VAGLA Chiefdoms/ VAGLA Chieftaincy System (KORA WIA)

References VAGLA Chiefdoms VAGLA Chieftaincy System KORA WIA
JUN 1, 2023 LISTEN

Vagla Tribe is the first of the Gonja Tribes to have settled or occupied the current Gonjaland with the largest numbers in Westen Gonja and some in the Central Gonja enclaves. The Vagla Tribe as the first of the Gonja Tribes to have occupied the current Gonjaland remains on the land as the Custodians. Several tribes made incursions and many battles were fought but the Vagla Tribe maintain their positions on the land. The Vagla Tribe lived together with other Gonja Tribes namely Safalba, Choriba and Nomee in Western Gonja for over two centuries before other Gonja tribes arrived. The last Gonja tribe to have arrived is the Ngbanya who settled with the Vagla Tribe. The Ngbanya Tribe came late and actively settled in the 17th Century and has since lived with the Vagla.Tribe. The Ngbanya Tribe leader (Sumaila Jakpa) met a powerful Chief in Beel (Bole) whose name was Koro Bamara Kaba who was popularly known as KORO BAMARA under whose expressed consent the Ngbanya were welcome to Beel (which is currently spelt Bole). There was fierce resistance but resolved through the active role of the mother of the Chief of Beel (Bole). This resulted in a form of ‘barter trade’ exchange of goods between the aborigines of the land (the Vagla Tribe) and the newly arrived people who called themselves (the Ngbanya Tribe/people). The Vagla Tribe continues to be the Custodians of the Land with the Ngbanya Chiefs (the Wuras).

The founder of the GREAT VAGLA NATION is known for his powers and bravery. The Vagla founder is believed to have moved from the Sissala Land (Isala) in the Upper part of the North which today falls under the Upper West Region. The Vagla Founder moved towards the South from Sissala Land. The first place he settled is known as Jang. The Vagla Founder met no person in the area and has lived in Jang for centuries. The leader of the Vagla Tribe who brought them from the Sissala Land is known as Yaa Koro Bamara Luurge Wiizi-Apar. He is known in Vagla history as the Founder of the Vagla Nation. The Vagla Nation became great with expansion and discoveries of territories. The Vagla Tribe founder is often referred to as the Yaa Koro Wiizi-Apar. Yaa Koro Wiizi-Apar is a great leader and the Founder of Jang and the Vagla Tribe for that matter the VAGLA NATION.

Vagla is spelt differently including these versions Vagella, Vagela, Vagala among others. The right spelling is VAGLA who are the aborigines (indigenous tribe) in the extreme Western Gonja in Northern Ghana. The Vagla Chieftaincy System is one of the best Chieftaincy systems in Northern Ghana. The uniqueness of the VAGLA Chieftaincy system is by virtue of the principle of seniority in terms of their settlement and the establishment of their Chieftaincy System known as VAGLA CHIEFDOM (‘VAGLA KORA WIA’). The beautiful principle of the Vagla Chieftaincy system is based on the principle of ‘the first among equals’ ( primus inter pares). This means that the community that settles first is respected as a Senior to the newly established community and the Chiefs see themselves as equal in terms of decision-making at meetings (One Vote) at Council and each Chief has a jurisdiction in which the Chief has total control and has his sub-chiefs and elders. This implies each village has a Chief with the title Koro and the Senior Koro has subchiefs and elders. Hence the establishment of three Chiefdoms (Kor Zen, Kor Zen-ni and Kor- Jiga).


The Vagla Chieftaincy System (Kora Wia) is classified into three namely Kor-Zen, Kor-Zen-Ni and Kor-Jiga respectively for the Upper Chiefdom (Paramountcy), the Middle Chiefdom (Divisional Paramountcy) and Lower Chiefdom (Sub-chiefs) of Vagla Chieftaincy System which is also known as the Vagla Chiefdoms. There are several Vagla Chiefdoms in the Vagla Nation State of the Savannah Region of Ghana. The oldest of the Vagla Chiefdom is JANG CHIEFDOM. This was the first Chiefdom that was established when the Vagla Tribe moved from their Homeland of Sissalaland. This makes JANG KORO the Senior Most of all the Vagla Traditional Chiefs in the entire Vagla Nation-State. The other Senior Most Chiefdoms or Senior Most Vagla Traditional Chiefs are Kunlog Heuhin, Dagbigu Koro, Beel Koro, Dabori Heuhin, and Chorbang Koro. These communities were established after Jang. As such the communities and their Chiefs represent Kor-Zen among others. It is important to note that there are others not listed.

The Jang Chiefdom has its unique structure, the same applies to Kunlog, Dagbigu, Beel, Dabori and Chorbang. Other prominent Vagla Chiefdoms were established afterwards. A few prominent Chiefdoms/Chiefs from Kunlog-Gindaabol Koro, Dagbigu-Tuna Koro/Sanyeri Koro/Sawla Koro etc; Beel-Sakpa Koro among others. The Vagla Chieftaincy is one of the oldest in the North of Ghana and it has a beautiful structure based on occupation or settlement patterns of communities and the hierarchy of the patterns of establishment of Vagla Chiefdoms. It is also important to note that the VAGLA NATION-STATE is made of four NATIONS namely Vagla, Safalba, Choriba and the Nomee/Batigee. Thus, the four Nations formed the NATION-STATE. Writings shall cover each of the NATIONS with their chiefdoms and successions among other areas in later writing This piece of information specifically covers only the BEEL CHIEFDOM.

Beel (Bole) is one of the oldest Vagla Chiefdoms to have been established by the powerful and the legendary First Chief of Beel (Bole) known as Koro Bamara Kpee. From the time of Koro Bamara Kpee to the current generation (21st Century) is over 600 hundred years. This rich legacy and Chiefdom remain in place in the town of Beel (Bole). The Vagla Tribe resisted many tribes from the South (towards Bono Manso) and others from the West (towards the Black Volta-Ivory Coast) and some incursions from the East (largely the Black Dagombas). All these incursions happened several centuries without any defeat or displacement from the Land the Vagla Tribe occupied first when they moved from their Homeland (Sissala/Grusi enclaves). This historical fact makes the Vagla Tribe Aborigines of Gonja and Northern Ghana. This is an incontestable fact on the origins of the First Gonja Tribe (Vagla) in Gonjaland. Also, the Vagla Tribe left the Sissaland with other Sister Tribes namely the Tampulma and the Mo. Hence, the alliance between the Vagla Tribe and the Tampulma and Mo. The Vagla Tribe shares land boundaries with the Tampulma (Lengbensi/Tari/Singa area) in the East and the Mo Tribe in the South (Bamboi/Jama area). Thus, the similarities in the three tribes’ Chieftaincy Systems and their Titles. All used Koro.

The Vagla Traditional Chiefs originally used the title: Koro. So, the traditional Chiefs of these towns are called Beel Koro, Chorbang Koro, Sakpa Koro among others in the Vagla South. But with time some communities and areas pronounce and spell it with these other versions Kori/Koori/Kuoro. The standard title of the Traditional Chiefs in Vagla Chiefdoms remains Koro. There are few Vagla Communities whose Traditional Chiefs are the Sacred ones who exclusively used the title: Heuhin. These few communities are Kunlog (currently spelt Jelinkon), Dabori, Nakwabi as the principal towns among others in Western Gonja. So, the Traditional Chiefs of the three principal towns/villages are called Kunlog Heuhin, Dabori Heuhin and Nakwabi Heuhin. These three towns are in Vagla Central of Vagla Nation-State embedded in the Gonja State.

As mentioned earlier the first Traditional Chief of Beel is Beel Koro Bamara Kpee whose clan are based in Korubol (a royal suburb of Beel (Bole). Besides the First Chief of Beel (Bole) in over 600 years ago, another powerful Chief of Beel emerged in the late 16th Century with the name Koro Bamara Kaba. This was the Chief of Beel who witnessed the arrival of the strange people across the Black Volta and from the South direction through Sakpa. They were strange people from their looks and from the lens of the Beel People. These so-called strange people later called themselves Ngbanya with their leader- Sumaila Jakpa. Since the Koro Bamara Kaba era, many other Chiefs of Beel ruled. It is worth noting that many of the chiefs that rule Beel (Bole) hail from Korubol the descendants of the first Chief of Beel (Bole) as Koro Bamaa Kpee and Koro Bamara Kaba, Koro Bamara Luurge among other Chiefs of the Bamara descent in Beel Chiefdom.

A vacancy was created in Beel following the demise of Beel Koro of the Zambol Clan. This paved way for the Korubol Clan, who helped the Zambol Clan or Zambol people to perform the funeral rite of the late Koro Samanka by performing the right rites in line with the Vagla traditions and customs. After the one-year final funeral rites of Koro Samnka were performed and declared over a search for a new Chief of Beel started. Then the Korobol Clan which dominated the Beel Chiefdom for centuries gathered first at Korubol in search of a new Chief. They again met at Chorbang with other Korubol people, and later met in Sawla in search of a candidate. The elders of the Korubol all gathered at the Koro Bamara Dignzen in Korubol and perform the necessary rites which went in favour of SAMPOH DANGBA from the Korubol clan of Beel. This was with the endorsement and with the Blessings of the Korubol Family of Sawla and supported by those in Chorbang. Thus, the Korubol Clan presented him to the Prominent Chief/Priest (Beel Heuhin) based in Balbol. Beel Heuhin in the absence of Beel Koro presides over Vagla Chiefdom of Beel. For this reason, Beel Heuhin declared SAMPOH DANGBA as the legitimate heir to Beel Skin.

The Beel Koro-Elect went through a period of confinement, and rites before the enskinment took place from May 2-4, 2023. After the enskinment, he was carried on shoulders as per Vagla Chieftaincy practice from the Sacred Mount of enskinment to the Sacred House (Koro Bamara Dignzen at Korubol. The newly enskinned Chief of Beel is with the skin name/title: Beel Koro Donweh Bamara XV. May Koro Bamara XV’s reign be a blessing to the people of Beel (Bole)!