The chiefs and people of Dagbon, at the weekend, moved a giant step further on the road map towards achieving sustainable peace in the Dagbon Kingdom when the leadership of the Abudu Royal Family joined the Andani Royal Family in the installation of the Gbang-Lana (Regent) of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II at a colourful ceremony in Yendi.
The Gbang-Lana, Kamkanpuya-Na Abdulai Andani, 41, is the eldest son of the late Overlord.
With his successful enskinment, the Gbang-Lana will now manage the affairs of the Dagbon Kingdom in consultation with the Kuga-Na and the Council of Elders made up of representatives of both the Andani and Abudu Royal Families until a substantive Ya-Na is enskinned.
The ceremony was marked with pomp and pageantry, interspersed with the incessant firing of musketry by people who had accompanied their chiefs from far and near to the gathering.
Proceedings were conducted without any reported incidence of violence. As a result, the heavily armed security personnel were virtually on “holiday”.
They, however, had a hectic time in controlling the milling crowd at the ceremony grounds near the Gbewaa Palace.
The ceremony began at about 3:20 p.m. when the Kamkanpuya-Na, dressed in royal regalia with a walking stick to match, was introduced to the chiefs, elders and government officials and thousands of people from all walks of life who had thronged the traditional capital of Yendi to catch a glimpse of the eldest son of the last Ya-Na.
And as he walked majestically outside the temporary palace, the royal gong-gong beaters and “gonje” (traditional folk instruments) players struggled for space to display their dexterity over their respective instruments.
The Mion Lana, Ziblim Abdulai, led the Abudu Family delegation, which included the Nanton Na, Sulemana Alhassan and the Bamvim Lana, Mahama Abdulai.
The Interior Minister, Papa Owusu Ankomah, also led the government delegation that included the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr Ernest Debrah, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Madam Rita Tani Iddi, and the Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Boniface Abubakari Saddique.
The Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, and the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Mr Gordon Wetherell, also graced the occasion.
The Kpembewura of the Gonja Traditional Area, Alhaji Haruna Kabisi, led a delegation from the Yagbonwura.
Thousands of men and women from most parts of the country, resplendent in white T-shirts and handkerchiefs with the picture of the former king embossed on them were also present.
Others also sported immaculate smocks of all sizes and colours. They danced to the variety of melodious tunes from the “lunsi” and “gonje” beats and strings.
There were also tourists who had come to savour the rich Dagbon customs and tradition associated with the occasion .
The successful entombment of the late King and the installation of his regent constitute the foundation of the agreement reached between the Committee of Eminent Chiefs and the representatives of the two royal families in pursuance of efforts to find sustainable peace to the age-old Dagbon chieftaincy crisis.
The road map was agreed upon at the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi on March 29 and 30, 2006.
At the ceremony, President John Agyekum Kufuor urged the people of Dagbon, particularly the two gates in the Chieftaincy divide, not to circumvent the road map to peace.
He said that the significant progress so far made, including the successful entombment of the late Overlord, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, and the subsequent installation of the Gbang-Lana (Regent), Kamkanpuya-Na Abdulai Andani, marked the re-birth of the Dagbon Kingdom.
In a speech read on his behalf, President J. A. Kufuor observed that the processes involved in the road map to peace in Dagbon was a noble initiative that would ultimately help to unite the people for the accelerated development of the area.
“Let us, therefore, not do anything to undermine the process as it would mark a step backwards the achievement of lasting peace in Dagbon; you must, therefore, be mindful of your utterances in order not to breach the peace,” the President stated.
He entreated the regent to listen to counsel from his elders and avoid taking advice from people who would instigate him to breach the peace process.
“I hope Allah would give you self-restraint, moral uprightness and confidence to undertake the task ahead,” President Kufuor added.
He commended the people of Dagbon and the two gates in the chieftaincy divide for embracing the peace process so far, adding that, “the presence of both Gates here this afternoon is a sign that they have embraced the roadmap to peace and the memorandum of understanding (MoU)”.
The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Saddique, observed that the installation “marked the second important milestone on the road map to peace in Dagbon”.
He, therefore, appealed to the youth in Tamale and Yendi to bury their differences in order to promote peace in Dagbon.
The minister equally urged the regent to ensure unity, reconciliation and peace in Dagbon.
He commended the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, the leadership of the two gates and traditional rulers in Dagbon for their tireless efforts at adhering to the peace process.
The Kamkanpuya-Na, in a speech read on his behalf, expressed appreciation to all stakeholders whose collective efforts had brought about the breakthrough in the peace process.
“May I hasten to add that the wave of euphoria that has greeted the announcement of the road map and the success chalked up so far in implementing it should not blind us to the realities ahead,” he cautioned.