PRESS STATEMENT BY THE ROYAL ANDANI FAMILY IN RESPONSE TO ONE ISSUED BY THE ROYAL ABUDU FAMILY ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN DAGBON AND MATTERS ARISING THEREOF
Date: Tuesday 28th March 2006
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.
You are most cordially welcome to this meeting at which we will present to you our response to the issues, which members of the Abudu Royal Family raised in a similar Statement presented to the press at Yendi on Saturday 18th March 2006.
It is a matter of deep regret that our cousins from the Abudu Royal Family have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing since March 27th 2002 when they and their aids launched an unprovoked attack on the Gbewaa palace for three consecutive days, leading to the murder of Ndan Ya-Naa Yakubu II and other members of our family. It is amazing to note how unrepentant they have been, allowing no good judgment to moderate their actions. Their language continues to be vitriolic and full of deliberate lies calculated to confuse the good people of this country that may unfortunately not know the facts of the present crisis that we have on our hands. The issues they raised in their Statement were obviously in reaction to the programme forwarded to the Committee of Eminent Chiefs by Kuga-Naa in consultation with our family for the burial of Ya-Naa Yakubu II and the installation of his Regent and a letter written by Kuga-Naa castigating the Abudu Royal Family and their aids for openly obliterating our custom. It is our prayer that nobody in the civilized world has been hoodwinked by the deliberate lies in their Statement.
''THE KUGA-NA'S ALLEDGED ACTING PRESIDENCY AND CUSTODIANSHIP''
The views expressed by the Abudu Royal Family under this caption openly maligned the office and person of the Kuga-Na who is the Vice-President of the Dagbon Traditional Council and currently acting as the President of that council.
It should be clear to our cousins from the Abudu Royal Family that the revered and time-tested customs of Dagbon, which have been bequeathed to us by our forebears, cannot be at the discretion of any opportunist.
It is not for any one (Abudu Or Andani) to pronounce his version of the custom and insist that it should be followed. The office of the Kuga-Na is far older than both the Andani and Abudu Royal Families. How Kuga-Na has to run the affairs of his office and indeed those of Dagbon in general cannot be at the dictates of any individual. Every occupant of the Kuga Skin is properly groomed from infancy and has absolute knowledge of the modus operandi of that office as the most Senior and important custodian of the Dagbon Custom. His position, role, authority and actions cannot and should not be at the behest of any ambitious prince or politician as seen in our contemporary lives.
If our cousins from the Abudu Royal Family have continued to show a penchant for attacking the office of the Kuga-Na and his person, it is understandable. They are obviously disenchanted about his steadfastness in upholding the truth and refusal to be cowed in the face of excessive political pressure.
Our cousins from the Abudu Royal Family have always sought to introduce iniquities into our custom to gain unfair advantage. We recall the ill-fated Selection Committee of eleven members, which they illegally introduced in 1948 and used in 1953. The traditional King-makers, headed by the Kuga-Na resisted this wicked scheme which was to ensure the total and permanent exclusion of the Andani Royal Family from the contest for the office of Ya-Na.
Now, obviously disgruntled at Kuga-Na's resolve not to be swayed from the truth, they have declared their disregard for him and his office. They believe that he represents the interest of the Andani Royal Family and has ''lost the credibility as an honest and impartial broker in the conflict''. This is obviously not an honest assessment of the Kuga-Na. He is the grandfather of all princes and chiefs of Dagbon. He is truthful, honest and neutral. His only offence to the Abudu Royal Family and their cronies, for which reason they have selected to renounce his authority of late, is the fact that he has remained steadfast in his defence of the true custom of Dagbon.
That the Kuga-Na is Acting President of the Dagbon Traditional Council is incontrovertible. This is a fact nobody can dismiss. He is neutral, honest and truthful. We in Andani Royal Family will continue to recognise his leadership role as the custodian of the custom of Dagbon and the Acting President of the Dagbon Traditional council. Perhaps the Dagbon, which our cousins talked about in their Statement, is another Dagon. It is a matter of deep concern that the Chiefs and elders of the Abudu Royal Family seem to relegate themselves to the background, allowing their misguided youth to publicly malign our time-tested custom and tradition. They and their youth should either put up with the truth or shut up.
The attempt to place the Gushie-Na above the Kuga-Na is one of the latest desperate moves of our cousins from the Abudu Royal Family. The Kuga-Na has always been and would remain the leader of Dagbon elders.
If the Gushie-Na led Dagbon chiefs and princes to Mamprugu for the Nayiri to arbitrate in the matter of selecting a successor to Na Gungobli, this does not make him the head of the elders of Dagbon. The Gushie-Na was only sent and placed at the head of the delegation to Mamprugu. Why is the Gushie-Na not the Vice-President of the Dagbon Traditional Council?. In what circumstance would any reasonable person suggest that the speaker of Parliament in Ghana today is higher than the Vice-President?. It is an act of great dishonesty and cruelty for our cousins to misrepresent facts, which were assembled at the Conference of Dagomba Chiefs in 1930. If the office of the Gushie-Na featured in the State Council and that of the Kuga-Na on the Judicial Council, it cannot be concluded that the former was senior.
Do our cousins want us to believe that all members of the State Council mentioned at that time such as Kworli-Na and Demon-Na are senior to the Kuga-Na?. This wicked move to debase the office and structures of the Kuga is an obvious farce.
BURIAL OF THE LATE YA-NA YAKUBU II
Our cousins have announced their welcome of the preparation to bury the Late Ya-Na Yakubu II but have failed to abandon their greedy and arrogant wishes. It is unfortunate that they continue to issue threats intended to force everyone to accept Mahamadu Abudulai as a deceased Ya-Na whose funeral rites must run parallel to that of Ya-Na Yakubu II. Nobody wants to ''Ignore and obliterate the Regency and memory'' of Mahamadu Abudulai in any way. The truth however remains and it must be said that Mahamadu Abudulai never became a Ya-Na in his lifetime. The Ollenu Committee of Inquiry declared his purported enskinment null and void. This declaration was upheld by the Highest Court of Appeal on this Land (the Supreme Court) when it set aside the ignominious judgement of the Appeal Court and essentially restored the findings of the Ollenu Committee of Inquiry.
The Supreme Court's ruling of December 17, 1986 therefore put to perpetual rest the dispute as to who was Ya-Na. Fortunately, Dagbon has had some living Former Ya-Naa before. These are: Bukari Tampion-Karigu, Bukari Bofo, and Dahamani Kurikarijee. All these three died as former Ya-Nas and nobody could imagine raising their funeral rites to levels and structures reserved for deceased Ya-Nas. Their funeral rites were not performed in the Gbewaa Palace. Why is Mahamadu Abudulai's case so special?. The view of the Andani Royal Family is that under Dagomba customs and traditions the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai is not a state funeral. It is entirely the business of his family. But the Andani Royal Family is willing to discuss with the Otumfuo Committee why the Andani Royal Family says that the funeral cannot be performed as a State funeral. We are unaware of any Memorandum of Agreement between our family and any person on the Yendi Skin dispute. If there is in fact, such an agreement it is null and void.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the press it is on record, and you may independently investigate this, that Bukari Bofo's sons were declared sons of a Ya-Na and that they could contest for skins reserved for the sons of Ya-Nas. Therefore if the Supreme court ordered that Mahamadu Abudulai is a former Ya-Na, and his sons duly qualify to contest for positions reserved for sons of Ya-Nas, this does not justify the performance of his funeral as that of a deceased Ya-Na. The right conferred on Mahamadu Abudulai's sons is not subject to the performance of his funeral as that of a deceased Ya-Na. There is the erroneous belief and this is calculated to achieve an end, that unless Mahamadu Abudulai's funeral rites are performed at the Gbewaa Palace his children cannot contest for the Skins reserved for the children of Ya-Nas.
Ladies and gentlemen, by our custom and tradition, Mahamadu Abudulai never became a Ya-Na. But the Supreme Court ordered that his children do qualify to contest for skins reserved for the sons of Ya-Na. These two issues must be seen in their true legal perspectives and should not be subjected to the whimsical interpretations of wicked princes, chiefs and their benefactors. Ascension to Gate Skins has never been a borne of contention at the Otumfuo Committee. The customary rule is that at any given time there should be an Abudu and an Andani occupying gate skins. This customary rule was confirmed by the Supreme Court in 1986.
In fact one of the structures for peace in Dagbon, the L.I.59, brought about a similar situation. Mion-Lana Andani (as he then was), failed in his bid to ensure the rightful diskinment of Ya-Na Abudulai-bila (father of Mahamadu Abudulai) in line with the E.A. Afari Commission's findings. After taking personal responsibility for reversing the Commissions findings, President Kwame Nkrumah ensured the passage of L.I.59, declaring inter alia that the sons of Mion-Lana Andani (as he then was) qualified to contest for skins reserved for the sons of Ya-Nas even if he died at Mion.
The whole of Abudu Royal Family and Andani Royal Family accepted this arrangement. If Ya-Na Andani III had died at Mion, would our cousins of Abudu Royal Family have allowed his Regent to be installed as a Regent of a Ya-Na? Would they have accepted to vacate the Gbewa Palace for his funeral rites to be performed there? They would obviously not have accepted this. Why do they want us to accept what they would not accept?
Our position and the simple incontestible truth is that it is only one Ya-Naa's funeral that is pending and that is that of the Late Overlord of Dagbon, Ya-Na Yakubu II. Those who think that they will sacrifice the time-tested Dagbon custom on the alter of Political expediency must think again. No amount of threats can sway us from the programmes that have been released by the Kuga-Na in consultation with our family. All those who are Dagombas and think that they have a stake in the burial and funeral rites of Ya-Na Yakubu II should join us.
The allegation by the Abudu Royal Family that the Kuga-Na and the Andani Royal Family have ignored them is not true. The late Ya-Na Yakubu II's funeral is a State funeral and all who deserve to be customarily informed by the appropriate traditional authorities would be informed. Until that happens nobody can invite any one outside the immediate family of the Late King for discussion of any matter related to the burial. Nobody should jump the gun. We believe that at the appropriate time, those who deserve to be informed would be informed. We are however making it emphatically clear that the programme for the burial and installation of the regent would not be abandoned in any circumstance and all should take note of this. The programme would be executed the way it has been published. No threats can stop us.
The Abudu Royal Family will wish that a funeral Committee be composed to preside over the burial of Ya-Na Yakubu II. We are indeed very surprised by this demand because the issue has already been dealt with at a meeting of the Otumfuo Committee. The decision was that the burial is entirely in the hands of the Andani Royal Family and Kuga-Na and this settles the matter.
The Abudu Royal Family alleges that the Committee of Eminent Chiefs have in place a ''Five-step programme in their roadmap to peace in Dagbon''. We are very clear in our minds that the Otumfuo Committee has so far not decided on a roadmap. What the Abudu Royal Family set out in t heir Statement to the press, as a roadmap is the wishful thinking of the Abudu Royal Family. This is diabolical and nonsense. It is dishonest for the Abudu Royal Family to ask us to return to the negotiation table of the Otumfuo Committee. The Andani Royal Family has never turned its back to the negotiation table of the Committee. Our family's view is that the Regent of Na-Yakubu II will be the appropriate customary dignitary to discuss any other thing with the Otumfuo Committee when he is installed after the father's burial.
We have taken not of the threat issued to us by the Abudu Royal Family in their Statement when they said that the Andani Royal Family will do what they intend to do at their own detriment. It remains to be seen what would become of this threat.
''ALLEGED VIOLATION OF DAGBON CUSTOM AND TRADITION''
We advise our cousins to learn to be truthful and stop writing and publishing deliberate falsehood about Dagbon Custom and Tradition. Why do they relish in substituting their wishes for our custom and tradition?
Ladies and Gentlemen, our cousins ought to recognise the truth that there cannot be another Dagbon with customs and traditions that run parallel to the Dagbon bequeathed to us by our ancestors. It cannot be gainsaid that history is replete with instances when disgruntled persons subverted established institutions to the detriment of cultures. We will not allow this to happen in Dagbon. It is a duty we will not abdicate.
The Kuga-Na's position as custodian and leader requires that he protects our cherished customs and he needs the support of every sane Dagomba to ensure this. Was it not wrong for members of the Abudu Royal Family to engage in the mock installation of the Regent of Gushiegu? It is not right for any person to install the regent of a chief who is a direct appointee of the Ya-Na without recourse to the office of the Ya-Na.
If that the family of the Late Gushie-Na B.A. Yakubu did receive the permission of the Late Ya-Na Yakubu II for the installation of his regent that permission became null and void after the murder of the Ya-Na. Is it not reasonable for the Kuga-Na to have asked the Late Gushie-Na's family to be patient in the face of the present state of Dagbon?.
If the late Gushie-Na's family and their sympathizers in Abudu Royal Family approached the Kuga-Na over the need to install the regent, it was because they knew and believed that the Kuga-Na, in the absence of the Ya-Na or his regent, was the appropriate person to customarily bless the ceremony.
It was after the late Gushie-Na's family was misled into going ahead with the illegal installation of the regent that Kuga-Na rightly described it and others that took place earlier as ''illegal and null and void''. He declared those regencies that way not because of Andani Royal Family but because they offended the custom and tradition of Dagbon.
It must be clear that Ya-Na Yakubu II never ''usurped the authority of Dagbon State'' as members of Abudu Royal Family declared in their Statement. Ironically, the chiefs of Bamvim, Mion and Nanton who are appointees of the Late Ya-Na Yakubu II presided over that meeting at which the Statement was read. Ya-Na Yakubu II was legitimately enskinned. Any one who calls him a usurper qualifies to be screened for a mental disorder.
May we take this opportunity to call upon our cousins from Abudu Royal Family to eschew the present arrogance they find themselves in and resist the temptation that always pushes them into telling blatant lies publicly to enhance their selfish interest.
Dagbon belongs to all of us (Abudu and Andani Royal Families). Let us protect our custom and traditions, which are so openly obliterated by wicked individual princes and their mentors that hold political authority. Truth will certainly triumph over falsehood in Dagbon.