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Opinions of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Columnist: Gyimah, Gilbert Adu

Lessons in Unity, Determination, Sacrifice, Discipline, Leadership, and Victory

– Part 1

Nana Osei Tutu succeeded Nana Obiri Yeboa as the Chief of Kwaman State later known as Kumase State. During his enstoolment, he promised his people that he would take up the great task of uniting the Asante States. He was helped to achieve this aim by the great priest and Chief of Agona, Nana Okomfo Anokye. Nana Osei Tutu and Okomfo Anokye were enstooled at the same time, Osei Tutu as Kwamanhene, and Okomfo Anokye as Agonahene. Nana Osei Tutu succeeded his late uncle Obiri Yeboa while Okomfo Anokye succeeded his late brother Okomfo Yemoa.

According to oral tradition, a meeting of the Chiefs of the Asante States was called by Nana Osei Tutu of Kumase. The main agenda was to unite under one of the chiefs. His stool would be greater than all the other stools. The question of "who would be chosen as the head" surfaced.

It was at this juncture that Okomfo Anokye explained that the problem would be solved by the ancestors and the gods. He would pray to the ancestors and the gods. At the end of the prayer, the ancestors and the gods would send a stool from the skies and the chief on whose laps the descending stool would rest would be the chosen chief. According to oral tradition, a festive Friday " Fofie" was chosen to be the day that they would meet for the gods and ancestors to choose their King for them. When they agreed on the day, they were told by Okomfo Anokye to fast and pour libation to their ancestors and the gods until the chosen day. They then dispersed to their various states.

On the appointed day, the chiefs met, each wondering if he might become the Chosen One. The atmosphere was calm. Okomfo Anokye appeared amidst drumming and dancing. After some magical dances, he paused a little, jumped here and there and began to call something from the sky. Drumming started again and the priest conjured. The sky became tense and a deafening noise was heard. Then a stool studded with gold descended onto the laps of Nana Osei Tutu. It therefore meant that he had been chosen by the ancestors and the gods as the unquestionable King of the kings of the Asante Nation.

Finger nails and a small collection of hair from each chief were collected, all burnt and the ashes, some smeared on the stool and the rest mixed in palm wine for all to drink.

Okomfo Anokye told them that the stool contained the spirit of the Asante Nation. The potion they drank meant that they had sworn to the gods, which meant they had taken an oath to unite and forget their past individual histories. Osei Tutu first took the oath of allegiance to the stool and the chiefs. Each chief in turn took an oath of allegiance to Nana Osei Tutu and an oath never to raise arms against the Golden Stool. That was the beginning of the Asante Kingdom. Nana Osei Tutu was therefore made the first king of the Asante kingdom.

***This article was culled from

Gilbert Adu Gyimah
Edmonton, AB, Canada