and hard for your oldman(about 60 years old then). Do you want it, son?” My oldman, a folk(baamaaya) singer/entertainer(known as baanga in Dagbani), literally speaking, was a human encyclopaedia of Dagbon culture and history. He was naturally talented and blessed with an elephant's memory and could tell the historic background of any typical Dagomba man from any corner of Dagbon by mere mention of one's name, village/town's name, clan's name, or extented family name. He recited in a reverse-chronology the names of about ten Ya Naas, starting with Naa Mahamadu, Naa Andani, Naa Abdulaibla,...and so on. In fact, I couldn't cope with all the names as he did so quite eloquently, but I remember he went on, and on, and on, and did hail at each one of them as he recited their names.
Since that sunny afternoon in 1970, when I was only 8 years old, till today, after all those long years, now approaching my mid (40s)forties, I still hear, quite vividly, heavy echoes of the words of wisdom my oldman whispered into my little, but attentive ears. Fortunately, or unfortunately, longevity was not on his side; hence he is no longer with us today to see the kind of Dagbon he so much dreaded to experience. So sometimes I just wonder what he would say, if he were alive today, about his description, back in 1970, of the purpose, importance, expectations of an educated Dagbon Kingdom.
Analysis of the impact, inter alia, of the DCC on Dagbon and beyond, since 1970, follows:
1.Thirty-five years on, it is regrettable to say that Dagombas are still suffering from the same DCC because we are still refusing to behave, think, and act like educated folks, according to my late father's, or layman's understanding of education and the purpose it was envisaged to serve in Dagbon in those days. In 1970, a respected source puts the breakdown of educated Dagombas at various levels as follows: Dagbon had produced about thirty-five(35) university graduates, just as many teacher training graduates, around four hundred(400) secondary school leavers, and approximately two thousand(2000) middle school leavers. These estimates include those right in Dagbon and in the diaspora. (I have to admit that these particular figures are not official statistical estimates; rather they are estimates given to me by educated elders who had already matured back in 1970). In sharp contrast, today, in 2005, the number of Dagbon indigenes with university degrees or equivalent and post-secondary qualifications are probably over ten thousand(10,000), about fifty thousand secondary school leavers. Again, these numbers include Dagombas living right in Dagbon and in the diaspora. (I have to admit that these particular figures are not official statistical estimates; rather they are estimates based on an educated guess). One might ask, so what is the point behind this analysis? The point I am attempting to unveil here is the fact that, today, despite the almost exponential growth in the number of “Krachis”(educated fellows) of Dagbon origin, compared to the educational indicators of 1970, our level of functional understanding of Dagbon issues and how they fit into the purpose of education, according to the layman's definition by 1970s standards, has sorrowfully remained virtually unchanged, if not diminished. When I go to bed at night, I ask myself questions such as: why are we(Dagombas) still unable to resolve the chronic chieftaincy crisis we have been living with since time immemorial in spite of all our educational achievements? Is education a friend or a foe to the Dagomba Kingdom? Are we a bunch of educated fools or are we a generation of uncivilized intellectuals? Several decades of education seem to have no progressive impact on our faculty to depart from primitive ways in favour of modernism. We, the educated Dagombas, should no longer blame the continuous disunity of Dagbon on the uneducated Dagombas, because today, we have enough educated fellows to influence the illiterate folks to navigate Dagbon toward perfect peace and unity. The blame has shifted from them(the illiterate Dagombas) to us(the literate Dagombas) and so has the burden of proof. Back then, in 1970 and earlier, the vastly illiterate Dagbon elders spoke, and the infinitesimal number of literate Dagombas listened and carried out their wishes, but today, in 2005, we, the large number of educated Dagombas speak, and the uneducated Dagombas listen and carry out our wishes. You may remember in the preceeding story above, my oldman stressed that the prime enemy of Dagbon in those days was the lack of many educated Dagombas, and because of that 'nasara'(Government/Colonialists/Politicians/The Establishment) took advantage of our uneducated status to divide, disunite, cheat, and set Dagomba and Dagomba on collision course. Put in another way, why the hell is education serving a dysfunctional role in Dagbon, always setting us in a crabwise direction instead of promoting progress, peace, and unity? After all, aren't we all brothers and sisters from the same Naa Sitobu-Naa Nyagse-Naa Zangina ancestry? Basically, education is supposed to develop our character and mental powers, through the moral, social, and intellectual teachings we receive in order to enable us make positive and developed change in the societies we live in. Thus far, we(Dagombas) are not doing so with the education we receive.
2.Thirty-five years on, a lasting peace and total unity is still an illusive dream in Dagbon, in spite of our academic advancement. Peace and unity is still a far away dream for Dagombas because we are still grappling with the question of who should be the King of “All Dagombas” and not just a faction of the Kingdom.
3.Thirty-five years on, non-cooperation by the feuding factions has stifled and held back needed development initiatives for Dagbon, thus encouraging neglect of the region by national governments vis-a-vis socio-economic policies. Without peace, security, and cooperation there can not be any meaningful socio-economic development in Dagbon. The Agricultural sector in Dagbon, the lifeline of the DTA, has seen nothing but continuous stagnation and plummeting productivity to the bone, in respect that productive agricultural policies which were put in place by previous governments were dismantled in compliance with the conditions set out by the Bretton Woods institutions; The World Bank/ International Monetary Fund for loans granted to Ghana under the Structural Adjustment Programmes(SAP)/Economic Recovery Programmes(ERP) which were implemented in the 1980s/90s by the Rawlings regime without any alternative policies to mitigate against the impact of the policy vacuum created by the dismantlement. Worse still, with less than 5 per cent of all new national investments in the industrial/manufacturing sector reaching the northern half of Ghana since the implementation of the SAP/ERP in the 1980s/90s with the attendant inflow of funds and foreign direct investments from abroad, Dagbon has been one of the worst casualties of the fallout emanating from the deliberate, colossal neglect by nineteen years of P(NDC) and so far, four years of NPP governments. In the same period, it has to be mentioned though, that the national power grid was brought to Dagbon and a few roads constructed, both to the credit of the P(NDC) regime, and similarly the construction of the Tamale-Yendi road, which was started and constructed up to half-way, from Tamale to Jimli, by the NDC regime, and completed last year, Jimli to Yendi, by the NPP government, and credit is due to both governments for that piece of good work. My view is that, all those projects on roads, power, and the like are fine; nevertheless, the lifeline of Dagbon, the agriculture sector, should and must never be neglected and/or compromised by any government, because if I am faced with the choice between food and roads, I will choose food anytime and all the time. For that matter, all governments, since the mid 1970s, are guilty as charged, for accelerating deterioration in the agricultural sector in Dagbon. Evidently therefore, the zero-cooperation among Dagombas themselves owing solely to the Dagbon Virus, coupled with over three decades of substantial neglect by national governments have led to mass migration of Dagbon youths, mostly girls, from the Dagbon traditional area to the major cities in the south to render support services in the logistics sector, called 'kaayayo,' and it has to be said that these hardworking girls are often victims of scorn by the very people they service and are sometimes seen as pests by many. We probably have to ask some Sociologists to study and research into the long-term impact of this mass Dagbon-South migration of Dagomba girls on the demogaphic trends of the tribe and the host cities as they remain victims of sexual abuse and misuse. The fact is that, prior to the dismantlement of the productive agricultural policies, most of the youths in Dagbon were employed in the agricultural sector: crop cultivation, harvesting, after-harvest food processing, and foodstuff trading activities, and none of them wished, back then, to leave their comfortable homes in Dagbon for the hostile streets of Accra and the like.
4.Thirty-five years on, the ugly impact of the DCC still transcends the boundaries of Dagbon. Other traditional entities sharing the Northern Region with us are still suffering because of our unwillingness to resolve the DCC. The Mamprusi, Gonja, Nanumba Kingdoms, which are stakeholders in the economic policy planning of the Northern Region at the national level are held to ransom by the DV, hence encumbering progress in their socio-economic development. Dagbon is the sickman of Ghana and whenever he sneezes his virus(DV) out, his innocent and peaceful neighbours catch the cold. I, in my right as a Dagomba, take this opportunity to register, on behalf of All Dagombas and on my own behalf, our very sincere apology to our neighbours in the Northern Region for hampering their socio-economic progress as a result of our tribal troubles, the DCC/DV. On behalf of my fellow Dagombas I say sorry to all of you and share with you the hope and aspiration for a peaceful and progressive Northern Region for you and us.
5.Thirty-five years on, Dagbon has seen a dilution of his tradition as homage, allegiance to the Ya Naa is paid only by his sympathizers, not by all Dagombas. 6.Thirty-five years on, Dagbon is a less strong and even more vulnerable Kingdom in the face of continued disunity and in-fighting, and in recent years, has become the laughing stock in Ghana. History is a good teacher; but we(Dagombas) seem not to be good learners/pupils. As our history tells us, no tribe, kingdom, empire, or even the white people(colonialists) dared attack the Dagomba Kingdom when we were totally united. In contrast, all attacks on the Dagomba Kingdom by outside forces occured at the depth of our disunity and in-fighting. For instance, during the last three centuries the Dagomba Kingdom was attacked thrice by outside forces during periods we were conspicuously divided because of the usual Yendi chieftaincy crisis: 1. During the reign of Naa Gariba(circa 1700 to 1720) the Dagomba Kingdom was once again deeply divided owing to the usual fight for the Yani(Ya Naa) skin. A disgruntled Dagomba chief who was unsuccessful with his bid to become Ya Naa invited the Ashantis to take advantage of the divided state of the Kingdom by attacking Naa Gariba and Yendi. Honouring the invitation, the Ashantis, under Ashantehene Osei Tutu, attacked Yendi and captured Naa Gariba. As his captors were taking him to Kumasi, some Yanabihi(Royal princes of the Yani skin) led by Nabia(Prince) Nasalan Ziblim, met with the Ashantis at Yeji and successfully negotiated for his release. In return, the Ya Naa, Dagombas for that matter, were to send slaves and cattle to the Ashantehene every year. The annual payment occured until the last quarter of the nineteenth century when the British took control of Southern Gold Coast(Ghana). 2. Again, during the brief reign of Naa Darimani(1899) following the death of Naa Andani II, the Dagomba Kingdom was once again in disarray due to the usual Yendi chieftaincy crisis which was centred around the hotly disputed enskinment of Naa Darimani who stayed on the throne for only seven weeks and abdicated. In that year, 1899, just weeks after the enskinment of Naa Darimani and at the heels of the Yendi chieftaincy disputes, another disgruntled Dagomba chief went to German Togoland and invited the Germans to capitalize on the division of Dagbon and attack Naa Darimani and Yendi(Dagombas for that matter). The Germans honoured the invitation and to revenge for their defeat at the hands of Dagombas in 1896 in the battle of Adiboo under the reign of Naa Andani II(circa 1876 to 1899). The Germans launched a surprise attack on Yendi in 1899 and took our traditional capital, leading to the partition of the Dagomba Kingdom into German Dagbon and British Dagbon(commonly referred to as Eastern Dagomba and Western Dagomba respectively). Naa Alasani(1899 to 1917) ruled the partitioned Dagomba Kingdom until the fall of German Dagbon to the British in 1914, just as World War I was raging across the world. 3. As recent as in 1994, during the long period of continued division of Dagombas as a result of the usual Yendi chieftaincy crisis: enskinment and deskinment of Naa Mahama IV(1969 to 1974) in 1969 and 1974 respectively, and the subsequent enskinment of Naa Yakubu Andani II(1974 to 2002) in 1974, the Konkombas saw the weakness of Dagombas and ventured an attack on us in what was called the 'guinea fowl' war, the most prominent of all the clashes between the Konkombas and us. No one ever attempted attacking us during our periods of solid unity and strength. The sooner we learn a lesson out of this pattern the better for us as a Kingdom.
7.Thirty-five years on, to a large extent, Dagbon's culture has lost some of its value as the major, famous cultural festivals such as the annual Bugum(fire festival) and the Damba(dance festival) are observed on different days by supporters of the rival Yani Gates.
8.Thirty-five years on, age-old inter-Abudu/Andani Gate marriages are still being severed and family structures shattered. Even today, just as decades ago, some young Dagombas from the opposing Gates who fall in love and want to marry are barred from doing so by their parents/elders and are normally issued with threats of curses and parental disclaim/disownership. These young men and women were not even conceived by their mothers when this DCC started about fifty years ago, but today, they are victims of the virus, the DV. Which of the rival Gates does love and marriage belong to? Love has no colour, religion, tribe, race, creed, and nationality, because love is just love. It knows no boundaries. The older generations should allow the younger ones to foster unity among themselves in a way the older ones failed to, and should stop trying so hard to pass the virus on to the younger ones. What a shame that we still have this phenomenon going on today in Dagbon!
9.Thirty-five years on, deep, relishable friendships among Dagombas are still being destroyed by the virus, giving way to mistrust, ill will, and a culture of taciturnity.
10.Thirty-five years on, Dagbon is still the political football of Ghanaian politics, normally used by politicians to advance their selfish political ambitions and in the process ferment disunity, bitter hatred among our fold. The question I pose to fellow Dagombas is: should we continue to allow non-Dagombas to befool us? I think we can do far better than that!
11.Thirty-five years on, our national politics is still being blemished by the DCC as Dagombas do not “freely” elect national leaders they think will best develop Dagbon socio-economically. Rather they choose leaders they think will either award them victory in the DCC or will sit on the problem and not find an eternal resolution to the crisis. Similarly, highly competent Dagbon intellectuals with burning passion to contribute toward the development of Dagbon, and Ghana for that matter, are sometimes bypassed in favour of less competent opponents at the parliamentary political level because of their alignment with the rival Gate, thus denying the nation some of the best talents in our democratic institutions. Basically, as it stands today, it is apparent that Politics is Dagbon and Dagbon is Politics. Over the years, politics has turned out to be the lifeblood of some Dagombas actively involved in the DCC, because their economic, and in some cases, their very lives and continued existence hinge on politics as those in the opposition are being threatened by their rivals in power. Furthermore, national attention and resources are being diverted from critical national issues and projects to deal with our tribal problems.
12. Thirty-five years on, we are still called derogatory names such as: the “Primitive People,” the “Barbarians,” the “Bush People,” “Sheep,” and many more, to which we are totally defenceless. My hope is that we can vindicate ourselves and prove to the world that we can change and become civilized, humble, peaceable, united people and put our ominous past behind us.
13. Thirty-five years on, very sorrowfully, precious Dagomba lives are still being lost as a result of the DCC/DV in massacres, targeted liquidations, and random killings.
14. Thirty-five years on, property loss and financial loss are still incurred owing to destruction: a direct side effect of the Dagbon Virus(DV).
15. Thirty-five years on, the DCC is still raging on as the two Royal Houses are still against each other and more and more mainstream Dagombas are becoming sick and tired of the constant feud between these Gates and the attendant negative consequencies on their lives. The Yani skin is losing his respect, sacredness, strength, pride, and myth at a fast pace as the problems surrounding this proud Skin are always put in the open for the whole world to laugh about.
Ironically, in pre-educated-British-dominated Dagbon days(the first half of the C20th ), as our history tells us, Dagombas often resolved their differences by themselves and sometimes contained them without resorting to violence or killing the Ya Naa. Contrarily, with the advent of education in Dagbon(since the 1940s) we suddenly lost our ability to resolve our differences by ourselves and rather commissioned the new and un-traditional culture of running to national governments for executive resolutions which, in most cases, are idiosyncratic, unwarrantable, exclusive, superficial remedies that are unable to stand the test of time, because they merely rob Peter to pay Paul, hence leaving one of the rival Gates feeling dispossessed and therefore preparing the ground for more of what we have seen in the subject period: animosity, disunity, sporadic violence, and even a regicide(an unprecedented event in our existence as a modern traditional entity).
To justify the new and un-traditional culture of redress, some might argue that during the pre-educated Dagbon era, there were deprivations going on between the Royal Gates with one Gate trying to dominate or shut out the other for the Yani skin, but due to the absence of a third, outside power capable of resolving and passing binding judgements on their grievances they simply contained those differences for the sake of peace and unity without resorting to actions that would inflict grievous bodily harm on their own. Worse still, such complaints of the deprived Gate could not be lodged with the incumbent Ya Naa who was the source and cause of the complaint in the first place. And now that we have a third force(national governments with constitutional powers) such Yani skin complaints should be resolved by government and not by us any longer.
My response to Dagombas holding the view that we should hurriedly run to national governments to resolve our traditional differences is that that approach severely impairs and limits our ability to exploit, explore, and invent our own creative solutions which are suitable to our Dagbon traditions and acceptable by all Dagombas with a timeless value. Moreso, falling on national governments for arbitration in the DCC is cheap, childish, hypocritical, and un-intelligent, no matter how this approach is viewed. We(Dagombas) are always looking for an easy way out, if not the easiest way out, in getting rid of this DCC. What we should ask of government is to provide adequate security and a condusive environment for us(Dagombas) to resolve the problem by ourselves in the traditional way. The maximum role any national government can possibly play in laying this virus to rest is serve as a catalyst, and it is only through our own bootstrap, with government playing a facilitator role, that we can achieve real lasting peace and unity in Dagbon. I am deepily ashamed to admit that the generations of Dagombas who lived before the advent of Western education in Dagbon, their uneducated status notwithstanding, were more intelligent than the educated generations of today. The justification for my admission is that we have never been able to resolve even a single problem that we have been faced with so far, purely due to our inability to vary our behaviour in response to varying situations and requirements, something the uneducated generations before us mastered so well, as evident by the legacy of a solid, united, peaceful Dagomba Kingdom they left for us. It has to be pointed out that being educated doesn't mean being intelligent, and being educated doesn't mean being wise, because one can be educated to the highest degree and still be unintelligent and unwise. It is just a matter of how the educated fellow is able to use the education gained to practically change his/her behaviour, attitude, perceptions in response to changing situations, occurencies, requirements, problems, and times with the view to effect desirable, positive outcomes in society. As far as the March 2002 Yendi massacres are concerned, it is unfortunate that All Dagombas are victims of that heinous crime and All Dagombas are viewed as the perpetrators, though it was carried out by a handful of thugs. My fellow Dagombas, this Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis(DCC) has developed into a full-blown recrudescent virus, the Dagbon Virus(DV) which, if not exterminated, would destroy and deprive us of being a monolithic tribe. The DV, just like any virus, requires a cure, and the antidote to this evil sickness lies in our own hands. I have to confidently declare to All Dagombas that if we think about this blue print I am presenting before you today, and accept, implement its contents, I assure you that we can achieve everlasting peace in our Great Dagomba Kingdom. I want you to know that this Dagomba Virus(DV), as I call it, is not incurable, so the only thing we have to do is try this vaccine I am proposing to you, my brothers and sisters.
Dagbon is now at the crossroads and the time has come when we all, as Dagombas, should pull together and fight this madness called DCC and begin the process of reconciliation, peace, and unity among all Dagombas and for Dagbon. The alarming fact is that, if we allow the status quo to prevail, we face the danger of further chaos with untold consequencies that would threaten our very existence as One Tribe with One King and One Identity. We created this problem by ourselves and we have to resolve it by ourselves. The dark and painful past of Dagbon is not inescapable and the drive to attain peace and unity is not insurmountable, for the mistakes we(Dagombas) have all made are not unforgivable. We should all find a place in our hearts to forgive one another, Abudu Gate, Andani Gate, the hoi polloi of Dagbon, and live as a peaceful, united, loving big family again. We should not forget that, for several centuries, the Dagomba Kingdom was one of the most united, self-loving, and peaceful traditional entities in Africa, and those nostalgic days can be achieved once again, if we lend ourselves to peace. For the past half century, Dagbon has been plagued with a cycle of animosity, vendetta, and disunity,.. so what next?
What next MUST be the quest for peace and unity in Dagbon and for All Dagombas.
The quest for peace and unity can be expressed, in my view, in a little algebraic expression I learnt in secondary school and wish to apply today in practice to solve a real time problem in the following peace formula:
(a +b) 2 + 2 = Peace +Unity+Strength+Prosperity
where a=Andani Gate's effort toward peace, b=Abudu Gate's effort toward peace, a and b are interchangeable to stand for Abudu or Andani Gates, 2=Government's effort toward peace.
Some of you are probably thinking that I am crazy just by taking this simple formula at face value; however it is the practical peace formula for Dagbon's chieftaincy crisis. The above algebraic expression is the dream of all Dagombas and perhaps many others; however, at the moment, the status quo in Dagbon gives us the following equation:
(a-b)-2 = Chaos! which can also be expressed as (b-a)-2 = chaos!
At one time or the other since the 1950s, at least, one of the Royal Houses: the Andanis and the Abudus have been working against each other in the courts of law and/or physically, thus no cooperation between them. For that matter, they have been putting in negative efforts toward everlasting peace; hence together, they have a negative(-) bond between them. They are in brackets because together they form the Yani skin. These two Royal Houses represent the people of the Dagomba Kingdom in this equation. The negative integer -2, represents the current government's negative efforts in bringing the two(2) sides in the conflict together for peace in Dagbon at the moment, its reasons, I don't know. Therefore, all the combined negative efforts of the Andanis, the Abudus, and the Government give us Chaos in Dagbon, as represented in the chaos formula: (a-b)-2=Chaos!.
My fellow Dagombas, we can achieve peace and unity by changing all the above negative variables and constant into positive. If and when we(Dagombas: as represented by the Andanis and the Abudus) change our negative positions into positive, and the current government also changes its negative role at the moment into positive efforts; then the chaos equation will change into the desired peace equation, thus:
(a + b) 2 + 2 = Peace+Unity+Strength+Prosperity
_Expanded: a2+b2+2ab+2 = Peace+Unity+Strength+Prosperity
where: a2=Peace: the outcome of the Andanis positive efforts, b2=Unity: the outcome of the Abudus positive efforts(both of these variables: a2 & b2 are interchangeable for Abudu and Andani families), 2ab=Strength or Strong Dagomba Kingdom: the extra peace dividend accrued to the Andanis and the Abudus by their combined efforts toward peace in Dagbon, and as we know, unity means strength 2=Prosperity: the outcome of the current government's positive efforts in bringing the two rival Royal Houses to talk peace as a facilitator; thus prosperity in Dagbon as government's socio-economic policies for development in Dagbon will be implemented in an environment of maximum cooperation among Dagombas; as represented by the Andani and Abudu Gates. The composite outcome of the positive efforts expended by all the three parties: the Andanis, the Abudus, and the government is not only peace and unity in Dagbon, but also, strength and prosperity. This means that if the two Royal Houses work together the benefits that will accrue as a result of their individual efforts will be squared: a2+b2, and with an extra bonus of double their initially invested efforts: 2ab in the peace process. Hence, when the Andanis and the Abudus work together in synergy, and government facilitates their cooperation, the Dagomba Kingdom is bound to achieve a lot more: Peace, Unity, Strength, and Prosperity.
Further, we now know the peace formula, so how can we(Dagombas), with government playing a facilitator role, apply it to achieve the desired outcome: peace, unity, strength, and prosperity?
Easy, the answer is easy. Change is the answer. What we(Dagombas) have to realize is that we can no longer seek peace in a wait-and-see or reactive manner; instead we have to pursue peace in a proactive way by taking initiatives toward reconciliation, peace and unity and making changes in several facets of our society. The younger generations have to embark on a moral revolution against the older generations by putting moral pressure on them to begin reconciliation and peace talks: the Andanis and the Abudus simply have to talk peace; not hatred. The longer the taciturnity between these two Royal families continues the worse the situation of the Dagomba Kingdom gets. All the negative attitudes of the Abudus, the Andanis, and the government must be transformed into positive ones.
My ideas for peace and unity in Dagbon come in a proposal, a golden proposal offering a golden opportunity(elaborated in subsequent sections), which if adopted by all Dagombas, could serve as a planning tool in drawing a roadmap for a lasting peace and total unity among all Dagombas: a panacea for the age-old chieftaincy crisis. The proposal is an auto-Dagbon engineered solution to the DCC without government interference, except a role of facilitator. Let's face it, and let it be loud and clear to all Dagombas that, as far as the DCC and the quest for peace is concerned, no government, and I mean no government, has ever and would ever provide real true peace that is acceptable to the whole of Dagbon, because governments only appease us and not be-peace us.
The proposal calls for CHANGE in Dagbon and requires All Dagombas to change in many respects. We have to transform the negative variables and integer in the chaos equation: (a-b)-2=chao! into positive to achieve the peace formula: a2+b2+2ab+2=peace+unity+strength+prosperity. This change involves re-structuring and re-organizing our traditional structures, institutions, and our mindset. Like it or not, the status quo is a long lane that has no turning and I know that we(Dagombas) are not incommutable. Change is often a painful, hard, difficult, and an unpleasant phenomenon which involves sacrifices and concessions from all those striving for it, and it goes without saying that 'no pain, no gain'. Some might even oppose this CHANGE because it is unpalatable and threatens their standings in the Dagbon society or careers, and others might do so because they want to hold on to their dogmatic positions, but I want to assure All Dagombas that this necessary change(modernization) is mutually-beneficial to both the Andanis and the Ahudus as well as All Dagombas.
Opposition to the call for CHANGE notwithstanding, the questions I pose to all Dagombas are:
1.How long shall we(Dagombas) allow this DCC/DV to continue the division and destruction of our Kingdom that we have all witnessed thus far?
2.Do we(Dagombas) have the moral right to pass this ugly virus(DV) on to our innocent posterity?
3.Do we(Dagombas) want our children and grandchildren to inherit this disgraceful feud they simply didn't start?
4.Who do we(Dagombas) think we are by encumbering our peaceful neighbours in the Northern Region and antagonizing national governments with our DCC?
All Dagombas should ponder over the foregoing questions when they go to bed tonight, but I need answers to these questions first thing tomorrow morning.
Forward-looking Dagombas would agree that we should get rid of the DCC now and for good. Positive thinking Dagombas would say we should unite and make peace now and not later.
Next question: Now we know we all want peace and unity, but how can we go about trying to unite and live in peace again and put the ugly past behind us once and for all? This has always been the million cedi question for all Dagombas since the fire started burning almost half a century ago.
Fortunately, I have a proposed solution.
PROPOSAL FOR A CONCERTED PLAN TOWARD A LASTING PEACE AND UNITY IN DAGBON
For Dagbon and All Dagombas to achieve a comprehensive, lasting peace and unity that is mutually beneficial to all, Dagbon and All Dagombas must embark on, what I term, PHYSICAL and PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGE. This duel-dimensional traditional restructuring project requires a step by step approach in implementing it effectively and efficiently to achieve the desired end.
In order to decipher these processes for change, precedence should be given to the adaptation of a holistic approach to the problems facing Dagbon over the usual factional approach, because peace(victory at the courts) for one section(Royal Gate) of Dagbon is wholly insignificant unless the other section(Royal Gate) finds the missing piece(which is peace in the form of victory at the courts) to make Dagbon whole again. All previous efforts toward peace in Dagbon, including those carved by governments, were aimed at appeasing one of the rival Gates at the very expense of the other Gate and to the detriment of achieving real peace in the Kingdom. Uniquely, and for the very first time, this proposal offers All Dagombas ideas on how we can arrive at a win-win-win outcome for the Abudu Gate, the Andani Gate, and the Dagomba Kingdom; an outcome that will mean peace for ever. The two dimensions of change are briefly stated as follows:
1.The PHYSICAL CHANGE involves a Change and Transfer of Dagbon Traditional Capital(DTC), the seat of the Ya Naa, from the current location, Yendi to a new location in the Tamale metropolis, which is in the Gulkpegu paramountcy. This is a necessary physical change that will form the crux and backbone of our chances for achieving a lasting peace and unity in our great Kingdom. Steps should be taken to inform All Dagombas about this ultimate change of the seat of the Ya Naa. It has to be emphasized that the change and transfer of our traditional capital from Yendi to Tamale is a matter for Dagombas to decide and not government's business.
2.The PSYCHOLOGICAL CHANGE requires All Dagombas to change their methods, views, positions, perceptions, ways, actions, attitudes, approaches, and to an extent, traditional beliefs, to fall in line with values of contemporary society. These changes are necessary because it is the only way we can reconnect to each other and rebuild confidence, trust, friendship, and unity that has been lost for a long time now.
My fellow Dagombas, if we embrace and implement this proposed CHANGE, we will enjoy the numerous peace dividends that will accrue, not only for us, but also, for our children and generations yet unborn.
Some Dagombas might wonder why I am advocating for a relocation of the Dagbon Traditional Capital(DTC) from Yendi to Tamale. The following are compelling reasons, among others, for All Dagombas to think about:
1.Changing the DTC, the seat of the Ya Naa, from Yendi to the Tamale metropolis(Gulkpegu paramountcy) offers All Dagombas a great opportunity to make a Fresh Start, a Clean Slate in life as a tribe and to help turn a New Chapter in the history of Dagbon, thus closing, forever, the Old Chapter on the Dagbon Chieftaincy Crisis and the Dark Page on the infamous regicide that claimed the life of Naa Yakubu Andani II on that evil Wednesday, March 27, 2002. A new Ya Naa's Palace should be constructed, with the support of All Dagombas and by All Dagombas, in an enclave that should be created as the New Yani, within Gulkpegu in close proximity to the institutional security infrastructure. The design and construction of the new Yani, the seat of the Ya Naa, the Palace, should not be a government project; however, financial donation in good faith by government may be accepted, if elders of Dagbon deem it fit. The project should be enthusiatically embraced and developed by supporters of both the Abudu Gate and the Andani Gate as well as others. It should not be the responsibility of any particular Gate to undertake the project; instead it should be an all-inclusive project. It has to be pointed out that changing the seat of the Ya Naa is not a novel phenomenon in the history of the Dagomba Kingdom. Centuries ago, the Yani was moved from a place, now called Yan-Dabari, which is in the vicinity of Gushie, a farming village situated about 40 kilometers north of Tamale. In retrospect, we all respect the reasons that triggered our forefathers to move the DTC from Yani Dabari, which now remains a collection of abandoned relics of mud walls, to the present day Yendi. I have to admit that I last visited this Yani Dabari site about thirty-three years ago, so I cannot confirm the state in which those relics are today. My hope is that one day, just one day, we shall realize the importance of that piece of our history and take steps to preserve the site, because it is part of a big puzzle called Dagbon's roots or trail. Critically, today, an equally serious, if not even more serious, reason warrants another move from Yendi to a new spot in Dagbon. The reason for this change is the murder of a Dagomba King, a grave crime against the Kingdom, and such serious acts call for serious measures. That nefarious act was not just against Naa Yakubu Andani II or the Andani family, but it was an act against All Dagombas, regardless of where one sits on the DCC divide: Andani side, Abudu side, or high up on the fence(middle), because All Dagombas are victims as well as perpetrators of this despicable crime, for that's how it feels, and it's simply unconscionable to feel otherwise as a Dagomba. There can never be any better reason than this to take such an earth-moving measure(reorganisation), because as far as the Dagomba Kingdom is concerned, nothing compares to the killing of a Ya Naa. Furthermore, there is nothing in our tradition or culture which says we cannot change the seat of the Ya Naa.
2.The presence of security infrastructure in the Tamale area makes it a better place to seat our King than in Yendi. What happened in Yendi on March 27, 2002 couldn't have happened had the Palace and seat of our King been situated in the Tamale area. There is a strong presence of police, military, and other security agents in this metropolis which would timely respond to any such eventuality. It would take either a clear Presidential order from Accra or an instant internecine war for another regicide to happen, if the Ya Naa's Palace is located in the Tamale area. On the contrary, leaving the seat of the Ya Naa in Yendi lends the Kingdom to gross insecurity, taking cognizance of the obvious and once a precedent has been set, there is a high probability of reoccurence, and as we say in Dagbani, Nyiri be mie baayinyeri kpebdali. This time, the regicide was against members of the Andani Gate. Who knows, the next time it might be the Ya Naa from the Abudu Gate who would suffer, if the seat remains in Yendi. Our Ya Naas, irrespective of the Gate they belong to, should be protected and defended by All Dagombas and we should not allow another March 27, 2002 to happen again. In pre-colonial and pre-independence Dagbon days, the Ya Naa had a traditional standing army stationed in and around Yendi which had the responsibility for maintaining his security, but since Ghana gained independence and established a national army controlled by the central government in Accra, and banning the possession of firearms the relevance of the traditional Ya Naa's army has diminished drastically. The idea of government banning traditional armies and declaring the possession of firearms illegal was that government took over the responsibility of providing protection for all Ghanaians, including the Ya Naa and other traditional Kings, but owing to gross security ineptitude the incumbent government at that time failed the Dagomba Kingdom in March, 2002. The action or inaction by government on March 27, 2002, and the preceeding days leaves a lot to be desired, and hypothetically, I wonder if the commander-in-chief of Ghana would have reacted swiftly, as he should have done, or nonchalantly, as displayed in the case of the Ya Naa had reports of gunshots from the Ga Mantse's Palace in Accra reached him? To play the devil's advocate by the same measure, would the ultimate political leader of the nation have reacted promptly, as he ought to have done in accordance with legal and moral law, or indifferently, as exhibited in the case of the Ya Naa had reports of gunshots from the Ashantehene's Palace in Kumasi reached him? Of course, I can never know what might have happened or could have happened in those hypothetical situations because they are unreal and both of these tribes are ahead of us in terms of understanding, but what I know for certain is the reality faced by Naa Yakubu Andani II, and the same fate is likely to confront another Ya Naa in the future, because: there is no security for our Kings in Yendi in respect that “the military vehicles there do not function in times of emergency” and Tamale, where reinforcements can be called from, is far away, and telephone lines “freeze” in the hot weather conditions. Contrastingly, there are two large military bases and a large police division with hundreds of vehicles and equipments ready for action in the Tamale area. Maintaining the Ya Naa's seat in Yendi will be at the Kingdom's peril, a risk we mustn't contemplate, if we want to continue existing as a single traditional entity. Significantly, the follow-up question, also hypothetical, is: would The President, a prominent lawyer, have delayed justice for three years had the massacre and regicide occured in the Ga Mantse's Palace or the Ashantehene's Palace? Again, would first-rate, true and just justice have been assured or a “Mickey Mouse” justice? Question: Is someone practising double standards here? All Dagombas, and Ghanaians for that matter, should understand the dire need for genuine justice to be served in this case, because it is a test case in the history of our criminal justice system and how just our modern democratic institutions and government can be, and Dagombas should comtemplate lodging this grave criminal case with international judicial institutions, among others, the International Court of Justice(ICJ), for redress, if government cannot perform its basic duty of assuring equal and true justice for all Ghanaians, to which Dagombas are no exception. Fortunately for Ghana, there haven't been any serious criminal events since March 2002, so why hasn't government invested formidable criminal investigation resources to deal with the Yendi massacre and get the job done swiftly? Remaining quiet for such a very long time on a case of this gravity puts the integrity and fairness of the commander-in-chief into question, in spite of the admiration people may have for him. It is rather quite strange the way the legal professional bodies are relatively silent about this Yendi massacre case, because I could remember the constant expression of abhorence and convulsion by the legal professional bodies like the Ghana Bar Association, amonog others, when the three high court judges and retired army officer were killed in 1982. No matter who the victims are, no matter where the crime scene is, no matter who commits the crime, and no matter the circumstances under which crimes of this scale are committed, the legal professional bodies have the moral duty to help uphold the law of the land by exerting reasonable pressure on government to act expeditiously, justly, and fairly to bring to book the perpetrators of those crimes. A massacre is a massacre, regardless of the circumstances; a massacre during an attack on political leaders in a coup attempt is still a massacre; a massacre during an attack on a royal family is still a massacre; a massacre during an attack on a religious group is still a massacre; a massacre during an attack on demonstrators protesting against government policies is still a massacre; a massacre during an attack on legal professionals or judges is still a massacre; a massacre of Ashantis by any group is still a massacre; a massacre of Ga's by anyone is still a massacre; a massacre of Ewes by others is still a massacre; a massacre of any people by any people is still a massacre. The professional bodies should not forget that Customary and Traditional Law is still part and parcel of the curriculum of Law Degree programmes in our universities and it is also in their best interest to see to the finesse of justice and fairness in a case like the Yendi massacre. I therefore urge members of the Ghana Bar Association, the association of law professors, the association of law students, others in the legal academia, and the like, to remind, on continuous basis, government of its legal duty to see to justice now in the Yendi Massacre II case which occured on March 27th, 2002 claiming forty-three(43) precious Dagomba lives, including that of Naa Yakubu Andani II. They should press on and never stop until fair justice is ultimately served in this historic criminal case. To replicate the previous question: Are double standards being applied here by the legal professional bodies thus far?
3.The barbaric acts of “evil Wednesday” render Yendi untenable as the seat of the Ya Naa, and there is the dire need for us to put the horrors of that day behind us and prepare to move on with fresh thoughts and conscience as a civilized Kingdom. Such a move is both a corrective and a preventive measure to guard against a repeat of March 27, 2002 in the future.
4.Crucially, history has repeated itself and we should prevent it from becoming a pattern. As our history reveals, during the third decennia of the nineteenth century, circa 1824, the first regicide in Dagbon's history occured in Yendi, thus REGICIDE I. Nothing was done by our forefathers to prevent another one from ever happening again. We of today can forgive those before us for the lack of preventive measures to forestall the events of March 27, 2002, for they lived in a totally different era with different security infrastructures and no central government controlling the security apparatus. Centuries from now, if history repeats itself again, and I hope it better not, the predictive question will be: why didn't our predecessors( Dagombas living in the year 2002 and now) do a thing to prevent this from replicating? To pre-empt that futuristic question, we have to reorganize our traditional structures, including the seat of the Ya Naa. We should All remember that we have had two regicides in less than two hundred years; REGICIDE I around 1824, and again, REGICIDE II in 2002, thus twice in Yendi. REGICIDE I occured during pre-colonial Dagbon days, and REGICIDE II happened during KUFFOUR I. These occurences are actionable by reorganisation of our traditional structures to avoid REGICIDE III from happening; therefore, we have to relocate Yani from Yendi to Tamale.
5. Barbarically, the history of Yendi qua Dagbon traditional capital, has the reputation of replicating itself. September 9, 1969, Ghana, under the watchful eye of Dr. Busia, the political ancestor of the current regime, and under whom the incumbent served in 1969, Yendi MASSACRE I took place, thirty-three(33) men, women, and children were slain, and forty(40) others wounded by government security forces. Thirty-three(33) years later, by even a greater measure, during KUFFOUR I, Yendi MASSACRE II occured, the Ya Naa and forty-two(42) others were killed(this includes those who died that day and others later), and many more wounded. I wonder what awaits Dagombas in Yendi during KUFFOUR II. Will there be Yendi MASSACRE III, God forbid, or will there not? Only time will tell; that's what I can say. Question: Is it becoming a pattern that anytime the Busia political tradition swears the oath of office there must be a massacre in Yendi?
6.The horrendous acts of that fateful day have left indelible scars in the four corners of the Gbewaa(Ya Naa's) Palace, and in Yendi for that matter, which will continue to evoke painful memories that would haunt any sitting Ya Naa, especially from the victimized Gate, and will be a constant reminder of the internal conflicts we had in the past, thus making total reconciliation of Dagbon a more difficult task. Reconstructing the vandalised Gbewaa Palace in Yendi to seat the next Ya Naa is a very bad idea, and demolishing it and rebuilding a new Palace on that spot is even a worse idea. Both ideas can not negate the psychological scars left on that spot and the latter idea would attempt to erase a piece of the dark history that we would wish to see standing and preserved as a constant reminder of the kind of acts we are capable of committing against our own if we fail to live in peace. I advocate that the damaged Palace be refurbished and preserved as a piece of our history, thus a monument, nothing more, nothing less.
7.Another reason for relocating from Yendi to Tamale is to take advantage of the centrally positioned bearing of Tamale in the Kingdom and the quick accessibility by all districts, paramountcies.
8.Further, in relative terms, Tamale is well established vis-a-vis transportation network, tele(communication) infrastructure and other utilities. The seat of the Ya Naa should be located in this kind of environment in order to facilitate his contact with his subjects.
9.The Northern Regional House of Chiefs'office buildings are located right in the heart of Tamale and the presence of the Ya Naa's Palace close to it will make his visits to the House easier and he can organize meetings with his chiefs even more frequently to assess progress on whatever projects he is working on.
10.Aside from the above, placing the seat of our King in Tamale would re-emphasize the city as a strong Dagbon traditional base, while maintaining his proud status as a hospitable melting pot for people from over a hundred tribes and from all walks of life with different religious backgrounds.
11.Furthermore, the highest concentration of Dagombas in the DTA can be found in Tamale and it is only feasible to have our King right among the highest concentration of his subjects.
12.In addition, moving the traditional headquarters to Tamale would speed up the change(modernization) process I am asking for in this proposal and would fall in line with locational strategies adopted by other traditional entities long time ago by having their Kings in their biggest cities. For instance, the Kings of the Ga's, Ashantis, Frafras, Kusasis, Walas, Katsinas, Bulsas, Sisalas, Dagatis, Mamprusis, Nanumbas, Gonjas are in their biggest cities: thus Accra, Kumasi, Bolga, Bawku, Wa, Navrongo, Sandema, Tumu, Nandom, Nalerigu(moved from Gambaga), Bimbila, Damongo(recently moved from Yebun) respectively.
13.Sadly and bitterly, Yendi, our current traditional capital, can be described as the abandoned, neglected, and troubled city of Ghana. He has been the hardest hit city in Dagbon in the ongoing DCC due to his status as the traditional capital. This city used to be the pride of the Dagomba Kingdom until “Mr.” DCC emerged in Dagbon about half a century ago. Some might think it is an exageration, if I suggest that Yendi was, at some point back in time, the bigger of his rival city – Tamale. However, today, Tamale can easily “swallow” the present day Yendi three times in his belly. As late as 1975, when I first visited Yendi, in the company of a relative, I saw this Great City to be almost the same size of Tamale, and back then, he had political parity with Tamale, both valued at one parliamentary ticket each by the aristocrats in Accra in 1979. Contrastingly, in 2004, the aristocrats in the national capital valued Tamale at three political tickets while Yendi was valued again at one ticket. Why? Reason is that the city has virtually stopped growing over the years. Yendi, the Abandoned City! The fact is that, since the DCC began about half a century ago, there has been constant insecurity surrounding the city, as evident by the events of March 27, 2002. As a result, a serious percentage of the natives of Yendi, upon acquiring higher education, abandon their beloved city to re-root elsewhere, preferably in Accra, Tamale, Kumasi, and so on. As they make these places their new homes they take their ingenuity, financial assets, and private businesses along, hence depriving the home town of the badly-needed investments and talents. They move away, not because they don't love Yendi, but because of insecurity. As we all know from the happenings of that day in March 2002, no one provides real security in Yendi, else we wouldn't have had the March massacre. No Dagomba ever points at his/her house with the left hand and this saying is truly applicable in this case. No one can blame them for moving away(but who wouldn't do the same?). It is alright and understandable when people move from one place to another for economic reasons such as to look for jobs, establish enterprises; however, it is not alright and not understandable when people in a country move away from one place because of security reasons. Yendi, the Neglected City! Annoyingly, all the various governments since independence, till now, have wittingly neglected and kept Yendi out of any development-related policy planning efforts. For the past thousand years, roads linking Yendi to other cities and towns in the Northern Region have not been constructed, except quite recently, the one linking Yendi to Tamale which received attention. All the other roads are still crying out for attention, and so far, in vain. Telecommunication is underdeveloped as no telephone lines were functional during the
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."
Reproduction is authorised provided the author's permission is granted.