Will my inner self and urge allow me to remain silent on recent developments in Dagbon? As the elderly Dagbamba (corrupted as Dagomba) say, ‘when a short man goes to the dancing floor he must not conceal his beard’, it is clearly difficult to conceal my happiness and to remain silent.
Dagbon became a laughing stock following the unfortunate dastardly act of 2002. It destroyed marriages. It is without a doubt that the crises shook the foundations of the Dagbon traditional state. Family members became enemies. Mutual suspicion became normal. Distrust among kin and kith was commonplace.
Unfortunately, some religious men and women who could ideally help resolve the crises, unfortunately, became embroiled in it. They could no longer be trusted. Their words could equally no longer be taken seriously because of their perceived, and indeed, real alignment to the two feuding parties; Abudu and Andan royal gates.
Innocent people either lost their jobs or were denied job opportunities for the simple reason that they were Dagbamba; an identity not of their own making. In view of this, many people wished they could change their identity. Sad but real!
Media reports from the area were almost always for bad reasons. Facts were most often misrepresented and/or misreported. Even when skirmishes occurred out of the Dagbon traditional area, the report was expectedly skewed to the doorsteps of Dagbon. Some of us made efforts to correct this. Even though it was difficult, some editors listened to some of our cries, and righty effected changes. Others refused ostensibly because it was after all ‘Dagbon the trouble spot’.
People who were so ignorant about Dagbon, and the crises, suddenly became ‘commentators’ and/or experts on Dagbon. Some ignorantly made derogatory and uninformed comments about the crisis. They forgot that ‘travellers in boats should not laugh at the dead’, and that conflicts are inevitable part of the human society, however how they are managed are key.
Developments came in slowly instead of in leaps and bounds. Sadly, politics which have historically been part of the conflict, once again took centre stage. The negative effects are endless.
Generally, ‘whoever burns his hair will smell the scent’. Dagombas burnt their own hair, and so had to smell the scent for many years. Many Dagbamba resignedly accepted the ‘insults’ because a slain cow does not fear a knife. Indeed, ‘whatever happens in the next world is caused by death’.
Thankfully, and hopefully, through many years of back-and-forth mediation efforts, albeit with teething challenges, God has heard the ceaseless cry of the people of Dagbon. Today, Dagbon has a new Ya-Na in the person of His Royal Highness Mahama Abukari II, the Lion King.
Undoubtedly, the new King has inherited Dagbon in ruins, and this should guide the stewardship of the Lion King. As Dagbon and the nation as a whole celebrates this feat, a lot more efforts need to be made to return Dagbon to its glorious enviable past, and to bring development to this oldest kingdom in Ghana, which for many years eluded the people. I briefly highlights some of these in this short article.
The current peace is but fragile, and should not be taken for granted. It should be judiciously guarded. Until burning bush fires are at the end, grasshoppers do not congratulate each other on their good luck. For a monkey will only carry its baby only when there is peace.
The fact that some few recalcitrant individuals ‘attacked’ the Gbewaa palace during his customary installation on the 18th of January, 2019, shows what could be in stock security-wise. It shows that when you are loved by God, you must not lay your head on the cross-roads.
This unfortunate action happened despite the presence of security personnel, and several joyous Dagbon citizens. The action by this naughty youth, which unfortunately led to one death and two arrests, shows that ‘but for the feathers of the fowl one could not distinguish a black fowl from a white one’. The death and arrests particularly confirm that ‘God denied the ass horns because of its evil intentions’.
Within the short term, the presence of the security in the Yendi area should be maintained. Within the medium to long terms, it will not be out of place for the state to establish a military base in Yendi or any location within the eastern side of the northern region.
The Committee of Eminent Chief’s role should not end with the installation of the new Ya-Na. It is important that the committee continuous to work behind the scenes to further ‘entrench’ the feat so far chalked.
Besides this, even though the wisdom of the new Ya-Na is undoubted, members of the Committee should still extend their advisory wisdoms beyond their traditional territories to the new Dagbon overlord.
Working to bring the two regents to understand that ‘leadership is all about people’ is important. When you are sitting on a branch of a tree, you don’t cut it. They have important roles to play in the healing, reconciliation and unity process.
It is clear that this is not going to be easy. However no matter how difficult, it is doable. If a walking stick is long, there is always an appropriate place to hold it, the elderly Dagbamba says. Also, ‘the prayer of a Dagbana is to get involved with a righteous cause because once involved there is no turning back’. There should not be a turning back on reconciliation, peace and development, and the two regents have immense roles in ensuring that.
The process could be long, frustrating and daunting, but with patience, determination and unalloyed commitment, it is possible. Dagbon will be happy to see these two royal bloods not only shake hands in public as a demonstration of their commitment, like their late fathers did in the 1980s, but to walk hand-in-hand.
Also, beyond their congratulatory messages to the new Overlord, the two regents must demonstrate in action, their loyalty to their grandfather the King, and to the unity and development of Dagbon. They must understand that ‘it is a man of patience who succeeds to the chieftainship of his father’ and that ‘patience has profit, anger has nothing’.
The new King’s comments have so far been that of courage, hope and commitment to the unity and development of Dagbon. This is an ample demonstration to Dagbamba elders’ wise counsel that ‘the name of a market is given to it on the day of its establishment’
To unite Dagbon, the new Ya-Na must match his comments with action, and from this, the people of Dagbon will emulate him since ‘a kid learns how to eat by watching the mouth of its mother’.
People will come knocking on his door for both good and bad reasons. People will scheme to manipulate him to fester their selfish interests, including the political class. Beware of this my new King!
I am optimistic that His Royal Highness Ya-Na Mahama Abukari II, will give good listening ears to all. However, he should always endeavour to sieve the good from the chaff. He must live beyond reproach. It is hoped that he will be fair and firm in his decisions.
Finally, a single finger, as the saying goes, cannot pick a stone. For the new King to succeed, he requires the commitments of the people of Dagbon, and beyond. The principle of ‘I am because we are, and since we are, therefore I am’ should guide the behaviours and conducts of all, especially the youth. Let us all be guided by the age-old Dagbamba wise saying that ‘to play with our king is to play with the claws of thunderbolt’.
Let the Lion Roar once again!
Let the Akarima, the musician at the court of the Ya-Na sound the Timpane!
Dagbon must rise and shine!
Long live Dagbon!
Long live the new Ya-Na Mahama Abukari II!
Long live Ghana our motherland!
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