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Opinions of Thursday, 7 August 2014

Columnist: Awal, Mohammed

The Nanung Chieftaincy Crisis, A Critical Perspective

The Nanumba Traditional Area is one of the four Traditional Areas within the Chieftaincy institution in the Northern Region; with the Bimbila Naa as the overlord. The others are the Dagbon traditional council with the Overlord as the Yaa-naa, the Mamprusi Traditional Area with the overlord as the Nayiri and the Gonja Traditional Area having the Yagbonwora as the overlord.

These were the four established paramount chiefs in Northern Region until a recent upgrade of the other chiefdoms into paramountcies and that of the four existing paramountcies into the status of Kinship or over Lordship.

The numerous chieftaincy crisis across the length and breadth of this country in most Traditional Areas in Ghanain recent times, has led to a strong advocacy for a conscious efforts to be made to have clearly codified line of succession in all traditional areas in Ghana. This it is believed could bea panacea for addressing the numerous chieftaincy crisis in Ghana.

It is however worthy to state that even before this increasing advocacy for a well defined line of succession to chieftaincy in most traditional areas, the Nanung Traditional area had been one of the Traditional areas in Ghana, that could pride itself to have a clearly defined hierarchy of ascension to the throne.

This ensured that for decades in the history of the area, it has remained one of the most orderly, well organized and most peacefulmeans of effecting leadership change within the Traditional Areas in the northern region.

In the historical evolution of the chieftaincy institution in the Nanung Traditional Area, two dominant chieftaincy gates eventually emerged. The Gbugmayiligate and theBangyiligates.The emergence of these gates brought harmony in the succession trend in the area with an alternating arrangement that was put in place between the two gates. In other words, anytime a Gbugmayilichief was on the throne and passed on, the Bangyiligate took over and vice versa.

To further streamline this arrangement, therewere designated gate Skins to each of these gates. For instance, the gateskins to the Gbugmayiligate include, Lanja-Mankayili (Bogu), Beng, Lepusi, Juanayili-Bakpaba and Nakpaa-Bimbilla (the ultimate). For the Bangyili gate, the key gate skins areTuo-Sakpe-Gbungbaliga, Chamba, Dakpam-Bimbilla (the ultimate).The succeeding gate skin in the hierarchy of progression to the Bimbilla chieftaincy for the Gbugmayiligate is Nakpaa and that of the Bangyili gate is Dakpam.

So, by this arrangement every Bimbilla Naa who is on the throne, know clearly who his successor would be unless otherwise in exceptional circumstances. For instance, Naa Natogmah Attah II from the Bangyili gate came to the throne of Bimbilla from Gbungbaliga because at the time of the performance of the funeral of Naa Abudulai Andani, the grandfather of Mr. Andani Dasana, the Dakpam skin was vacant because the chief had passed on and the funeral was yet to be performed.

The established hierarchical ladder of progression for any potential Bimbilla Naa to pass through to the throne of Bimbilla was not by accident. It was intended to provide sufficient training grounds for any would be paramount chief of Bimbilla to be adequately prepared for the ultimate task of providing the requisite leadership for the people of Nanung.

In the history of Nanung therefore, no Bimbilla Naa has ascended the throne without first obtaining a chieftaincy title. Indeed, no chief without a chieftaincy title had ever been even elevated to the two succeeding gatesskins to Bimbilla. That is Nakpaa for the Gbugmayili gate and Dakpam for the Bangyiligate.

It is also worth mentioning that, apart from the BimbillaNaa, other sub chiefs under his jurisdiction can install sub-chiefs within their chiefdoms, but such sub-chiefs can not rise to the statue of Bimbilla Naa, the king of Nanung, so neither the Langiri Naa, nor the self stall kpatihi (Natogma Azindow) can install somebody to eventually become the Bimbilla Naa

It is important, however, to state that in the founding days of the Nanung Kingdom, when the chieftaincy institution was in its formative years, regents of chiefs ascended the Bimbilla throne. History recognizes Naa Gmantanbo as the founder of Nanung. It is reported that, at the time of his death, he had no son of his own and it was his sister’s son by name Naa Sulgme who became his regent and subsequently succeeded him. Otherwise it is not an established practice in Nanung for a regent to perform his father’s funerial and subsequently ascend the throne immediately.

The relationship, respect, and understanding that existed between the two gates was so mutual that, it was a common practice to see a Gbugmayili Chief offering his daughter to a Bangyili chief or prince on ascension to the throne and vice versa. This was a means of fostering unity and sustaining the bonds of good will between the two gates.
If there was a near perfect model of providing a peaceful leadership rotation among the two gates for decades, what actually went wrong to bring the Nanung Kingdom to our current crisis on hand? Signs of emerging crisis within the chieftaincy institution in Nanung started rearing its ugly head when Naa Abarika Attah II from the Bangyili gate ascended the throne after the death of Naa Dasana Abudulai in 1981.

Naa Dasana Abudulai, the father of Mr. Andani Dasana ruled Nanung for about twenty-three (23) years starting from 1958-1981. During his reign he enjoyed an unadulterated loyalty and respect to the power and Authority vested in the skin.
Like an Executive President, his powers to enskinchiefs to any place within the traditional Area was rigidly obeyed and respected without question even though there were some times some reservations among the populace regarding some of the eskinmentthat were made.

This unflinching loyalty to the Dasana family was never to be the case, when Naa Abarika Attah II took reigns of leadership in Nanung. The very early signs of disrespect and disregard for the authority of Naa Abarika Attah II, was when he enskinned Kariga lana Dawuni Gbarigbari, to Nakpaa. The Regent of Naa Dasana Abudulai,Jua Naa Mahama Dasana, then the Bogu Naa after handing over authority to Naa Abarika Attah after the performance of his father’s funeral countered the enskinment made by Naa Abarika Attah II, by also enskinning Nakpaa Naa Musah Abudulai.

The second major defyment of the authority of NaaAbarikaAttah II from the Dasana family was when Naa Abarika Attah II elevated the Bakpaba Naa Salifu Dawuni(deceased) to the skin of Nakpaa. This action by Naa Abarika II brought him into direct confrontation with the Dasana family. They were not prepared to respect the authority vested in the chief to enskin who he found appropriate to the Nakpaa skin. In their view, it was wrong.

So for the first time in the history of Nanung, the authority of the Bimbilla Naa was challenged in the Law Courts. A writ was filed at the Regional House of Chiefs by Lepuhi Naa Azumah and Kpatihi naaPonadow as the plaintiffs and Naa Abarika AttahII as the defendant. The verdict after several years in courts was passed in favor ofNaaAbarikaAttah II. The action by these chiefs was the antecedentto this current crisis.

From that time, the mutual respect and cordiality that existed between the ruling chief and the Dasana family witnessed a worsening relationship. There was increasing disregard for his authority until his death in 1999.

It is also significant to state that during this period, the Nakpaa NaaSalifu Dawuni who had then assumed the reigns at Nakpaa as the chief suffered two assassination attempts allegedly perpetrated by the aggrieved party that sent the matter to court. In fact, in the process, the chief lost two members of his household and the entire palace at Nakpaa burnt to ashes.This was the belligerent posture that the Dasana family assumed until the death of Naa Abarika Attah in 1999.

The Chieftaincy crisis deepened when after the funeral of Naa Abarika Attah II, Mr. Andani Dasana, then an engineer at the Nasia Rice Company Limited, laid claim to the throne of Bimbilla, against the established customs and traditions that makes the Nakpaa Naa the ultimate successor to the Bimbilla chieftaincy and also against the time tested tradition that nobody in the history of the Traditional Area had ascended the throne without any chieftaincy title attached to his name.

In the process there was a divided opinion among the nine (9)king makers who had the responsibility of a getting a new chief for the area. Three (3) of the kingmakersincluding JuoNaa, who is the head of the King Makers, actually selected the Nakpaa Naa in line with established hierarchy of succession to the Bimbilla Skin.The other six (6) king makers actually rooted for Mr. Andani Dasana and went ahead to install him as the chief.

This unfolding development was a re-enactment of a similar scenario in 1958, when NaaNatogonah Attah II from Bangyiligate died and it was the turn of Gbugmayilito ascend the throne. Two (2) contenders from the same gate justlike the current crisis, where Nakpaa Salifu Dawuni and Mr. Andani Dasanaare all from the same Gbugmayiligate and were battling for supremacy to assume the reigns of leadership.

In the incident in 1958, the contest was between Bakpab Naa Dawuni andNaaDasanaAbudulai. In that contest, the JuoNaa and three other kingmakers selected the Nakpaa Naa Dasana Abudulai, on the grounds that Nakpaa was the next gate Skin to Bimbilla. The other five (5) king makersselected Bakpab Naa Dawuni as the chief. It is reported that at that time the Bakpaba Naa was more resource endowed and had massive following of the majority of the people and therefore assumed the throne.

The issue generated into a near crisis and the matter was brought before the then Regional Commissionerat the time called Mr.Abavana. He called for the succession plan of Nanung and after a critical study, he pronounced Naa Dasana Abudulai as the legitimate chief on account that he was occupying the Nakpaa Skin at that time. That resolved the problem and Naa Dasana Abudulai assumed the reigns of leadership and ruled for over 20 years.

So this struggle between Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni and Mr. Andani Dasana was seen as history repeating itself. It was therefore the anticipation of most people, that Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni would eventually reign supreme over Mr. Andani Dasana, who had never been a chief, even though he was the son of Naa Dasana Abudulai; but that was never to be the case.

Feeling aggrieved by this rude intrusion by Mr. AndaniDasana to usurp the Bimbilla chieftaincy title from Nakpaa Naa Salifu, who had been a chief with over 30 years standing;startingas a Natong Naa, Bakpab naa and then Nakpaa Naa, he could not comprehend howMr. Andani Dasana could contest him for the title. He therefore took the matter to the judicial committee of the Regional House of Chiefs for a resolution of the matter.

After almost 10 years of legal battle at the Judicial Committee of the Regional House of Chiefs, the verdict was passed in favour of Mr. Andani Dasana. This development was considered completely against the established traditionsand customs of Nanung and an attempt to rewrite the history of Nanung.

Against this background the Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni filed an appeal at the National House of chiefs and the hearing was yet to be called when Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni passed on.

At this juncture it would be important to establish the genealogy of the two (2) contestants who unfortunately have all passed on now; that is,Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni and Mr. Andani Dasana.

This is essential because, the raging argument has been that Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni is not a royal of Gbugmayiligate and that if even he was a royal, hederived his royalty to the gate from the matrilineal lineage and which cannot be considered sufficient grounds to lay claim to the Bimbilla Skin since inheritance in the Nanung Tradition is patrilineal.

A diagrammatic representation to the genealogy will be helpful

Naa Azumah (NaaGbugma)
/ \
Nakpaa Naa Andani Naa Mahama Kalo
/ \ \ \
Naa Naa Naa Abudulai Naa bi yong Dahamani
Yakubu Ziblim \ \

NaaDasana Lepuhi NaaDawuni
\ \
Mr. Andani Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni

Nakpaa Naa Andani Azumah and Naa Mahama Kalo were all sons of Naa Gbugma (Naa Azumah). Nakpaa Naa Andani did not ascend the throne of Bimbilla, but his three sons, Naa Yakubu, Naa Ziblim and Naa Abudulai, all ascended the throne of Bimbilla as chiefs.

Naa Mahama Kalo who was the brother of Nakpaa, Naa Andani was privileged to ascend the throne of Bimbilla. He gave birth to a number of children, but none of them ascended the throne. Among them was Nabi yong Dahamani (prince). He gave birth to Lepuhi Naa Dawuni and he gave birth to Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni. It is reported that Nabi yong Dahamani who was the direct son of Naa Mahama Kalo, married a woman called Kasuah, the daughter of his Senior Father, Nakpaa, Naa Nag’kurili. Nakpa Naa Nag’kurili was one of the sons of Naa Gbugma(Azumah)

The off spring of the marriage between Naabi yong Dahamani and Kasuah was Lepuhi Naa Dawuni and he gave birth to Naa Salifu Dawuni. So it is not correct to say that Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni owes his lineage to Gbugmayiligate through his matrilineal lineage.So the reality is that both Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni and Mr. Andani Dasana trace their ancestry to Naa Gbugma (Naa Azumah). The difference is that along the chain, Mr. Andani Dasana’s grandfather and father were privileged by God’s grace to have become the chiefs of Bimbilla. But could that be a sufficient eligibility criterion to lay claim to the throne of Bimbilla? Others may have a different opinion but I don’t think it is enough grounds to lay claim to the Bimbilla Skin.

The argument against the Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni being the chief of Bimbilla, all along has also been that he is a great grandson of a Bimbilla Naa, in this case, Naa Mahama Kalo and therefore doesn’t deserve the right to ascend the throne.

In the history of Nanung that has never been an issue at all. Indeed Dakpam Naa Dadinkai was a great grandson, but when Naa Abudulai Andani died, he was the only contestant from the Bangyiligate who filed to ascend the throne. All other chiefs did not contest him because he was strategically positioned at Dakpam, the immediate gate Skin to Bimbilla. However, the funeral of the Late Naa Abudulai Andani delayed and by the time, it was performed he had passed on. That was how come Naa Natogmah Atta II, ascended the throne from the Gbungbaliga Skin.

So the only limiting factor to his ascension to the throne was not because he was a great grandson, but because of a natural factor, “death”. So it is spurious and disingenuous for anyone to uphold such an argument. Naa Peinkpaa gave birth to Dakpam Naa Abukari and he gave birth to Nabi young Adama and who also gave birth to Dakpam Naa Dadinka. So it can’t be true that great grandsons cannot ascend the throne.

Another issue that bobbles the minds of many people is how come the first praise of any member of the Naa Abdulai and Naa Dassana family by singers (lunsi) is”wumsiri gari dogra“? Literally translated a natured child is higher than a biological child. History has it that, Naa Andani Abdulai was not the biological son of Nakpaa Naa Andani but one Wumbei Yahiri, who was natured by Nakpaa Naa Andani but not a member of the family,

It is reported that when our brethren from Dagbon decided to include the clause, limiting the ascension to the Yendi Skin to only sons of chiefs in their succession plan, the chiefs from Nanung at that time opposed it after a thorough debate on it.
That is how come Naa Abudulai Andani, the grandfather of Mr. Andani Dasana, who was a grandson himself had the opportunity to ascend the throne. Similarly, that is how come Naa Natogmah Attah II and Naa Abarika Attah II, all grandsons ascended the throne. So for people to come up at this time with such a proposition can best be describe as self serving and underpinned by greed.

Assuming, the claims being hyped by Mr. Andani Dasana and those who share the same opinion with him that grandsons cannot be chiefs to Bimbilla is true, it means that the Nanung Traditional Area found itself at a major crossroad; confronted with a challenge of making a choice out of a situation that had far reaching implication on the stability and cohesion of the chieftaincy institution in Nanung.

This is premised on the fact that Mr. Andani Dasana being a direct son of a chief alone cannot be the only eligibility criteria to make him ascend the Bimbilla Skin. This is because at the time he was laying claim to the title, there were also other sons of hisgrandfather Naa Abudulai Dasana, who could have equally launched the same claim to the chieftaincy on account of the fact that, their father was Naa Abudulai Dasana and therefore were also qualified to contest the Skin. The surviving sons at that time who readilycome to mind areNzo Fusheini Balga and Nzo Yapalsi Naa(now late)

So having a privileged position with some degree of resources could therefore not be sufficient grounds to lay claim to thetitle because, if that should happen, the far reaching implication would be that any Prince in the future who thinks he is sufficiently endowed to launch his claim from nowhere as Mr. Andani Dasana did, will create a chaotic future within the succession hierarchy in Nanung and that would constitute a rewriting of the customs and traditions of the people of Nanung since the well defined order of ascending the throne would be jettisoned.

Also the motivation of chiefs who find themselves on the succession ladder to the throne of the Bimbilla Skin would be deflated. Indeed the Bimbilla Naa derives power and authority from commitment made by Princes who have ambitions for a chieftaincy title. They have to demonstrate their loyalty by their conduct and the manner they pay homage to the Bimbilla Naa in order to catch his eye.

So I have always maintained that Nanung was caught up a web to make a choice between two devils;
1. The claim that a grandson does not ascend the throne even though he has passed through the progression ladder to the throne, in the case of Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni
2. The one whose only claim is that he is the son of former Bimbilla Naa and has not gone through the mill, in the case of Mr. Andani Dasana.

Confronted with these two devils, my opinion is that, the lesser devil would be the choice of a grandson who has gone through the mill because the stability and cohesion of the chieftaincy institution would be better protected than a Prince who wades into the contest on account of he being a son of a chief. That would be potentially dangerous to the stability, cohesion and dignity of the chieftaincy institution,for reasons that have been mentioned earlier.

This is exactly what all well meaning Nanunbas are seeking to guard against, in order to protect the sanctity of the chieftaincy institution against Princes who in the future could create problems because, they have the resources, power and perhaps political backing as is being observed in the current unfolding scenario.
Indeed anybody who has his eyes wide open would not fail to notice that Mr. Andani Dasana’s strength in this matterwas fueled by the fact that he was a former Regional treasurer of the NDC and also the blind support he enjoyedfrom the Andaniyili gate ofTamale, who appear to lack adequate information on the chieftaincy dynamics in Nanung. It has no bearing whatsoever with the Abudu and Andani divide in Dagbon and it is indeed very unfortunate that the Andani yili gate in Tamale are seeking to undermine the sovereignty of Nanung.

Earlier in this write up, I stated that Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni, having convinced himself that Mr. Andani Dasana claim to the chieftaincy title in Bimbilla was an attempt to deny him his legitimate ascension to the throne, filed a writ at the Judicial Committee of the Regional House Chiefs.

In March, 2012 however, the verdict was given in favour of Mr. Andani Dasana. Not satisfied with the outcome, he filed an appeal at the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi. Since an appeal in chieftaincy matters is a stay of execution, the National House of chiefssent a correspondence to all the contesting parties to the effect that none of them could carry himself as the Bimbilla Naa, until the appeal was heard and determined. So in essence as we speak, there is no substantive chief for Bimbilla. The accolade of Bimbilla Naa given to each of the contestants by their respective supporters is not supported and recognized by the Regional and National House of Chiefs.

It is also worthy to state that since Mr. Andani Dasana had never held any chieftaincy title and gazette as a chief, he has no file as a recognized chief in the District, Regional and National Houses of Chiefs and therefore for all these length of time the case was running he had never been invited to any meeting of the Regional House of Chiefs in Tamale.

On the other hand, the Nakpaa Naa with over 30 years standing in the chieftaincy cycles had been gazetted as the NatongNaa in the 1970’s Bakpabnaa in the 1980’s and also as the Nakpaa Naa in the 1990’s. He has therefore been actively participating in all activities at the Regional and National House of chiefs’ levels.
It is therefore strange that after the sad and unfortunate murder of Mr. Andani Dasana, some state officials as well as the media erroneously confer on him, the title of a Bimbilla Naa and the overlord of Nanung.

That is outright misinformation and the facts regarding the current status of each of them does not in any way support that assertion until a final determination of the case is made by the national House of Chiefs regarding who legitimately ought to have been the Bimbilla Naa, since both of them are now deceased.
Caution should therefore be taken not to confer the title of Bimbilla Naa or overload on him on account of the fact that he was sadly murdered.

That dastardly act perpetrated by whoever is condemnable and the killers must be hunted and brought to justice. It is a matter that must be judged on its own merit and distinct from the facts available as to who legitimately ought to have been the Bimbilla Naa.

As earlier indicated the contest for the Bimbilla Naa, was still on when the Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawun ipassed on, on the 5th of March 2014 at the Tamale Teaching Hospital. The family of the deceased, decided to deposit the corpse at the Yendi hospital in order to hold consultations with the family members and also the District Security Committee regarding the necessary arrangement that could be made for a smooth burial.
Information available is that, The District Security Council(DISEC) met and gave approval for the burial of the chief in his ancestral home which is near the old palace in Bimbilla.

The DISEC after satisfying themselves about the propriety of the designated place of burial; made available two pick-ups to support the family to convey the corpse from Yendi to Bimbilla for burial on the 6th March, 2014. Strangely, the Late Mr. Andani Dasana and the family raised a protest against the burial of the Late Nakpaa Naain Bimbilla.Their position was that, because he was NakpaaNaa, his body should be sent to Nakpaa for burial and not in Bimbilla.

The DISEC quickly convened a meeting with the two contesting parties at the District Assembly to address the issues that were emerging and to see whether some understanding could be reached. The meeting was still underway with DISEC, when the Dasana Family determined to stop any attempt by the DISEC to provide the needed security for the burial started sporadic shootings in the township and created fear and panic in the town.

True to theiragenda of frustrating the burial that fateful day, it succeeded because a dusk to dawncurfew was imposed on the town and the programme to go to Yendi to convey the corpse to Bimbilla for burial was halted as a matter natural consequence, since it could not be done in that state of insecurity.

Thereafter, the whole burial process was put in a limbo with no concrete decision from the powers that be, regarding how the burial could be carried out. Considering the complexity of the situation, with the Andani family still insisting that there would not allow the body of Nakpaa Naa Salifu to be buried in Bimbilla, the matter was referred to REGSEC for their intervention to find a solution to the impasse.

It is revealing to state that on the evening when the Dasana family decided to disrupt the burial with the sporadic shooting in the town, a number of Mr. Andani Dasana’sso called warriors were arrested including he, Mr. Andani Dasana himself and detained at the Bimbilla Police Station. Some of them were sent to Tamale and were later granted bail. That case is still running with the police in Tamale. The facts are real and can be cross checked with the security agents in Bimbilla and Tamale.

The Northern Regional Security Council(REGSEC) invited the two parties to a dialogue meeting in Tamale in May, 2014 to discuss the challenges to the burial process of Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni.
At this meeting, the Andani family still insisted that the burial of the chief should not be carried out in Bimbilla but Nakpaa, without providing a reasonable justification why that should be so, aside the argument thathe was a chief of Nakpaa and should therefore be buried there.

The other party, Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni’sfaction, argued that their position was not tenable, on the grounds that Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni was not going to be the first Nakpaa Naa or high ranking chief to be buried in Bimbilla upon demise. They cited Nakpaa Naa Garili, Dakpam Naa Daadinka, Chamba Naa Alaaji and also Mr. Andani’s senior brother, Jua Naa Andani Dasana(Snr), who all died and were buried in Bimbilla.

It is interesting to state that at that particular meeting, the son of NakpaaNaa Garli who was part of the delegation from the Andani family and were pressing for the burial of Naa Salifu Dawuni in Nakpaa, could not convince the meeting why his father was buried in Bimbilla, if it was an abomination to do so.

Indeed the continuous insistence by Mr. Andani’sfaction for the burial of the Nakpaa Naa Salifu in Nakpaa had in fact exposed the double standards, hypocrisy and the bunch of contradictions exhibited by the family. The relevant questions that are begging for answers are that since when did they recognize Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni as a legitimate chief to Nakpaa? If they have suddenly woke up to that realization and are insisting that he should be buried at Nakpaa as a Nakpaa Naa, on what grounds did a non-titled fellow lay claim to the Bimbilla Skin, when it is established that the next gate skin to Bimbilla from the Gbugmayili gate is Nakpaa? If by this action, controversy is stared in the land, who should be held accountable?It is this level of dishonesty and insincerity of these people that has brought the whole Nanung into this sad and grieving situation

When the agenda for the burial of the chief in Nakpaa could not be sustained, the meeting was adjourned for a while for consultations to be made with the parties. When the meeting was reconvened, the REGSEC decision which, they considered a compromise position was that, the burial could take place in Bimbilla but that the grave that was dug should be relocated to a different house other than the ancestral house of the Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni.

I found that conclusion reached as a mark ofmediocrity and a very disappointing decision by the caliber of people who constitute the REGSEC. That is why many people are ofthe believethat because of Mr. Adani’s connection with the Government particularly at the Regional Level, everything possible was being done to satisfy his wishes.

Otherwise, what sense does it make for REGSEC to give such a latitude to a family which is in contest with another family to be a party to a negotiation to determine the burial of another rival contestant? when the designated place of the burial was not in the palace but his ancestral home. This is pure absurdity.

If someone cannot be buried in his ancestral house where he has lived all his life, in whose house should he be buried? Or are they suggesting that he should be buried in the sky? This is outright injustice of the highest order perpetrated against the rights of some people by Mr. Andani Dasana’s family and tacitly supported by the REGSEC led by the Deputy Regional Minister. Mr. A. B. A. Fusheini. It is difficult to comprehend why he should allow his personal idiosyncrasies to cloud his sense of judgment on simple security matters that had wider implication should the burial continue to stagger on.
There were clear signals that the continuous delay in the burial of the chief was heighteningtensions and anxiety among the family of the Late Nakpaa Naa. This was because of the continuous reference to the chief as an ice fish, simply because he was still in the mortuary. This complaint was made to the BNI Officer in the District.

At this juncture, it is important to state that the Nanumba Traditional Area has no designated royal museumleum, as is the case in other jurisdictions, so each of the gates bury their chiefs in their respective palaces. So one wonders why every effort has been made to deny this chief a sound burial place.Our Tradition and also the Islam Religion, under normal circumstances frown on keeping corpses in mortuaries for longer periods. That is why when any Muslim dies, he is quickly buried. Nakpaa Naa was a Muslim and also an Alhaji.

So why should people be so callous and insensitive to others predicament over trivialities and pettiness. The present status of the case is that Nakpaa Naa remains Nakpaa Naa and not Bimbilla Naa as his supporters would want to have it. Equally, Mr. Adanni Dasana remains Mr. Andani Dasana and not Bimbilla Naa. That is why throughout this writeup, I have resisted the temptation of referring to anyone of them as the Bimbilla Naa, but have stuck to what their actual status is,at this present moment.

A letter dated 10th March, 2014 and referenced NAC/NR/2012 from the National House of chiefs was explicit on the status of the two contestants. The letter stated that the Bimbilla paramoucy was vacant. On the heels of this when the family of Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni requested for his mortal remains to bury as a Bimbilla Naa, the REGSEC was quick to reply the family per a letter dated 19th June, 2014 and referenced AC 66/01.0/74, stating that per their records the Bimbilla Skin was vacant and that they could not approve for the release of his remains for burial as a Bimbilla Naa.
So one wonders why with all these facts available to REGSEC, they suddenly chose to refer to Andani Dasani as the overlord of Nanung and went ahead to make all the security arrangement for his son to be installed as a regent of a Bimbilla Naa, even when a court injunction was served to halt this process, because he was not a gazzetted chief of Bimbilla.It is this kind of impunity being displayed by some state officials that is putting the integrity of the Mahama Led government into question.

Why should REGSEC be so naive to hold onto the baseless fear of the Andani family that if he is buried in Bimbilla it means, he is Bimbilla Naa. That is why I strongly think the ineptitude of the REGSEC to come to Bimbilla to see for themselves whether the chief was being buried in the palace or in his house, and to take a decision on the matter, was a total dereliction of theirmandate to ensure the security of the region through reaching decisions that are fair and just to all people within their jurisdiction.

So without any fear of contradiction, I put the current crisis squarely on the laps of REGSEC. All they needed to do was to make security arrangements to get the man buried at his ancestral home, so that he could Rest In Peace and avoid hurting the sensibilities of people who are in grieve.
This could have probably averted this calamity if the suspicions that the perpetrators of this act are people sympathetic to the course of Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni is right.

Every citizen of Nanung and for that matter Bimbilla who were of age during the reign of Naa Dasana Abudulai and particularly the household of NaaDasana, cannot fail to acknowledge the fact that Naa Salifu Dawuni served the household of Naa Dasana Abudulai with an unparallel level of commitment, dedication and loyally than could ever be imagined.

Indeed, facts available indicate that he was at the centre of organising the food ration for the family. Also he made it a personal burden to occasionally provide clothing to the wives of Naa Dasana Abudulai any time there was an impending festival.

He showed personal interest, involvement and support for the education of the children of Naa Dasana Abudulai including, the Late Mr. Andani Dasana. It is reported that when Mr. Andani Dasana unexpectedly waded into the contest, Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni was so much in pain, hurt and disbelieve that on one occasion, he had to walk straight to Mr. Andani Dasana to question him if this was the reward he deserved after loyally serving their father and continuously sought the welfare of his children who he regarded as his brothers?

He is reported to have referred Mr. Andani Dasona to a scar he had on one of his legs, which was the result of an accident he had with Nakpaa Naa’s Mobilette motorbike during his childhood days. Indeed that bike was regularly used by Mr. Andani Dasana during those times.

The service in loyalty he gave was not because he was a slave or laborer in the household of Naa Dasana, but because he was also a royal within the Gbugmayiligate. So he did this with the hope of receiving blessing from the old man, so that one day he could also reach the ultimate chieftaincy status in Nanung, as the Bimbilla Naa.

He did receive that blessings and God answered his prayers to be the Bimbilla Naa. He was indeed installed as the Bimbilla Naa, but Mr. Andani Dasana’s waded into the context and frustrated his life time dream, until he passed on the 5th March, 2014.

Even after his death, the Andani’s family has frustrated the burial of this noble man till date as if this man was a stranger in Nanung and common criminal or villain whose body should not be entertained in Nanung soil. That is most wicked, most callous and highly insensitive the Adani family and their backers in the RESEC could be.

This noble man certainly does not deserve this kind of treatment because he has paid his due in the service of the Dasana family, the Nanumba Kingdom and the republic of Ghana, through his contributions to the District, Regional, and National Houses of Chiefs and as stated before. He has represented the paramount chiefs of Bimbilla in several activities in Ghana. Apart from him being a chief, he was a traditional healer whose power of treatment using herbal medicine brought ease to peoples ailing pains and saved lives from all parts of Nanung and the country.

I can therefore state without any fear of contraction that, if this contest had been a contest that allowed for a determination of a chief through popular vote, Mr. Andani Dasana would have lost miserably in the polls, despite his so called resources and political connection.

It appears that the long reign of Naa Dasana Abudulai, the father of Mr. Andani Dasana, who enjoyed so much cooperation and respect had made the Dasana family deceive themselves into thinking that, they reign supreme and any other person in Nanung is a slave.

Let it be said that leadership is about attracting the respect of those you lead and not through cohesion. In this modern age it would never work and they need to be told that those days of unbridled tyrannyis over.

This mentality explains why in the aftermath of this callous murder of Mr. Andani, the family has decided to hunt down and arrest any key figure in Nanung who they are aware had sympathies for the Late Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni.

In the process they have succeeded in arresting several innocent people for detention. The burden of prove about the involvement of these scores of people in the murder of Mr. Andani, rest with them and all eyes are watching.

The American Maxim that “you are either With us, or you are against us” seem to be in tune with their thinking.

One character at the center of the controversy in this whole chieftaincy crisis in Nanung is one Azindow Natogma, who has arrogated to himself the title Kpatih inaa and the chief kingmaker in Nanung, when the facts on the grounds does not support that claim.

In fact, he is Azindow Natogma and not Kpatihi naa. Indeed, since the death of Kpatihi naa Pomadoo in 1994 under circumstances that everybody in Nanung celebrates as a hero, about 20 years ago, his funeral has not yet been performed and therefore Azindow cannot hold himself as Kpatihinaa, since nobody has conferred that title on him. He is not also the regent of Kpatihi naa Ponadoo, if he were, that could have been understood because regents in our tradition assume the power their fathers have, until a new successor is chosen.

With the sad demise of Mr. Andani Dasana, Azindow Natogmah has again arrogated to himself, the title of the Head of Gbugmayiligate and is being addressed as such by the media.

The Kpatihinaa title is a title of a sub-chief, offering loyal services to all royals of the land. It is not a royal title, so his claim to be the head of the Gbugmayiligate cannot be substantiated. It is characters like this who have brought the traditions and culture of the people of Nanung on its knees. A non titled chief conferring honors on a non-titled claimant to the Bimbilla Skin and yet expect the people of Nanung to accept hook, line and sinker such a deception and drama., Our traditions and culture are not dead, they are alive.

In every traditional set up, there are some people who could readily pander to ,corruption or allow their selfish interest to over ride their right sense of judgment. On the other hand, others will resist this temptation and resolve to stand by the truth no matter the odds.

This hasbeen amply demonstrated by the JuoNaa and the Traditional Priestsof our tradition in Nanung, The Daadayili and Binda Traditional Priests. This group of people performed the appropriate traditional rites on Nakpa Naa Salifu Dawuni when he was installed by the JuoNaa, the head of the Kingmakers. On the contrary, they refused to do same to Mr. Andani Dasana when the other king makers allegedlypandered to the corrupting influence of Andani and decided to bestow that title of Bimbilla Naa on him. The Priestsresisted this corrupting scheme because they believed they will attract the wrath and curses of the ancestors should they not stand for the truth.

At the death of Nakpaa Naa, the traditional priests of Nanung were again on hand to perform the necessary customary rites for his burial, because, to them, their position has always been that they donot recognize any other person as the legitimate Bimbilla Naa other than the Nakpaa Naa; the status of the case at court notwithstanding.

This explains probably why the Andani family was at pains to stop the legitimate burial of Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni. So as we speak, the chief continue to remain in the mortuary for the past four months.

Even with the sad murder of Mr. Andani Dasana all attempts to get the traditional priests of Nanung at Daadayili and Binda, the two fetish villages in Nanung to perform the rites for his burial as a Bimbilla Naa, wasbluntly refused to cede to that request because they stand by the truth and nothing but the truth.

Let anybody from the Andani’s family deny that was not what happened when they went to them to ask them to come and bury the Late Mr. Andani Dasana. So let the court engage in whatever ways and means to legitimise Mr. Andani Dasana’s claim to the Bimbilla Skin through any governmental cohesion, ample evidence exist to show that the actual custodians of the culture and tradition of Nanung recognizes Nakpaa Naa Salifu Dawuni as the legitimate chief to the Bimbilla Skin.

This write up is without any prejudice to the final determination of the case at the National House of Chiefs.Neither is it intended to absolve the perpetrators of this heinous crime when they are found out. It is intended to put the facts on the table regarding the current Nanung Chieftaincy crisis. Murder is first degree felony within the judicial system of this country and anyone found culpable of that act, backed by sufficient evidence ought to be dealt with by law.

Nanung is a small traditional area with a huge potential for progress both in Agriculture and business and also the increasing numbers of scholars emerging from the area.

The family ties are so closely knitted that, this unfortunate development in the land is tearing us apart and the level of mistrust and suspicion are raising tensions so high that one wonders if the land would ever be the same. That is why I continue to grieve ever since this murder was reported.

To conclude this piece, I want to make reference to a relevant quote that was made in Ola Rotimi’s celebrated Novel, ”The god’s are not to blame”, when one of the characters had this lamentations to make when the people defied the orders, customs and traditions of the area, and the wrath of the gods had to be visited on them.

I find the scenario in that book akin to the current turmoil we are facing in Nanung. The statement says “if our elders who we all so cherish and hold in high esteem can sell their conscience for the devil’s money, then let pigs eat shame and men eat dung”

We have reached these crisis period in our history as a people because some of our elders have simply failed to stand by the truth and allowed somebody’s personal and unexamined ambitions to bring Nanung to this sordid state.

May the souls of all the Great Sons of Nanung Rest in Perfect Peace.