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January 18, 2018 | Petitions

Chiefs and Elders petition for the inclusion of Kpandai District in the 'Proposed Oti Region'

Proposed Oti Region
Proposed Oti Region

PETITION BY THE CHIEFS IN KPANDAI DISTRICT FOR THE INCLUSION OF KPANDAI DISTRICT IN THE OTI REGION

We, the undersigned chiefs and elders of the Kpandai District in the Northern Region of Ghana, wish to commend your government for your noble decision to create additional regions in Ghana to help bolster development. This bold initiative is commendable; it is a sign of good governance and an attempt to ensure equitable development of the nation.

Informed by our history and a careful scrutiny of the new proposed regional boundaries, we wish to petition you for consideration for inclusion of the Kpandai District in the Oti Region. We are brimming with optimism that the inclusion of the Kpandai District into the Oti Region would suit us and serve our interest and purpose better. Our petition is supported by the under-listed facts.

1. The Nawuris and Nchumurus do not share a common tradition of origin with the Gonjas. The Nawuris and Nchumurus were part of the autochthonous Guan groups of present-day Ghana. They originally lived at Larteh Akuapem with other Guan groups such as Larteh, Anum, Nkonya, Krachi, and Achode. From there, they moved through a number of places in present-day Eastern, Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions to their present settlements in the Northern Region. The Gonjas, on the other hand, who are assimilated Guans, were originally a Mande-speaking people. They claimed descent from Ndewura Jakpa and his invading founders of the Gonja kingdom and traced their origins to Mande in present-day Mali. Furthermore, the Nawuris and the Nchumurus do not share a common tradition of origin with the proto-Mole-Dagbani states of Mamprugu, Dagbon and Nanum, who traced their origins to Zamfara in Northern Nigeria. On the contrary, the Nawuris and Nchumurus share a common tradition of origin with the Guans in mid-Volta, whose area is demarcated for the creation of the Oti Region. In the light of our ancedental connection with the mid-Volta Guans, we the undersigned, on behalf of our people, demand that our lands be carved from the Northern Region out and be added to the Oti Region, the region of our kinsmen with whom we share a common historical identity.

2. Culturally, the Nawuris and Nchumurus are different from the Gonjas and the Mole-Dagabi-speaking peoples in the Northern Region . In every particular of culture, deportment and custom, the southern and northern backgrounds or origins of Nawuris and Nchumurus on the one hand and Gonjas and the Mole-Dagbani ethnic groups on the other are pronounced. In addition, the Nawuris and Nchumurus do not share such Gonja and Mole-Dagbani cultural traits as three long marks running downwards on either side of the cheek, a peculiar tattoo round the navel, and the use of the skin as a symbol of political authority. Furthermore, in Gonja and Mole-Dagbani, chiefs are enskined, and have the Skin as the symbol of authority. The chiefly classes are also enrobed in smocks over loose trousers or pantoloon and wear a cap. By contrast, Nawuri and Nchumuru chiefs are enstooled, and use the Stool as a symbol of their political authority as is the case in southern Ghana. They also wear cloth and a crown. In fact, in the entire Northern Region, the Nawuris and the Nchumurus are the only ethnic groups that profess southern cultural practices. If cultural differences was one of the main reasons that precipitated the carving out of the Krachis from the Northern Territories for inclusion into the Ashanti Province (later Southern Gold Coast) in the 1940s, it is equally expedient and prudent to carve out the Nawuris and the Nchumurus from the Northern Region and add them to the Oti Region in which they can identify historically and culturally with other ethnic groups.

3. Historically, Gonja rule over Nawuris and Nchumurus did not have its antecedents in conquest; it was a colonial creation. Following the partition of the Neutral Zone between the British and the Germans in 1899, Nawuri and Nchumuru lands came under German Togo. The Germans applied the policy of political expediency to the administration of their territory, leading to the use of the “warrant” system as a basis of investing traditional rulers with paramount power. By this policy, Gonjas were imposed over Nawuris and Nchumurus as overlords. In the estimation of the Germans, Nawuri and Nchumuru chiefs were unenlightened and were deemed to be primitive, poor and unintelligent (PRAAD, Accra ADM 11/1/1621 Extract from Report of Enquiry on the Sphere of Occupation of Togoland: 18-19). The policy of political expediency in administration was continued by the British when Nawuri and Nchumuru territories came under the British following the partition of German Togo in 1919. In 1932, the British colonial government introduced the policy of indirect rule in Northern Ghana. This was accompanied by a re-definition of districts and traditional boundaries. Traditional boundaries were redefined to make them coterminous with, and tangential to, administrative boundaries of districts. Consequently, Nawuri and Nchumuru lands which were hitherto under the Kete Krachi District were carved out from it and added to the Gonja District (see Colonial Report of British Togoland of 1932, p. 10). The addition of Nawuri and Nchumuru lands to the Gonja Traditional Area and the Northern Territories was a historical anomaly created by the British. The creation of the Oti Region offers an opportunity for this anomaly to be corrected. We therefore wish that our lands be added to the Oti Region in conformity with the historical traditions of the areas prior to 1932.

4. Until the imposition of colonial rule on Northern Ghana, the Nawuris, Nchumurus, Achodes and Krachis were political allies, and this was reinforced by their worship of the Krachi Denteh. Administratively, Nawuris and Nchumurus were until 1932 part of the Kete Krachi District. Under German rule, the Kete Krachi District was made of six traditional areas – Krachi, Nawuri, Nchumuru, Achode, Adele and Nanumba. Following the partition of German Togo in 1919, the Kete-Krachi District with all its constituent traditional areas was initially placed under the Ashanti Province. Due to poor road networks and communication problems, the Colonial Secretary and the Chief Commissioners for the Ashanti Province and the Northern Territories agreed on 1st September 1922 to carve out the Kete-Krachi District from Ashanti Province and to add it to the Northern Territories (see: Bening, R.B. (1999). Ghana: Regional Boundaries and National Integration. Accra: Ghana Universities Press, p. 41). This led to territorial changes in the Kete-Krachi District as the Nanumba state was carved out of it in 1922, and added to the Eastern Dagomba District. As said earlier, Nawuri and Nchumuru lands were also carved out from the Kete-Krachi Dsitrict in 1932 and added to the Gonja District and the Northern Territories. The inclusion of the Nawuris and the Nchumurus in the Oti Region would renew their historical connections and would make the Nawuris and Nchumurus feel at home with their kinsmen

5. Linguistically, the Nawuris and Nchumurus, landowners of Kpandai District are Guans akin to the Nkonya of Biakoye, the Buem of Jasikan, the Atwode of Nkwanta South and the Krachi who are found everywhere from Dambai through Chinderi to Krachi. Forming one region with this cluster of Guan groups is not only linguistically appropriate, but also it would forge a sense of unity of purpose of mid-Volta Guan ethnic groups for the development of their region in all aspects of life.

6. In the 1990s, Northern Ghana grappled with ethnic conflicts of different magnitude. The Nawuri-Nchumuru-Gonja conflict was one of such conflicts which broke out in 1991 over allodial rights to lands in present-day Kpandai District. The conflict ravaged Nawuri and Nchumuru settlements and destroyed lives and properties. During and after the armed encounters between the Nawuris, Nchumurus and Gonjas, various attempts were made to resolve the conflict. Traditional authorities, the Government, local and international NGOs jumped into the ‘conflict resolution wagon’ and took turns in three successive attempts, though unsuccessfully, to resolve the conflict. The conflict seemed intractable and remains an albatross as attempts to resolve it did not yield the results desired. For over two and a half decades after the conflict, no definite peace treaty has been concluded between the Nawuris and the Nchumurus on the one hand and the Gonja on the other. Nawuri-Nchumuru-Gonja relations are still not normalized. For the sake of peace and security, it would be imprudent to place the Nawuris and the Nchumurus in a region dominated by Gonjas or one in which the Gonjas would have a considerable political clout. The news of the creation of new regions in Ghana has come at the right time since it can be utilized to solve the conundrum of the Nawuri-Nchumuru-Gonja conflict. We strongly believe that if the Kpandai District is carved out from the Northern Region and added to the Oti Region, it would totally annihilate Gonja influence in the District, which would naturally ensure peace and bring an end to the conflict. From the point of view of expediency, it would be unwise for the Kpandai District to be included in the proposed Gonjaland or Eastern Corridor Region since it would seem to be a conscious effort by government to subjugate us and make us eternal subordinates of Gonjas. This may amount to political blunder which would have serious repercussions on security and the political/electoral fortunes of the government.

7. Geographically, Nawuris and Nchumurus live in the same climatic conditions as the other districts in the proposed Oti Region. Together we produce yam cassava and other similar crops in very large quantities. In addition, the distance between Kpandai District and the likely capital of the proposed Gonjaland Region does not make it prudent for the District to be added to the region. The distance between Kpandai and Damongo and Buipe, the likely towns that could be chosen as capital of the Gonjaland Region, is approximately 330km and 280km respectively. This is a long distance to traverse in an area where the roads are deplorable and sometimes impassable during the rainy season. Comparatively, Kpandai District is closer to Nkwanta, Krachi, Dambai, Kadjebi and Jasikan, one of which is likely to be the capital of the Oti Region. In fact, the distance between Kpandai and Nkwanta, Krachi, Dambai, Kadjebi and Jasikan is approximately 112km, 87km, 174km and 165km, respectively. On the basis of geographical advantage, it is reasonable to include the Kpandai District in the Oti Region.

8. Our lands are inhabited by other ethnic groups such as Konkombas, Basaris, Kotokolis, Ewes and Akan groups. Since the 1920s when the Konkombas and the Basaris arrived in our lands, our relations with them have been cordial. Similarly, we have established good rapport with all other immigrant ethnic groups, which has been cemented with inter-marriage and cultural tolerance. The good rapport with the immigrants was not only restricted to social matters; it was manifested in political matters as well. In the 1940s, the immigrant ethnic groups were given representation on the native authority in our area, the Alfai Native Authority. Similarly, from the 1950s to the 1980s, the immigrants obtained representation, occupied prominent positions and played vital roles in the Alfai Local Council. In fact, since 1992 when the Fourth Republican Constitution was introduced in Ghana, an ethnic Konkomba has been the Member of Parliament for the Kpandai Constituency. These immigrant ethnic groups inhabit the districts and constituencies in mid-Volta in large numbers. For instance, the Konkomba and the Basari are the majority in Nkwanta North, Nkwanta South, Krachi-Nchumuru and Krachi East. Similarly, there are appreciably large populations of the Kotokoli and Akan groups in almost all the districts and constituencies in mid-Volta. These ethnic groups support our petition for inclusion in the Oti Region. In fact, they are enthusiastic about joining Oti Region because they are confident that it would help them to reconnect with their kinsmen in the region and benefit more with their interactions and cooperation s with them.

9. Finally, there are some Nawuri and Nchumuru settlements in Nkwanta South, Nkwanta North and Krachi-Nchumuru. An inclusion of the Kpandai District in the Oti Region would help the Nawuris and the Nchumurus to reunite with their kinsmen in present-day Volta Region.

It is our hope that our petition would be considered and that our lands (Kpandai District) would be included in the Oti Region. Long live our dear nation GHANA, long live your government, long live Your Excellency.

Thank You.
Nana Bristian Okorei Atorsah I
(Kpandai Wura)
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Nana Matorjimile
(Balai Wuri)
……………………………….

Nana Okumanqui I
(Nkanchina Wura)
……………………………

Nana Abunya
(Kabonwule Wura)
……………………………

Nana Ajabasu
(Katiejeli Wura)
………………………………

Nana Denkeri
(Kitare Wura)
……………………………

Nana Ntameleso
(Njare Wura)
………………………

Nana Obrimpong Friko I
(Dodoai Wura
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Nana Akiteyi Lempo
(Bladjai Odikuro)
…………………

Nana Binyigni II
(Nanjuro Owure)
…………………………

Obrise Kanyabui Kwaku
(Bakamba Odikuro)
…………………

Nana Obuideng II
(Kojoboni Owure)
………………………….

Nana Kofi Wuram II
(Lonto Owure)
………………………..

Nana Koriwura II
( Kpajai Owure)
……….………………

Obrise Kwame Carpenter
(Kumdi Odikuro)
………………………

Nana Ayuriyi II
(Wiae Owure)
……………………..

Nana Kinyarida I
(Kachinki Owure)
……………………………….

Nana Bandamonto I
(Jambuae Owure)
…………………………..

Nana Kofi Akpamang II
(Kabeso Owure)
…………………………..

Obrise Katrapo Bawa
(Chakori Odikuro)
………………………..

Obrise Kwesi Aburi
(Bombari Odikuro)
…………………………………….

Nana Okimanyi Ochefari Atamafo I
(Gurbi Quarters Owure)
………………………….

Obrise Ntesenyaba
(Kumonise Odikuro)
………………………………

Nana Tam I
(Jarai Owure)

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