It is customary for Ghanaians who register nationally momentous and monumental achievements to share such achievements with the people, in general, and our traditional rulers, in particular. And this is exactly what prompted the newly-elected Presidential Candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to embark on a national courtesy-call tour in the wake of his election as NPP flagbearer on December 22-23, 2007. So far, the tour, which began at Kyebi, Nana Akufo-Addo's maternal radix, has also taken the former Foreign Minister through the major traditional royal capitals of Kumasi, Akuapem-Akropong and Ga-Mashie. And it would, doubtless, be quite awhile before this ritual demonstration of the candidate's gratitude is completed.
What motivated the writing of this article, however, was the publication of another article which appeared in the Ghanaweb.com edition of January 7, 2008, titled “Akufo-Addo Causes Anger in Accra.” The gist of the afore-referenced article was that the NPP flagbearer's quite apt decision to extend his courtesy-call itinerary to the Ga-State overlord, or the Ga-Mantse, had, allegedly, “stirred [an] hornet's nest of anger among a section of [the] Ga Royalty,” a local rag called the Daily Searchlight reported.
This is quite curious, since Nana Akufo-Addo is not known to have been involved, in any way, shape or form, in both the selection and coronation of the regnant Ga-Mantse; all that the NPP presidential candidate had done was visit the Ga-Mantse's palace and pay his apposite respects to whoever happened to sit on the Ga-stool as the royal representative or supreme authority of the Ga traditional state.
In sum, it was absolutely no business of the NPP flagbearer's, whatsoever, to demand of Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey, the regnant Ga-Mantse, whether the latter had been legitimately installed, or enstooled. That was not his afore-referenced mission. For while he may, indeed, be conjugally affiliated with a woman who hails from a prominent Ga family, Nana Akufo-Addo himself is no Ga; and even if he had presented himself other than as an in-law, the grandson of Osagyefo Nana Sir Ofori-Atta I, would still not have had the right to impugn the legitimacy of Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey as the regnant Ga-Mantse.
What is interesting, however, is that those who are vehemently disputing the royal legitimacy of Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey, and who call themselves Kingmakers of the Ga Paramountcy, would allow the regnant Ga-Mantse to occupy the Amugi Palace and stool and then, rather absurdly, blame mere courtesy callers like Nana Akufo-Addo for, supposedly, supporting “an illegitimately enstooled” Ga-Mantse.
Perhaps some well-meaning, brutally frank and honest and neutral spectator to the raging Ga chieftaincy dispute ought to graciously advise cantankerous litigants like Nii Yaote Oto-Ga II, described in the Daily Searchlight report as the “Ga Dzaasetse of the Ga Paramount Stool,” to promptly seek psychiatric examination from the Accra Mental Hospital, if the latter still exists.
Indeed, while in the main, our interest here lies without the purview of the Ga chieftaincy dispute, still, it is significant to highlight the glaringly contradictory fact that while the likes of Nii Yaote Oto-Ga cavalierly claim that both the compound names of “Blankson” and “Lartey” have no consanguine affinity with the House of Amugi – or Amugi We – whatsoever, the very same litigants also claim that the Abola royal household whose elders enstooled Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey who, in the words of Nii Yaote Oto-Ga, the Dzaasetse, does not, after all, even belong to the Abola household, is now, in fact, out of accessional turn.
In sum, what Nii Yaote Oto-Ga appears to be loudly and clearly saying here is that even if the regnant Ga-Mantse were qualified for his enstoolment, Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey would still not be eligible to occupy the Ga-Mantse's stool, because his lineage of the Ga-royal family has yet to regain its turn on the Ga-Mantse's stool.
I hope the reader appreciates the patently absurd logical thrust of the argument of the Nii Yaote Oto-Ga School of Litigants. In other words, Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey's Ga-stool rivals began their line of argument by impugning the very royal heritage and legitimacy of the reigning Ga-Mantse. However, once the foregoing line of litigating fell flat on its prats, as it were (for, clearly, Dr. Jo Blankson-Lartey had been enstooled by a legitimate branch of the Ga-royal family), the next line of ratiocinative proscription entailed calling into question the seasonal line of succession of the Abola household of whose bona fide membership Dr. Blankson-Lartey quite indisputably appears to belong.
Needless to say, it is this lurid kind of petty-mindedness that the Government and its Ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs must seek to vehemently deter, even as the official call for the codification of a national register of royal stools (as well as skins) and their heirs get underway.
*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “When Dancers Play Historians and Thinkers,” a forthcoming essay collection on postcolonial Ghanaian politics. E-mail: [email protected]