My attention has been drawn to the above feature article of Wednesday 7th December 2005 which was authored by one Mohammed Sulemana and wish to comment on the issues raised. I would have glossed over the issues raised but for the fact that my brother Mr. Mohammed Sulemana displayed complete ignorance on the subject he wrote.
The purpose of this rejoinder is to enlighten my brother Mr. Sulemana and his likes within and outside Ghana about the misconception people have about the delayed burial of our dear King Ya Na Yakubu Andani II who was gruesomely murdered with forty members of his household and elders' in broad daylight.
First and foremost the Andani Royal Family of Dagbon has never said it would not bury the late murdered King until a government of the N.D.C. comes to power. So if people like my brother Sulemana are thinking the delay is due to the above reason then it is regrettable it is a figment of their own imagination.
What the Andani Royal Family is telling the government of the N.P.P. led by His Excellency Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor is that we are more than determined to lay our Old man to rest but unless the following conditions are met which the family is not going to compromise on.
>BURIAL & INSTALLATION OF A REGENT. The late King of Dagbon cannot be entombed without the installation of his eldest son as the regent. The regent when installed would then oversee to the administration of Dagbon until the funeral of the King is performed. This is a time-tested tradition, which every true Dagbon citizen knows and cannot be disputed.
>PROVISION OF ADEQUATE SECURITY: The Ya Na cannot be buried without provision of adequate security to not only the family but to the entire people of Dagbon and tourists who would throng Yendi to witness the occasion. It is only the government who can provide security. For all Ghanaians were witnesses to events that led to the events of 27th March 2002. Under the watchful eyes of the nations security the Ya Na and those murdered with him were slaughtered in broad daylight. The perpetrators of the heinous crime even organized a carnival and paraded the decapitated head and arm along the streets of Yendi. All this took place in the very presence of the security personnel and to date not a soul has been apprehended. What is the guarantee that those who would come to witness the entombment and installation of the regent would not be slaughtered the same way? If the government of the N.P.P is really committed to ensuring everlasting peace in Dagbon then the government would have to come out publicly to assure the chiefs and people of Dagbon that it would guarantee the safety of all persons who would attend the ceremony and that the lives of the immediate family of the Ya Na who would be occupying the palace until the funeral is performed would be protected.
>RETRIEVAL OF ILLEGAL WEAPONS: Since the events of March 27th 2002 no effort has been made to retrieve any illegal weapons in Yendi and its environs. However in Tamale and areas perceived to be dominated by Andani family members or sympathizers have been thoroughly searched in search of non-existing arms. Why Yendi cannot be searched is a mystery only the Minister of Interior and the security capos can tell Ghanaians.
Until the above conditions are met to the letter and which are not negotiable the Andani family would not risk the lives of innocent men, women and children. The government by its attitude since the events of March 2002 cannot be trusted. If the government is sincere and comes out with a holistic programme for the entombment of the King which encompasses the above conditions the Andani Royal family would come in less than twenty – four hours to lay the Old man to rest so that Dagbon and the entire North would see peace and progress.
>ISSUE OF LATE FORMER YA NA MAHAMADU ABDULAI – Mahamadu Abdulai at the time of his death in 1988 was no more a chief as he was diskinned by a competent Committee of Enquiry in 1974 and the Supreme Court of Ghana also endorsed the committee's recommendation in 1986 At best late Mahamadu Abdulai's funeral can be performed as a son of Ya Na.
Precedence abounds in the history of Dagbon of chiefs who were diskinned and how their funerals were performed. Both ex Ya Nas' and other chief ships in Dagbon. Mention can be made of ex-Ya Na Tanpin Karigu who was diskinned and he died at Sakpili near Savelugu. His funeral was performed as a former and was never brought to Yendi to be performed at the Gbewa Palace. Ex- Ya Na Dahimani Kukarijie was also disskinned and he also died at Juni near Tamale and his funeral was performed at that place.
To the ignorant of Dagbon custom Mahamadu Abdulai's funeral can only be performed as that of a former Ya Na and at the place where he was residing before his death and never at the Gbewa Palace.
>CREATION OF KING MAKING BODY: - My brother Sulemana suggests that the two families should come together and select a new king making body. There already exists a credible king making body headed by Kuga-Na. The other members are Tugri-Nam; Gomli and Kpati-Na. It is this body that has selected previous Ya Nas without any problems. The introduction of the so-called selection committee that was supposed to have selected Ya Na Abdulai Billa Ngmarigon II (late Mahamadu Abdulai's father) that gave birth to the Dagbon crisis. To my brother Sulemana and his likes the refusal to follow true Dagbon custom bequeathed to us for over six hundred years is responsible for the present state of despondency in Dagbon. Let us avoid introducing any new custom for the sake of modernity it is this kind of changing customs to satisfy the whims and caprices of a few disgruntled Dagbon elements that has kept Dagbon from moving forward just because the parochial interest of such persons are served.
>ISSUE OF JUSTICE: - Mr. Sulemana Mohammed in his submission forgot to speak of justice for victims of March 27th 2002. I do not know whether he deliberately left out this issue or he thinks they do not deserve justice. We have not stopped asking for justice for the sake of it. We want the perpetrators of this heinous crime to know that the crime they committed was abominable, sacrilegious and a dent on the image of well thinking Dagbamba the entire North and Ghanaians as well. They can therefore not benefit from this atrocious crime. Any person who feels we should let bygones be bygones should find out from Mr. Kwabena Agyapong Press Secretary to the President whether after twenty –three years of his father's murder he is still not asking for justice.
>CONCLUSION: - The problem in Dagbon is not beyond solution. It is a man made problem and has to be solved by man. What is required is sincerity and the political will of the N.P.P. government. The President should stop his usual excuse of “provide evidence” as this would not save him it would rather dent his image the more in the eyes of people of good character and standing.
Let all true sons and daughters of Dagbon put behind political differences and condemn the perpetrators of this heinous crime and implore the government to apprehend the murderers and let them face the maximum penalty there of. Let us not for political reason or expediency give undeserved protection and sympathy to criminals who show no sign of remorse but openly boast that their government is in power and can therefore flout laws with impunity. Any person of good character and standing should not encourage this culture of impunity being brazenly displayed by the criminals. >