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DAGBON REACHES FOR PEACE: END TO CENTURIES-OLD FEUD IN SIGHT

General News

Dagbon is set to regain its past glory with the enskinment of Mahama Abubakari II as the new Ya Naa after 17 years of protracted conflict between the two royal gates, Andanis and Abudus.

Dagbon is set to regain its past glory with the enskinment of Mahama Abubakari II as the new Ya Naa after 17 years of protracted conflict between the two royal gates, Andanis and Abudus.

 

At a colourful investiture ceremony on Friday attended by former President John Mahama, president of the National House of Chiefs Togbe Afede XIV and ministers of state, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo appealed to all sons and daughters of Dagbon to unite behind the new Ya Naa.

Speaking as the special guest of honour at the Gbewaa Palace in Yendi, the President urged everyone to give the new Ya Naa all the support he requires as he sets about to administer the affairs of the kingdom of Dagbon.

Man of peace

“Naa, I know you are a man of peace and unity,” the President said. “I know, from a few decisions you have taken since your selection as Ya Naa, that you are a man of reconciliation.

“I believe you are the man to reconcile Dagbon, and blunt the age-old rivalry of Abudu versus Andani, and put Dagbon back on the path to sustained progress and prosperity, as was envisaged by one of the greatest figures in the history of Dagbon, the 18th Ya Naa, Naa Zangina.”

He further described the enskinment as “a truly historic ceremony”, adding that it should be seen as an opportunity for unification after decades of conflict which brought in their wake death, destruction and retrogression of the Dagbon state.

“For me, as President of the Republic, I feel a sense of excitement because it is under my tenure of office that Dagbon, hopefully, finally, finds the path to lasting peace,” he said.

Doom-mongers

President Akufo-Addo cautioned the people of Dagbon to be mindful of the few who would not be happy with the new status quo.

A handful of malcontents who had benefited for a long time from the conflict would never want to see its end.

“We are not to rest on our oars and assume that every citizen of Dagbon is elated about the new peace and the enskinment of a new Yaa Na. Indeed, there is a new term for people who profit from conflict. They are called ‘conflict-preneurs’.

“We have to be resolute in warding off such people by strengthening the process of reconciliation amongst the people of Dagbon,” the President said.

“We are not to fear the strategy of our enemies but our own mistakes. Dagbon does not have to fear an external enemy. Dagbon is a great state, one of the most ancient traditional states of our history. It has survived many marauding forces and repelled many enemies.
“Dagbon can only be brought to its knees by internal malcontents, and it is our collective duty and in our collective interest to fend them off.”

Restoring Dagbon

President Akufo-Addo said the new-found peace in Dagbon is already bringing in its wake “good things”.

He announced that cabinet last week approved a $30 million water supply project that will replace the old and dilapidated water system in Yendi and its catchment area.

“My government is working to put in place the infrastructure that will allow us to exploit the iron ore deposits in Sheini. On the back of that exploitation, we shall put a railway line to run from Accra through the Volta Region and the new Oti Region and through Yendi to Burkina Faso,” President Akufo-Addo said.

The President anticipates the town will become a hub for trade and commerce upon completion of these projects. “This will bring considerable prosperity to the people of Yendi and help eradicate the poverty that gives the Northern Region the unenviable title of being one of the poorest regions of our country,” he said.

He assured the new Ya Naa that he would do everything in his power to assist him to administer Dagbon in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

“As I have said before, I am neither Abudu nor Andani: I am an ‘Abudani’, a person who stands for unity, reconciliation and progress in Dagbon,” he said.

Names in gold

The President once again commended the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, led by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, together with two members ‒ the overlord of Mamprugu, the Nayiri, Naa Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, and the overlord of Gonja, the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa ‒ for their untiring efforts in helping to secure peace for Dagbon.

He also applauded former President John Agyekum Kufuor for his decision to establish the Committee of Eminent Chiefs as far back as 2002 to find the instrument to deal with the crisis in Dagbon in accordance with customary laws and usages.

President Akufo-Addo said the former President’s decision “has been vindicated”.