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Opinions of Sunday, 28 February 2016

Columnist: Bertha Badu-Agyei

A tribute to Okuapemhene, a man of peace

It is with privilege that I write this tribute to the honour and memory of the late Oseadeyo Nana Addo Dankwa, a magnificent ruler by all standards of his time, who ruled with dignity and sobriety to advance the cause of Okuapeman.

Oseadeyo, a man of peace, was well known for his composure and high sense of integrity, in his 41-year reign as the Okuapemhene, who exhibited maturity and commitment to peace and unity in Akuapem to the extent that disputes that erupted under his reign even though protracted, never degenerated into anything nasty.

As a journalist in the Eastern Region, I on countless occasions covered programs on the Akuapem ridge such as the annual Odwira festival of the chiefs and people of Akuapem and many other events where Oseadeyo was at the centre.

The late King was a soft spoken person and indeed in all his addresses, that I can recall, often his central theme focused on peace, unity and development. It is therefore not surprising that, the 17-year old Akuapem chieftaincy dispute was finally resolved before he departed to his ancestors.

In 2009, under the leadership of Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) initiated a move to resolve the Akuapem chieftaincy dispute, the Eastern Regional Peace and Advisory Council (ERPAC) was therefore made the lead agency to draw the road map to peace.

In the process, the team as part of their broad consultation had to meet Oseadeyo Addo Dankwa, who had always been represented at the various meetings with the stakeholders including Otobuor Djan Kwasi, Aburihene and Adontenhene of Akuapem, Nana Osim Kwatia, gyasehene and Chief of Amanokorm.

The rest were Nana Aseidu Okoo, Benkumhene and chief of Lartey, Nana Otutu Kono, Nifahene and Adukromhene and Nana Ansah Sasraku, Mamfehene and Kyidomhene of Akuapem.

Some members of ERPAC were co-opted to join the Eastern Regional Minister, Dr Appiah Kubi, and Professor JOY Mantey, then the Akuapem Presbytery Chairman, of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Mr George Opare-Addo the Akuapem North District Chief Executive, Mr Bawa, then the Regional Coordinating Director and my good self.

Oseadeyo’s disclosures on matters that were very critical in the Akuapem chieftaincy dispute were so clear and revealing that the team left his house with a renewed sense of strength and optimism to continue whatever arrangement on the roadmap.

I recall vividly that after the long discussion, Oseadeyo, made it clear that for some customary demands especially with regards to the Larteh Accord, which had become very critical in the entire process, therefore requiring some customary rites to revoke the curses, he had nothing against any chief and wholeheartedly supports any move to bring unity to Akuapem.

No wonder that Oseadeyo, lived to witness the unity of the Akuapem State and part of a grand durbar last year when all the divisions were fully present at the Odwira festival.

Even in death, his love for peace has been honoured by the Akuapem Traditional council giving the firm assurance that, only selected persons would be allowed to fire musketry and the age-old tradition of beheading people to bury a chief of such stature shelved, to ensure a peaceful funeral for him.

Oseadeyo Addo Dankwa died at the ripe age of 85 after ruling for 41 years as the paramount chief of Akuapem, he ascended the Ofori Kuma stool in 1974 as the 25th Okuapem Chief and is reputed to be the longest serving paramount chief in the area.

Oseadeyo, instituted the first press awards in the Eastern Region in the 1980’s to recognize distinguished and hardworking journalists, this assignment he carried out until the Ghana Journalists Association re-organized itself and took it up in the form of the annual GJA awards.

He was therefore appointed a patron of the GJA under the chairmanship of Honorable Mrs. Gifty Afenyi-Dadzie and held several chieftaincy and public positions, he left behind a wife, five children including the Asumkahene of Akuapem, Nana Kofi Djan.

May his soul rest in peace and may Okuapeman remain united and strong, as a lasting memorial to a man of peace such as Oseadeyo.