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Feature Article of Sunday, 18 November 2012

Columnist: Aboagye-Akrasi, Simon

The Deafening Cry Of A Boy From The Hinterland

Facts they say are sacred, opinions are free.
Bowiri is a Guan-dialect speaking tribe, located (until 2008) in the Jasikan District, and (after 2008), in the newly created Biakoye District of the Volta Region.

Currently, it comprises of about 12 communities or even more, notably:
Anyinase, Amanfro, Kyiriahi, Kwamekrom, Abohire, Aboabo, Abetinase, Takrabe, Odumase,
Fahiakobo just to mention but a few.

Bowiri, until quiet recently has not been much known, perhaps, the area had existed in harmony and in peace in recent past.

Media commentary with regards to the area is as a result of the claim of the Bowiri paramountcy.It is in the light of this sordid situation that the fact as it is, would be made known to the power that be in-extenso. The institution of chieftaincy is one of the oldest traditional institutions in Ghana and through its own resilience and cultural value systems has been able to survive irrespective of changes from pre-colonial to post colonial eras.
One cannot fathom the rational behind people who have co-existed cheek by jowl engaging in a communal cleansing, unless there is an unresolved issue.

In this modern day and era, the historical facts as bequeathed to us by our forbears cannot in anyway be thwarted for someone’s whimsical, parochial aggrandizement.
The judiciary is a powerful organ and, so is the court of law, insofar as contemporary democratic governance is concerned .It defies the logical reasoning as to why one could parade town with the axiom that, in our nascent environment, discipline and orders are the things of the past and for that matter your purse can buy the truth albeit otherwise of the case. Money can buy traditional and allodial titles even if it is remote. The above is the tramp card of a self imposed non-existing ‘Omanhene’ of Bowiri who has placed the area in a state of dilemma and nebulous and have succeeded in aggravating the already existing penury of the people the more.
Chieftaincy is of course, a bona –fide right and cannot in anyway be for the loudest noise maker or the highest bidder.

Bowiri has its unique culture and history since time immemorial and cannot be altered not even the clout-wielding, disgruntled, unscrupulous, trouble seeking elements of yesterday and today. Our exuding confidence lies in the supreme law of the land, i.e., Article270 (1), (2) (a), (b).
These bold provisions in the 1992 constitution have definitely freed the institution from any control of any sort and therefore expected that it will contribute its meaningful quota to national development inter alia, the face of democratic governance.

A chief is a person who has been validly nominated, elected, enstooled or enskinned in accordance with requisite applicable customary law and usage and installed.
Bowiri had it unique traditional leadership structure which was not interfered with, even by the colonial administrations. The traditional leader has been, and still is Boe Olate Kade Fee Oli Odefe, the occupant of the Odefe stool, the oldest Black Stool of Bowiri which by extension is our source of identity and history. It is directly similar to that of the Dente of Kete Krachi.

The greater part of what is now the Volta Region was a League of Nations Trust Mandate Land and later a United Nations Trust Territory. The colonial authorities desperately needed in their early days to find local intermediaries and proceeded to confer recognition upon designated chiefs, thereby imparting a level of authority and a degree of uniformity which had not hitherto existed in their section which became the eastern quadrant of the Gold Coast Colony.

In Buem, for instance, the Germans appointed representatives known as ‘Odikro’ for Anyinase, Amanfro, and Kyiriahi all in Bowiri. After their takeover of the western half of German Togo was confirmed by the League of Nations after the end of the First World War, the British authorities asserted that German policy had been disruptive and they then attempted to transplant the chieftaincy policy which they had already perfected in the colony.

According to Captain C.C. Lilley, a District Commissioner of Gold Coast, sub-divisional chiefs were entitled to their own tribunals. From the view point of the administration, this was bound to result in confusion. In order to tidy things up, therefore, Lilley and his colleagues embarked upon the infamous policy of amalgamation which has left its mark until the present day. The objective was to merge these Divisions into a smaller number of states, which would be better placed to adjudicate customary disputes (through their State Councils) and to carry out functions of Native Authorities in the Indirect Rule tradition. Whereas, the Divisional Chiefs would sit on State Council and retain their separate courts, those of the sub-Divisional chief would be closed down.
A number of additional guidelines were prescribed;
1. The decision to amalgamate under one chief had to be voluntary and required the unanimous consent of all the sub-chief in a particular community.
2. The new State was expected to be geographically contiguous and large enough to be viable.
3. It was asserted that an amalgamation would only be endorsed if binding native customs had been performed.
4. Most importantly, the heads of the new States were not to be installed as full Paramount Chiefs, but were merely to enjoy the status of primus inter pares-first amongst equals. Thus where the bone of contention is. Bowiri complied fully by these directives and by 1931 had been successfully amalgamated to the Buem state. By this arrangement, Bowiri was denied the opportunity of having a traditional council of its own.

The Head Chief of Bowiri Anyinase was subsequently called Divisional Chief while the other two, (Bowiri Amanfro and Bowiri Kyiriahi) had the titles sub-chief of Bowiri Amanfro and Bowiri Kyiriahi respectively. Since then, and up till now, the chief of Bowiri Anyinase has been attending Buem traditional council meetings on behalf of Bowiri. This position has not changed in anyway.

Bowiri Anyinase and Bowiri Amanfro are in protracted dispute due to supposed leadership crisis. While Nana Kwaku Salo II, is calm about the issue in terms of posturing because of the fact that “nea adie wono na odie ennye nea kom di no”, to wit, your proximity to power determines your right of occupancy and not for the hungry and pensive. Nana Kwame Adom V, chief of Bowiri Amanfro, is gallivanting with his uninformed cohorts as well as some ill-advisors and half baked lawyers going round on various occasions, not only arrogating to himself the titles of Divisional Chief of Bowiri, Bowirihene and Paramount Chief of Bowiri Traditional Area, but also used these titles as a decoy to mislead the law enforcement agents to harass his fellow sub-chiefs, citizens, disrupting meetings and occasions which fail to accord him his false desire recognition. As if these are not enough, he has succeeded in dividing the entire Bowiriman and rules with iron fist with the connivance of the court of law thereby placing injunctions on prominent meetings held by celebrated concern citizens of the land geared towards development of the area. The situation is so alarming, to the extent that a mere sermon in church triggered the arrest of the preacher and man handling of several others too. By his acts, and further irresponsible and reckless comments have infuriated the entire citizens of the soil, most especially the youth who are desirous of massive development of the area. It will be recalled that a district Farmers’ Day meant to be hosted by the area was relocated to a different location for seemingly chieftaincy litigation. It was so because the planners want the paramount chief to be the chairman for that occasion but upon realizing danger, it was moved from there. This means the issue, which is of grave concern, is known to the corridors of power.

We don’t have to wait for precious lives to be lost before we put our houses in order, Apesokubi within the same district, it happened and people died, Hohoe is just too fresh in our memories. Not to talk of the horrendous occurrences in Keta, Dagbon and other parts of the country. The earlier this imposter and a monster called Nana Kwame Adom V (Kwadom as he is otherwise known) is arrested and brought to book, the better would it be because Bowiri is seating on a terrible time bomb more than ready to explode. Let the institutions that our securities have been entrusted, quickly move in to Bowiri to avert possible spillage before an enquiry commission is set of which the culprit will not be found as has been the case.

Who at all is Nana Adom Kwame V and why now criminally desperate to be ‘Bowirihene’? A position which has an occupant already.
He is Bowiri Amanfrohene who was installed in 1995. In that same year, this Sub-Divisional Chief of Bowiri Amanfro, Nana Kwame Adom V, made false representations to Nana Aburam Akpandjah, The Paramount Chief of the Buem Traditional Area, requesting him (The Paramount Chief) to endorse his application for elevation to `Divisional Chief of Bowiri’ whiles Nana Kwaku Salo II is the Divisional chief of Bowiri. Nana Aburam Akpanjah consented and endorsed the application. This is the genesis of the entire conundrum and case at large.
However, in 2000, Nana Akpandjah’s attention was drawn to the anomaly of the endorsement. He therefore wrote to the Volta Regional and National House of Chiefs, with a copy to Nana Kwame Adom V, revoking the earlier endorsement.
Nana Kwame Adom V is simply a Sub-Divisional Chief and chief of Bowiri Amanfro and not the Paramount Chief. Ironically enough, Bowiri does not have a Traditional Council because of the earlier amalgamation but the Divisional Chief, Nana Salo II, sits in Council in Buem and he is the first amongst equal and by far the Bowirihene.

Indeed, the position of Divisional Chief and Sub-Divisional Chief should not and must not in anyway be confused with that of Paramount Chief. Whereas the former were offices created by the colonialist without the provision of stools or skins, the latter (The Paramount Chief of an Area), is the stool existed long before the arrival of the colonialists-Efritete!!


Of course, Bowiri has come of age and needed to ascend its traditional hegemony, but cannot be done with two horns drinking from the same bucket. They will lock up horns, and when two elephants fight, the grass suffers.

The traditional leadership of Bowiri and its hierarchical order and seniority lies in the rituals and funeral celebration performed for celebrated departed sons of the soil and also, reflects in our settlement order. Boe Olate Kade Fee Oli Odefe, the occupant of the oldest Black Stool steps in first, followed by Nana Kwaku Salo, Bowiri Anyinasehene and the Divisional Chief (Bowirihene), then Nana Adom (Bowiri Amanfrohene) Sub-Divisional Chief and then Nana Dankwah, (Bowiri Kyiriahinehene) Sub-Divisional Chief who also doubles as the Kyidomhene of Bowiri before the rest of the Sub-Chiefs of other Bowiri communities and the Clan heads follow in that order. This is an undeniable and undisputable fact that is known to everyone.

Black Stools were created for warriors who demonstrated exceptional gallantry in battles fought in pre-colonial times to secure land and other property. There is no history of Luwuli that bears testimony that the Lipoli clan of which Kwadom V, belongs to ever win a battle, nor was there any member of the clan ever rewarded with black stool.
Nana Adom V, in this state can largely be described as an otiose, potentate, megalomania, rubble-rouser, hallucinating mundane in nature and overly emaciated and thirsty for a position he does not have the licentiate pedigree of. Few of his cronies are absolutely bereft of these historical facts. In fact a man in this state is a nuisance to the community with his reckless and paucity display of the highest level of mischief and further having the temerity of allotting to himself the honorific title of ‘Okatakyie.` This is preposterous and sheer naivety. Whose back is he covering? His main agenda is to tamper with our institutions bequeathed to us and introducing organogram that are completely alien to Bowiri cultures and history. People without history are lost but Bowiri can boast of a rich and solid one.

Our questions to Nana Adom V are simple and unambiguous.
• What has he and his cronies contributed to raise the standard of Bowiri Amanfro.
• When and were did his voice start popping up? Is it not when he was making false claims in 2008 during the creation of the Biakoye district/
• Where was he and his predecessor as far back 1987, when five paramount chiefs went to the castle to appeal for the creation of the Lakeside district which is( now Biakoye District) to be carved from Jasikan District of which Bowiri was represented by Nana Kwaku Salo II?
• Was his (Nana Adom V) signature amongst the signatories? A copy of that record is at the castle.
• Why did Dr. Nkrumah consulted the then Nana Salo for his approval for Bowiri to join Ghana in the 1956 plebiscite and not Nana Adom I?
• Is he aware that there is a traditional court in Ayinase whereas Amanfro does not have any which dated back the era of the amalgamation?
• Why Nana Salo did went into an exile and not Nana Adom I upon the former negative response to Dr. Nkrumah’s request? This should tell you (Nana Adom V) that Osagyefo was dealing with the Divisional chiefs or the Paramount chiefs and not the Sub-Divisional ones like your predecessor.
• Why is it that the other chiefs in the Bowiri state do not support your claim?
• Whiles in other jurisdictions, home –coming are done to raise funds for development and instituting educational endowment fund, what has he done?
• Has he ever sat in council on behalf of Bowiri in Buem Traditional Council?
• Has he ever spoke on any meaningful development of the area, not to talk of the road-network and the dilapidated death trap schools building in Bowiri Amanfro, his own backyard?
• What legacy can he boldly boast of bequeathing Bowiriman?
• Are Kyiriahi, Anyinase, Kwamekrom, Abohire, Odumase, Aboabo, Kubease, Takrabe, Fahiakobo and others given him that so called recognition?
• In Amanfro, all the clan heads are not in agreement of his dubious claim and so are the sub-chiefs. Why

Nana Adom V must know that the level of poverty is too outrageous in the area coupling with weak educational structures of which teachers do not accept postings in the area. The least he can do is to restore the area its denied peace and dignity which are purely non negotiable. After staying in Nsawam, Koforidua, Cape Coast and Accra with your disgruntled advisors with their families, sending their wards to better schools, engaging an already impoverished people to war of which your actions clearly depicts so would be demanding for too much.

The scripture enjoins us in I Timothy 5:17-20 that, “For if a man cannot rule his own
House how can he look after the church?

It is clear that Nana Adom lacks the moral sagacity to even rule Bowiri Amanfro which as at now has become ungovernable with breakdown of structures, law and order. Anarchy is high, how much more the entire Bowiri state? You cannot rule by coercive force or through the court and the security services. Respect and recognition are not demanded but are inbuilt traits that we earned.
Nana Adom V is an enemy of progress, a conman, charlatan and an imposter who wants to reap where he did not saw. We may forgive him since he was ill- informed about the Bowiri polity.
Ruling by duress is enough attestation to the fact that his position and claim are in serious and fatal contention. You cannot subvert the existing traditional structures and impose yourself on the people. We say enough is enough.

It has been long overdue since the issue was brought to the attention of our revered Nananom for their verdict to be passed. ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. The aged with the requisite facts and history are either dying or faced with ill health. Allowing one man to hold the development of the area for ransom far too long and carrying him with false claim while the matter is before you do not augur well. We are hereby appealing for a speedy settlement. We are not saying that the ruling be made in our favour as prejudicial and contempt but for basis of the issue to dispatchly be determined.

The attention of the President of the Republic and the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, the National Security Co-ordinator who is a bit familiar of the area, the President of the National House of Chiefs who might have been briefed, the Volta Regional of Chiefs and the Buem Traditional Council are hereby reminded to the forgoing report to enable them take the necessary action in earnest to avert the outbreak of communal chieftaincy related violence in Bowiri. The Biakoye District Council must call to halt the extending invitation to Nana Adom V to represent Bowiri as the paramount chief of our land because his claim is fraudulent.

The media too, is however; caution to desist from tagging Nana Adom V as the Paramount Chief of Bowiri. Bowiri, per our records do not have Krontihene, the office is the creation of the disputed, self imposed monarch. Reference is cited of this misinformation of the 14 th August, 2012, page 25 of the Daily Graphic Edition.

With poverty on the ascendancy in Bowiri fallen standard of education of which zero percentage is recorded at the B.E.C.E level whereas teachers do not accept posting most especially in Amanfro, Nana Adom’s home together with non-existing school buildings and with parents finding it extremely difficult to see their wards in the S.H.S Nana Adom must be told that failure to add any concrete development to raise the standard of the people better than he enjoyed , leaving them in peace is a must option since it cannot be compromised. Breakdown of law and order in Amanfro coupling with high rate of teenage pregnancy is enough for Nana Adom to call it a quit to his fabricated claim. Shall we continue in this divisive act and ill fighting and shall we be fair to posterity?
Long live Luwuli, long live Ghana our motherland.




BY
SIMON ABAOGYE-AKRASI
(PATRON)
BOWIRI PROGRESIVE YOUTH FORUM
Email:saboagyeakrasi@yahoo.com

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