Views: 223 Peace happens to play a vital role in every country and to ensure the efficiency of work done in the country’s development, there is the ne...
Peace happens to play a vital role in every country and to ensure the efficiency of work done in the country’s development, there is the need to unite all persons in the vicinity of DAGBↃŊ and it’s environs regardless of religious and ethnic differences, says Dan Ya-Na Abukari II in the a meeting with the National House of Chiefs-Tamale.
DAN YA-NA ABUKARI II made this pronouncement in his speech on Thursday 13th June 2019 on the topic “CONSOLIDATING THE PEACE OF DAGBↃŊ FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.”
He acknowledged the presence of all eminent Chiefs and Dignitaries from all parts of Ghana most especially,Your Royal Highness Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, President of the National House of Chiefs,
Your Royal Highness Daasebre Kwebu Ewusi, Abeadzehene, Vice President of the National House of Chiefs,
Your Majesty the Yagbonwura, President of the Northern Region House of Chiefs,
Your Majesty the Nayiri, Vice-President of the Northern Region House of Chiefs,
Your Royal Highnesses, Nyelinboligu-Naa Yakubu Andani Dasana, Regent of Nanung
Your Royal Highnesses, members of the National House of Chiefs,
Nanima, Nananom,Hon Kofi Dzamesi, Minister for Chieftaincy & Religious Affairs,
Hon Members of Council of State present,
Hon Members of Parliament and MMDCE’s present, among others.
He noted that, this meeting is historic, being the first ever for the House to hold a great meeting of importance outside the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi and its headquarters, It is a momentous occasion to honour the Chiefs and People of Dagbↄŋ for our continuous work in the consolidation of peace for national development.
He stated that H.R.H. Togbe AfedeXIV President of the House, on 2nd May 2019, received in the Gbewaa Palace a delegation led by His Royal Highness the Buipewura Jinapor II, Paramount Chief of the Buipe Traditional Area. The delegation informed him about the decision of the National House to hold this meeting in Tamale. Subsequently, I received a confirmatory letter from the President of this House, H. R. H. Togbe Afede XIV, which invited him to speak on the theme, “Consolidating the Peace of Dagbↄŋ for National Development.” He accepted the invitation and to carryout responsibilities as due.
Your Majesties and Royal Highnesses, the Dagbↄŋ Traditional Area has been in existence since the 12th century. It boasts of a land mass of 9,611 square miles approximately. It covers 14 administrative districts including one Metro and four Municipalities, with a 2010 population of 1,254,476. It is a multi-ethnic kingdom. The 14 districts are Chereponi, Gusheɣu Municipal, Karaga, Kumbungu, Mion, Nanton, Saboba, Sagnarigu Municipal, Savelugu Municipal, Tamale Metro, Tatale/Sanguli, Tolon, Yendi Municipal, and Zabzugu District Assembly.
Togbe President, the “Nam,” the kingship of Dagbↄŋ, has a checkered history, which has seen political involvement by various regimes, through the formation of commissions of inquiry into contesting claims to the Skin, culminating in the decision of the apex court of the land – the Supreme Court, in 1986.
There was relative peace after the Supreme Court judgment until March 2002, when Dagbↄŋ and the entire nation woke up to the horrendous events that culminated in the demise of Ndan Ya-Na Yakubu II and scores of others. Six days after the events, the government of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor set up a Committee of Eminent Chiefs, chaired by His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, to look into the traditional aspects of the matter and to work towards restoring peace in Dagbↄŋ. The other members of the committee included their Majesties the Nayiri, King of Mamprugu and the Yagbonwura, King of Gonja. Within a week, the Government also named a four-man investigation team of Police C.I.D. Officers to speed up the process of establishing the identity of culprits involved in the crisis. Following the demand of the Andani family and other stakeholders, the government, on 25th April 2002, set up the Wuaku Commission to investigate the criminal aspects of the case.
The various bodies completed their assignments, but could not hold anyone responsible.
The Committee of Eminent Chiefs assiduously engaged the two feuding royal families and in 2006 crafted a Roadmap for peace. In line with Dagbↄŋ custom, a Regent of Dagbↄŋ who acts as President of the Dagbↄŋ Traditional Council was installed.
The Committee of Eminent Chiefs determinedly continued to navigate their way through a myriad of challenges and after sixteen years, were able to craft and present to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic and the general public, a final roadmap for peace on 16th November 2018.
The implementation of the peace process has seen the performance of the funerals of Naa Mahamadu and Naa Yakubu II, outstanding contentious customary obligations, enabling the kingmakers of Yani, led by Naa Yaba Kuɣa-Naa to select and install me as the next king on 18th January 2019. My coronation ceremony was attended by His Excellency the President of the Republic. Your Royal Highness were ably represented by a delegation led by Togbe President. Several members of government, the international community, and representatives of most Regional Houses of Chiefs of this country witnessed the occasion. Dagbↄŋ shall forever remain grateful to the Government, to you all, and fellow Ghanaians for the remarkable gesture of solidarity.
On behalf of the Chiefs and People of Dagbↄŋ, Togbe President, I wish to thank His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, past Presidents of Ghana, and the members of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs for their respective roles in the Dagbↄŋ peace process. Also included in these special thanks are all stakeholders, especially royals of Dagbong and their sympathizers for the roles they played in placing Dagbↄŋ back on the road to peace and stability.
The task to rebuild Dagbↄŋ has begun,there is an enormous amount of work to be done. I need the continues support of all sons and daughters of Dagbↄŋ and the goodwill of all stakeholders in this endeavor, to ensure total peace in our Traditional Area.
Togbe President, as I declared before the chiefs and people of Dagbↄŋ during my investiture, “I shall be just and fair in my rule of the kingdom.
I shall do justice to all manner of people in Dagbↄŋ whether they are Dagombas or anufor, whether they are Asante or konkomba, whether they are Mossi or Hausa. As you are aware, the Judicial Council and the Court of the Ya-Na from time immemorial are composed of people who have their origins from Mossi, Hausa, Wangara, Grunsi, Asante, and Dagomba. Let me assure all the chiefs and people of Dagbↄŋ that the rest of my active life, be it long or short, will be devoted to the service of the kingdom and mother Ghana.
“I shall endeavor to uphold the dignity and pride of Dagbↄŋ. I shall uphold the customs and traditions of Dagbↄŋ. I shall strengthen the good and friendly relations the kingdom has with all its neighbouring traditional rulers and beyond”.
Mr. President, the challenges are enormous. However, I take solace in the fact that, fellow Ghanaians are in support and solidarity with the Dagbↄŋ peace and reconciliation process, as evidenced in your presence here today. Together, we shall overcome.
Outstanding funerals of some deceased chiefs, previously held up by the conflict, have already been concluded and substantive chiefs appointed to those skins. A few more are still pending and we see no valid impediments to the performance of those funerals. Upon filling the paramount and divisional vacancies, I intend to convene a meeting of the Dagbↄŋ Traditional Council in pursuance of sustainable peace. We will look at and review any customs that may be contributing to the succession disputes and also commence a process aimed at eliminating or modifying any customary practives that may be inimical to human rights and dignity.
According to the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA), “Peace consolidation is a process of rebuilding a society that has experienced violent conflict in such a way that it leads to durable peace and sustainable development, not the resumption of conflict” (2005:3). In our context, it is undoubtedly the post-Abudu/Andani conflict and requires the efforts of all stakeholders to prevent the return of conflict.
The United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa opines that, “peace is not only an end in itself, but is also the foundation for prosperity and development” (2005:11). Achieving peace in Dagbↄŋ, therefore, requires the full attention of all stakeholders, notably, citizens and residents of Dagbↄŋ, particularly royals and their sympathizers, to contribute their quota to the reconstruction of Dagbↄŋ and the enhancement of the local economy.
My determination to unite Dagbↄŋ permanently for peace and development will be premised on eliminating the idea of an Abudu side or an Andani side in Dagbↄŋ. It will be based on looking at all people of Dagbↄŋ as one, in any appointment or assignment I may carry out. By the custom of Dagbↄŋ, the Ya Na can appoints sons, grandsons, great-grandsons, and daughters to any vacant skin which they are qualified to occupy. In so doing, I will continue to avoid sectional considerations and appoint only the most suitable candidates, guided only by the customs of our people. Any qualified Prince can serve anywhere in Dagbↄŋ, innaccordance with our agelong customs. I wish here to appeal to government and other stakeholders not to invite people to functions as Abudu or Andani.
Togbe President, in the past, some princes who failed in their bids for appointment engaged in diverse illegal, uncustomary efforts and unhealthy partisan politicization, to undermine the authority of the King. I want to appeal to princes and princesses, and the citizens of Dagbↄŋ that, for us to sustain the gains of the peace process, we have to resolve to discourage and denounce such negative tendencies henceforth.
The occupant of the Gbewaa Skin, the Ya Naa, is the only customary and legal authority to make appointments to all Paramount, Divisional and some Sub-divisional skins and this authority must not be undermined under any circumstances. The resort to armed groups to prevent legitimate appointees from discharging their duties does not only undermine the integrity of our Kingdom but also constitutes a gross violation of the laws of Ghana.
Aggrieved princes and princesses ought to make use of the customary laws of Ghana and the Chieftaincy Act 2008, Act 759, rather than resort to violence, in addressing their grievances. On this note, I wish to appeal to all dissenting opinions to respect the rule of law and custom and shun violence and thuggery. I also call on the security agencies, the Ghana Police Service, etc, to support me to deal with individuals and groups of people who are bent on fomenting trouble or drawing back the clock of progress in Dagbↄŋ. I also want to appeal to the government not to remai indifferent to criminals and usurpers in such matters.
I note, in this respect, that, in March 2019, after the funeral of Naa Yaba, Nanton-Naa Sulley, I appointed Naa Bapra Vo-Naa to Nanton. The new Nanton-Naa commenced the usual rituals at Gbabshei which will eventually lead him to Nanton, but this process had to be suspended owing to disturbances from Nanton by hired youths and gun-wielding mercenaries mobilized from other communities to protect a self-imposed chief.
As a result of my determination not to cause disunity or harm to any persons, I have found it prudent not to call on traditional forces of Dagbↄŋ to remove the pretender from Nanton.
I requested the security services and the Regional administration to take away the pretender chief. The authorities and the security apparatus of the nation have remained nonresponsive, raising questions as to the seriousness of their commitment to the ongoing peace process.
I humbly use this opportunity to call upon both the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs to join me to call on our law enforcement agencies to take the necessary steps to check this phenomenon, to install the rule of law in Nanton and to prevent others from emulating same as a way of acquiring chieftaincy positions.
In the meantime, I have also set up a Dagbↄŋ Peace Committee to advise on ways to move the peace process forward.
For Dagbↄŋ to have lasting peace, all stakeholders must support customary institutions to function well and to desist from putting partisan interests in the way. Our determination to find lasting solutions will not materialize if politicians insist on supporting only aspects of the solution that satisfy partisan interests. In this light, I am calling upon all chiefs of Ghana to insist that, governments should assist chiefs in their customary duties and desist from supporting party members who oppose traditional institutions in the performance of their functions.
The issue of road safety has become a national concern. According to the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), there were 2,126 crashes nationwide, involving 3,428 vehicles.
The provisional statistics on road crashes from the Director of road safety in the Northern Region from January to April 2019 also stood at 108 involving 178 vehicles (motorbikes included), 71 deaths and 326 injuries. We cannot succeed in peace consolidation in Ghana and Dagbↄŋ, without paying attention to the growing fatalities on the road, mainly due to human error.
Our efforts to deepen the peace for prosperity will be severely undermined if we continue to lose human resources to recklessness and negligence on the roads. We need to pay heed to the NRSC when it says that “road safety is a shared and collective responsibility”. Together, we can drastically reduce the carnage on our streets for the prosperity of this country.
He stress that the abuse and misuse of drugs, specifically Tramadol, weed, and other substances are a severe threat to the future of this country if left unchecked. About thirty-two years now, the United Nations General Assembly took a bold decision in the fight against drug abuse.
It set aside 26th June of every year as World Day Against Drug Abuse (WDADA). This day will be celebrated in two weeks. I call on the competent authorities and all Ghanaians to take advantage of the celebration to soberly reflect on concrete steps that can be made to involve all stakeholders in the fight against this threat to our country’s socio-economic wellbeing and advancement.
The competent agencies are being called upon to collaborate more in their efforts, while appropriate rehabilitation institutions need to be established in all regions of this country for the rehabilitation of our sons and daughters already ensnared in the deadly habit of drug abuse.
By this address, I am requesting all my paramount chiefs to find ways and means to curb this drug menace. Our efforts at peace consolidation will not see the light of day if these challenges are not vigorously tackled.
Again the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country constitutes to serious threats which we need to combat. The Ghanaian Times of 23rd May 2019 reported, citing the Center for Defense and Security (CDS) that, the estimated number of guns circulating in private hands stood at 2.3 million, 47 percent of that being unaccounted for, due to “weak monitoring regimes and non-existent regulatory framework.”. The center noted that the proliferation of arms poses severe challenges for the peace and security of this country, especially ahead of the 2020 elections. The sector players must collaborate more to curb the resultant threat.
Your Majesties and Royal Highnesses, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the proliferation of illegal arms are a contributory factor to the numerous crimes in the country, Dagbↄŋ included. The security agencies need to be more visible and regularly police our roads and communities, to promote the peace and security of our peace-loving citizens.
A creeping social phenomenon in our communities is cyber-fraud, popularly referred to as SAKAWA. These activities involve fetish and occult rituals meant to deceive and defraud unsuspecting victims within Ghana and abroad. These activities bring the name of our country into disrepute.
The government needs to come out with a blueprint on how to eradicate it. We Traditional rulers can support it. Our youth today, instead of seeking knowledge in schools to enhance productivity, rather learn computer skills for these nefarious activities.
It is our collective responsibility to provide the needed training and education for our children, law enforcement agencies need to be adequately empowered and equipped to play their role effectively in combatting this phenomenon.
The socio-economic development of our communities is also a part of the peace process that should not be overlooked. One of the significant challenges needing attention is the perennial water shortages in several of our communities, including, notably, Yendi our traditional capital and even the regional capital, our present location.
We are thankful to the government for the new initiative to solve the problem of the severe water crisis in Yendi and its environs. We hope that the project will take off very soon and that similar effort will be taken in other parts of our region, including this regional capital, Tamale.
As a champion of the development drive in the north, and a framework for the accelerated economic and social development of the Northern Development Zone (NDZ), I want to urgently appeal to the government to resource the Northern Development Authority (NDA) to carry out the lofty objectives assigned to it under NDA Act 963, 2017.
Togbe President and Nanima, the chiefs and people of Dagbↄŋ and the entire Northern zone, are eagerly awaiting the completion of the Tamale Teaching Hospital – the only major health facility within the area.
The upgrading and installation of the right equipment and the necessary human resources ought to be provided, to serve us better. The chiefs and people are equally awaiting the upgrade of the Yendi Government Hospital to a more modern facility to serve the surrounding districts of the Eastern Corridor.
Again,another significant challenge in Dagbↄŋ and the Northern Regions at large is the terrible state of our road network, heavy downpour of rains are yet to take effect, the media will soon bring us pictures of swimming vehicles and motorbikes, threats to life and property. The case of the Eastern corridor roads is particularly dire and could significantly reduce travel times between the North and the South if completed. We have, among other roads crying for attention, the Tamale-Karaga road, The Yendi – Bimbilla road, the Tamale-Salaga road, Yendi-Saboba road, Yendi-Chereponi road, Nyankpala-Gbuling-Voɣɣo road, and Yendi-Tatale road, leading to the Republic of Togo. Others are Karaga-Tong-Sung road and the Saboba-Wapuli road.
The construction or completion of these critical trunk roads will accelerate the socio-economic development of the region and contribute in no small way to the peace process.
In addition, on the issue of education, the chiefs and people of Dagbↄŋ wish to see the establishment of a technical university within the eastern corridor stretch. The institution will offer professional and artisanal training for the teeming youth of the area.
There are plans to use the 62.35-acre land of the campsite of the contractors working on the Eastern corridor road to establish another faculty of the University for Development (UDS). With the reorganization of UDS into three autonomous universities, a UDS campus in Yendi will speed up access to tertiary education for the people of the Eastern Corridor and its environs and the rest of the Ghanaian people interested in technical education.
I avail myself of this opportunity, Togbe President, to express our gratitude to the government for the recent inauguration of the Governing Council of the Tamale Technical University (TaTU).
LIn congratulating our son, Dr. Alhassan Abdulai, appointed Chairman of the Council and all its members, I wish to appeal to the government to resource the new University and other similar institutions innour parts, to enable them effectively pursue the important functions assigned to them.
The challenges of consolidating peace in Dagbↄŋ are immense, yet the benefits are truly overwhelming, the national celebration of the 62nd independence anniversary in Tamale are all signals of the peace dividend that we cannot fail to appreciate. Long-term success will depend, however, on the cooperation of all citizens of Dagbↄŋ and sustained political commitment and support for the peace process.
A peaceful Dagbↄŋ is a necessary ingredient to the development of Dagbↄŋ and Ghana as a whole, and we shall pursue it relentlessly.
Togbe President, on behalf of the chiefs and people Dagbↄŋ, I want to thank you and the leadership of the House for the decision to hold this meeting here in Tamale in support of my reign and the peace process in Dagbↄŋ. I also want to express my gratitude to this august House for the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on our peace consolidation efforts.
He stated that when issues goes to bed,there is no need to set the alarm clock to wake them up and for that matter no insults should be added to injuries whatsoever but the peace and development of the vicinity should be the priority of all, he emphasize.
Long Live Dagbↄŋ, Long Live Ghana.