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11.04.2005 General News

FIASCO - Ya-Na’s Burial Plan Hits Dead End

By Lens

March 11 (Lens) -- The much publicised burial of the dismembered mortal remains of the murdered Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, billed to take place today, 11th April 2005, will not take place after all, sources close to the Andani royal family of Dagbon have told The Lens.

Andani royal family sources have told The Lens that the plan to bury the mortal remains of the murdered Overlord has hit a dead end as a result of disagreement over the installation of a Regent.

While both the Andanis and the Abudus are agreed that the burial of the Ya-Na is key to moving the process of peace building and the returning of normalcy to the Dagbon area, neither group is ready to concede the regency to the other.

Inherent in this thorny issue of who becomes Regent of Dagbon is the equally problematic proposal from the Abudu royal family to have the final funeral rites of the late Mahmadou Abdulai, a one time Ya-Na who died in the 1980s after he was deposed in the 1970s, performed with full traditional rites of a dead Ya-Na.

These are the issues confronting the Committee of Eminent Chiefs headed by the Asantehene, Otumfo Nana Osei Tutu II.

While the Andanis say they have no problem whatsoever with any proposal to perform the final funeral rites of the late Mahmadou Abdulai, they strenuously object to his funeral being organised under the aegis of the Dagbon Traditional Council as if the Mahmadou Abdulai was a Ya-Na at the time of his death.

Credible information available to The Lens has it that the Kuga-Na who, in the absence of the Ya-Na, is the custodian of Dagbon custom, has written to the Asantehene, Nana Osei Tutu II, head of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, advising him that as far as he (Kuga-Na) is concerned, the funeral of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II is the only funeral that the Dagbon Traditional Council has to perform.

The spokesman for the Andani royal family, Dr. Yahumza Gomda told The Lens, “We are not going to allow Dagbon custom to be adulterated by anybody, not even a Dagomba, not to talk of a non Dagomba, and all the talk that the Abudus should install a regent because Mahmadou Abdulai died first are only aimed at changing the custom of Dagbon and we won't allow it.”

“The only body that can change the custom of the people of Dagbon is the Dagbon Traditional Council,” Dr Gomda told The Lens.

Meanwhile the secretary of the Abudu royal family, Mr. Madjid Bawah, told The Lens that the proposal from the Abudus to perform the final funeral rites of the late Mahmadou Abdulai as if he died as a Ya-Na is actually in conformity with the tradition of Dagbon.

“In Dagbon culture there is nothing like de-enskinment; and once a Ya-Na always a Ya-Na. I don't get it when people say Mahmadou Abdulai died as a private citizen. This man was buried in the sanctum where Ya-Nas are buried. If he was not a Ya-Na why was he buried there?” Madjid asked.

On the issue of appointment of a regent, Madjid said, “an Abudu can not be regent for Andanis much the same way as an Andani can not be regent for the Abudus. That is why we proposed that we should be allowed to appoint a regent who would perform the final funeral rites of Mahmadou Abdulai, after which we would vacate the Gbewaa Palace so that the Andanis would then come in to perform the final funeral rites for Na Yakubu Andani. As far as we are concerned, this is a simple matter. After all Na Mahmadou Abdulai died first. Let me make it clear that we don't have anything against the burial of the Ya-Na. In fact, it is our wish that this could be done first, and then we could come back to negotiate on the performance of the funeral rites of both Na Abdoulai and Na Yakubu.”

Analysts believe that, even if the Andanis were minded to allow the Abudus perform the final funeral rites of Mahmadou Abdulai as a Ya-Na, they may have grave fears that considering all that has transpired, especially given the circumstances leading to the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, once the Abudus are allowed into the Gbewaa Palace they might not want to relinquish it.

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