The continuing protest by dissatisfied armed youth of Nanton against the selection of an Andani chief by the Dagbon chieftain, Yaa – Naa Abukari Mahama II, to rule the Abudus dominated town has compelled the Committee of Eminent Chiefs to call an emergency meeting in attempt to safeguard the Dagbon chieftaincy peace plan.
The Committee led by the Asantehene Nana Osei Tutu II, commissioned in 2006, concluded mediation works and presented its findings in November 2018, to government for implementation.
There have been significant progressive outcomes in the implementation of what has become known as the Dagbon Roadmap to peace pact, which include – the performances of the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Mahamudu Abdulai IV and Naa Yakubu Andani II, and enskinment of a new Yaa Naa.
After the enskinment of His Majesty Naa Abukari Mahama II, a member of the Andani Royal Family, as the new Dagbon overlord and subsequent flamboyant installations of Nyab Mionlana Abdulai Mahamadu Abdulai and Naa Yaanga Abdulai Andani, arguably the two most powerful former Regents in recent Dagbon history, to the gate skins of Mion and Savelugu respectively, many had celebrated that, ethnic Dagombas, the second largest tribal groupings in Ghana, after 16yrs of being headless, would now be ruled by a supreme leader but not a third party mediation committee, and that, the divisive Abudu and Andani sectionalism was a thing of the past.
But once again, Dagbon has descended to the forefront of chieftaincy tensions and dispute after the youth of Nantong fanned the smoldering remains of the Abudu and Andani divisions, as they mount implacable challenge against the decision of the Yaa – Naa to counterbalance chieftaincy positions in Dagbon.
On Sunday, March 31, 2019, the Ya – Naa in his sixth major appointments since his enskinment as ruler of Dagbon, settled on former Vo – Naa M.B Bawah as the new paramount chief of Nantong, a traditional town near Tamale, the Northern regional capital.
The King also appointed the Regent of Nantong as the chief of Voggu, a traditional town in the Kumbungu district dominated by Andanis.
But, as the people of Voggu wholeheartedly accepted the Abudu chief to be their new ruler, the youth of Nantong have rejected Vo Naa Bawah and have mounted road blockades, threatening chaos as they protest against his entry into the community.
Rather, the youth and some stakeholders have settled on chief of Zosali and a former northern regional chairman of NPP, Naa Haruna Sulemana Tia, as their favourite.
Naa Haruna Tia, a direct senior sibling of Presidential staffer and Tamale Teaching Hospital Board Member, Clara Napaga Tia Sulemana, is the current chief of Zosali, another influential skin in Dagbon.
Zosali – Lana Haruna Tia was among some 22 candidates who contested the Nantong skin, but after losing to former Vo-Naa M. B Bawah he has forcibly been occupying Nantong claiming to have overwhelming backing of the town folks and thereby preventing the entry of the legimiate pick of the Ya – Naa.
Since the agitations, which present a direct affront to the authority of the Ya -Naa, the Regional Security Council had fallen short of deploying security personnel to the town until Wednesday, as road users and motorists had to endure three days of vigorous search at checkpoints mounted in the town by the youth
The youth say they would never accept an Andani chief to rule the community since Nanton is Abudus entitlement and an ancient Abudu gate skin. They also argue that part of the recommendations of the Asantehene led Committee states that no Andani chief be appointed to Abudu dominated town and vice versa.
Following this particular claim and the uncompromising posture of the Nantong youth, the Ya- Naa has been forced to refer the matter to the Asante King, who is the chief mediator of the fading Dagbon chieftaincy dispute.
The Secretary of the Ya -Naa, Abdul Rahman Mohammed, has confirmed that a delegation from both factions will meet the Asantehene and his Eminent colleagues to deliberate on the Nanton chiefrancy impasse in order to to avert collapse of the Dagbon Roadmap to peace pact.
The secretary expressed outrage at the development in Nanton and for the first time, the Gbewaa Palace publicly accused the NPP former regional chairman of inciting the Nanton youth against the Yaa -Naa, calling him “imposter”.
“We’ve heard that somebody is claiming that he’s the chief of Nanton instead of the one that Chief has given it to. It means that person is the one behind all those things or what is happening over there”, the secretary fumes.
“So therefore, His Majesty, Asantehene is coming in. He has invited the Mion – Lana, invited Savelugu Chief, the Yagbonwura and the Chief of Mamprugu, together with the person who has made himself the chief of Nantong, to come – on Saturday, they will have a meeting, at Manhyia Palace with regards to that”
“Chief has given him the cola of Zosali and not Nantong but now he’s claiming that he is the chief of Nanton instead of Zosali. So the information we are gathering indicate that he’s the one who is instigating the youth to do that but it is not the willing of the youth to come out and burning tyres here and there”.
Secretary Abdul Rahma also refuted the claims of the protesting Nanton youth, saying: “In Dagbon, we don’t have any town that is earmarked for Abudus gate only, in Dagbon, we don’t have any gate or any town or any community that is meant for only Andanis”.
“Yaa Naa is the overlord of Dagbon and he can decide to send anybody to any town at all time. Its the discretion of the overlord to decide who should go where and that ends it. And if you look at the current situation now, the Nanton itself has been dominated by Abudus and Voogu also has been dominated by Andanis. His Majesty wanted to neutralize the situation so that Abudu and Andani will go once and for all”.