A former president, Jerry John Rawlings, is hoping for lasting peace in Dagbon following the coronation of Yaa-Naa Abubakari Mahama II, after nearly two decades of conflict over who becomes the new Yaa-Naa.
The last overlord of Dagbon, Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II died in 2002.
Rawlings, in a statement, said the agreements between the feuding gates to settle their differences and allow for the selection of a substantive overlord of Dagbon was a “sign of great maturity, tact and patience.”
While commending the committee of Eminent Chiefs led by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the former president said traditional leaders and the people of Dagbon must commit to living in an atmosphere of peace and harmony.
“The people of Dagbon have gone through a difficult and painful period since 2002 and it is a sign of great maturity, tact and patience that the process of the burial ceremonies of the Yaa Naa and the investiture of the new Overlord have progressed in relative peace.”
“I also commend the committee of eminent chiefs namely the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa I and Nayiri, Naa Bohogu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga for their painstaking efforts in bringing about this welcome development. Peace will be perpetuated in Dagbon if the traditional leaders and people of Dagbon commit to the fact that they are brothers and agree to live in an atmosphere of justice, peace and harmony.”
Lamenting the lack of development in Dagbon due to the conflict, Rawlings said the people of Dagbon must be mindful of the complexity of their history and dedicate themselves to the peace for development.
He also commended President Akufo-Addo who took a personal interest in the situation in Dagbon, and worked to ensure that a new Yaa-Naa was selected and peace restored to the area.
“Too many years have been wasted in a state of suspended conflict due to the lack of justice. It is now time to dedicate yourselves to peace and development, mindful of the complexity of your history. Let me also commend President Akufo-Addo for his dedication to the work of the eminent chiefs and all who in diverse ways worked towards today’s climactic event.
I pray the government and the security agencies will continue to work in tandem with the new Overlord and the people of Dagbon to ensure and maintain lasting peace and security,” he said.
Rawlings also wished the new Yaa-Naa well and prayed for wisdom for him to lead Dagbon.
“I wish Yaa-Naa Abukari Mahama many years of wise and strong leadership, and pray that peace and justice will prevail in Dagbon.”
Background to the Dagbon conflicts
Though chieftaincy tensions in Dagbon existed since the 60s, the gruesome killing of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II, in March 2002 in a coordinated attack on the palace, plunged Dagbon into years of intermittent violence.
Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II was dismembered and his head paraded on a spear after the killing with shocked the country.
The assailants also killed 39 of his elders.
Hundreds of lives have been lost, with properties destroyed in the age-long conflict in Dagbon, since the death of Ya Naa Yakubu Andani II.
In the wake of the escalating tensions, former President Kufuor set up the Otumfuo Committee of Eminent Chiefs to use all customary means available to settle the matter.
The Committee succeeded in greeting the Abudu and Andani royal gates to commit to the roadmap to peace despite several breakdowns of talks.
This led to the performance of the funeral rites of the two late Ya Naas; Naa Mahamadu Abdulai and Naa Yakubu Andani.
The funeral of the late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II, was held on Friday, January 18, 2019, with the then Yoo Naa, Alhaji Abubakari Mahama selected by the royal custodians of Dagbon to be enskinned as the new Yaa-Naa.
Abubakari Mahama was contesting with four others including the regent of Dagbon, Kampakoya Naa Abdulai Yakubu Andani, Bolin Lana Mahamadu Abdulai, and Tampion Lana.
By: Jonas Nyabor | citinewsroom.com | Ghana