Being a candidate for the Okyenhene after the death of Nana Kuntunkununku II, the Member of Parliament for Akyem Abuakwa, Samuel Atta Akyea has disclosed how he fled the country to avoid the kingship role.
As a member of the royal Osagyefo Ofori Atta I, Mr Atta Akyea in an interview with Citi TV, monitored by GhanaWeb, said the difficulty in marrying tradition with his Christian belief caused him to abstain from the office of Okyehene.
“If you pay regard to the Christian principles, there is no invocation of the dead. We do not pray that Abraham should rise and come to our aid but in the traditional setting, we invoke the ancestors. So there is ancestral worship which is the centrality of the traditional worship and also the stools have the belief that a man dies and that is not the end so the Osagyefo Ofori Atta I is symbolized in a black stool and that is difficult to really marry the two and this is where our difficulty is,” he indicated.
Faced with the choice of becoming the Okyenhene and sticking to his Christian beliefs, the Akyem Abuakwa MP said he chose to stick to his Christian values.
“Eventually I believe the God of the Bible which will mean that I will not participate in the issues of the tradition to the point of evoking the river god, the Birim River, to the point of saying that today we are going to the stool room, we are going to go to the royal mausoleum we shouldn’t wear sandals and all that. I didn’t subscribe to that,” Mr. Atta Akyea stated.
He added that “the Okyenhene’s Office is a serious office in the sense of the traditional commitment. I didn’t see myself to that level.”
With his succession to the office of Okyenhene being a “fait accompli”, Mr Atta Kyea said he was only able to swerve becoming the ruler of the Akyem kingdom by escaping to the United Kingdom even without informing his cousin and close confidant, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“I escaped the situation, even without telling President Akufo-Addo I went to the United Kingdom…. I fled and I did that without even telling my mother. I did it with my wife,” he said.
Mr Atta Kyea reveals that as a potential leader of the Akyem Abuakwa kingdom, he was groomed for the position and had one of his relatives preparing him for the role.
He avers that besides rejecting the role due to his Christian faith, he also sought to avoid unnecessary competition as the current Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin who filled his stead was equally qualified for the position.
“I didn’t want, excuse me to say unnecessary competition when the present and current Okyehene from my perspective was fit to step into the shoes of his brother.”
On how his family reacted to his decision, Mr Atta Akyea said his relatives thought he was getting mad and that saw him receiving a constant visit from some members of the family who travelled to the UK to get him to change his mind.
“They thought I was getting mad because that is the highest office that every royal would like to covert. So I had people coming to me. Some of the daughters of the Ofori Atta were there, a lot of people came to me that I shouldn’t take such a decision.”
He however states that he has no regrets for refusing to ascend the Okyenhene stool.