The sages say peace is like a galloping horse. When it stops by your gate you better quickly jump on it or it will gallop away to return no more. As for my late old man who died at the age of 102 years, he told me, that peace is like a camel, if it kneels down, you better jump on it else when it stands up you will find it difficult to climb it. My old man told me a story of a man who once lived in the village where he (my father) was born. He said the man had four children who had different qualifications.
One was a medical doctor, one was a military officer, the other was a successful farmer who knows the forest very well and the other was a zoologist who knows everything about birds and animals. He said one day, the old man invited all his children to dine with him because he was getting old and needed to interact with them before he died. When they started eating and drinking in the morning, a little bird came and perched on a tree situated in the middle of the compound house and started singing allowed but nobody took notice of it. As it was getting to dusk, one of the children saw the bird which had grown so huge. He pointed to the bird and asked one of his brothers to tell him the name of the bird because he had not seen a bird which was so huge like the one on the tree before.
None of them was able to name the bird and when they asked the old man he said the name of the bird was 'Asem” (trouble). The old man explained that when trouble comes to your house you better drive it away early because when you allow it to grow, you will find it difficult to drive it away because it will not be able to pass through the gate.
When the Dagbon trouble started some years ago, then president Kufuor quickly set up the Justice Wuaku Commission to look into the matter. The Commission sat in Sunyani for several months and submitted their report to the president who also constituted another committee of eminent chiefs, led by the Otumfuor Asantehene to go into the matter. Series of meetings were held at the Manhyia Palace where both the Abudus and Andanis participated. A road map was designed to see to it that peace returned to Dagbon. To start with, the committee of eminent chiefs recommended that a new palace was built to accommodate the wives and children of the late Yaa Naa who was gruesomely murdered during the fighting. That was done by the Kufuor administration.
When the NPP lost the 2008 elections and late President Fiifi Atta Mills took over power, the road map was closed to traffic and nobody cared about 'asem'. Because former president Rawlings said that he knew those who murdered the overlord of Dagbon, the Andani youth put pressure on the Mills/Mahama administration to take action. Unable to bare the heat in the kitchen, the Mills/Mahama administration ordered the security apparatus to move to Yendi to arrest suspected murderers of the Yaa Naa.
One day the security officers moved to Yendi at dawn and arrested more than fifty inhabitants, mostly Abudus, including a seventy five year old man, drove them all the way to Bimbilla where they were screened and some released while more than twenty of the remaining were whisked to Accra. In Accra, the suspects were locked up in different cells and later arranged before court and charged with murder. Finally, the court ruled that all the suspects were not guilty and were acquitted and discharged. Hell broke loose at Tamale where the NDC youth of the Andani faction went berserk, burnt down the NDC Regional party office and threatened to march to Accra to show the judges where power lied
I am traveling down memory lane because most of the young men and women in this country were born too late to understand the story. If you don't know where you are coming from, you will not know where you are going. That is why I always insist that I admire historians because they always look back.
During the 2012 and 2016 electioneering campaign, anytime candidate Nana Akufo Addo went to Yendi to campaign, he told the chiefs and people of that ancient town that he was neither an Abudu nor an Andani not to talk of being a Dagomba. He insisted that all what he wanted was peace for the people so that he could bring development to the area when voted into power. By the grace of He who delivered Israel, Ghanaians voted for Nana Addo in 2016.
Immediately Nana Addo held the reins of power, the first thing he did was to appeal to the Committee of Eminent Chiefs to go back to work in order to bring peace to the people of Dagbon. Otumfuor and his team heeded to the call and started their work again.
It was not an easy task but the Committee of Eminent Chiefs persevered and at the end of the day, a regent was enskined at Yendi. The funeral of the late Yaa Naa Abdulai was successfully performed, followed by the funeral of the late Yakubu Andani. The most difficult task which faced the Committee of Eminent Chiefs was the enskinment of a new Yaa Naa. Several consultations were made and at the end of the day, Yaa Naa Abukari Mahama II was enskinned amidst pomp and pageantry. Both the Abudus and Andanis joined in the celebration and President Akufo Addo was enskinned as Abudani I
Last week when the Damba festival was celebrated, both the Abudus and Andanis joined in the celebration unlike previous years where they celebrated the festival differently. When President Nana Akufo Addo took to the floor to dance with the new Yaa Naa, I was hunched with emotion. A new chapter has been opened and the mighty Dagbon Kingdom has taken its place in the comity of great kingdoms.
Now that the Dagbon peace has been signed, sealed and delivered, the next thing to do is for both sides to watch out for persons who will like to reverse the peace for their selfish interest. During the troubled days, some indigenes of Dagbon benefited hugely and such persons are still lurking in the dark, ready to knock heads together. Security officers who are stationed at Yendi should not take things for granted. They should try to nip every impending trouble in the bud before it escalates. It has been a very hard road to travel and so we should not sit down for a few hotheads to turn the apple cart upside down.
By Eric Bawah
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