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Opinions of Monday, 5 September 2016

Columnist: Hardi, Ibrahim

The battle of Sang and the partitioned of Dagbon by Germany and Britain.

By Hardi, Ibrahim

Naa Andani II ruled Dagbon for 38 years (1858 to 1896). It is believe his ascention to the skin of Yani marks the beginning of the current rotation between the two royal houses, Abdulai (Abudu) Gate and Andani gate.

Ya Naa Abdulai I and Ya Naa Andani II were of different mothers. According to Dagbon custom and tradition it is believe that no two princes of the same woman should be allow to ascend Yani. Hence, the slogan “no woman can bring forth two lions”. Naa Abdulai’s mother was Gbanzalun Lamisi while Naa Andani’s mother was Galibang Budaali.

It was under the reign of Ya Naa Andani II that the Europeans begun excursions into Dagbon. The European came bearing flags, treaties and promise of protection. Dagbon under Naa Andani Il resisted the advancement of the Germans into the Dagbon kingdom.

On December 04,1886 an army of about 7,000 strong armed men with bow and arrows clashed with the German army with their guns at Adiboo, near Yendi. The bravery of the Dagbon warriors on that day cannot be mentioned living out the outstanding warrior Kambon Nakpema Ziblim.

It's believe Ya Naa Andani II, before his death, recommended that upon his death Karaga Naa Alasani, a son of Naa Abdulai (Abudu) I,should be made to become Ya Naa and his (Ya Naa Andani II) eldest son Tugula Yiri should become Karaga Naa, a Ya Naa in waiting. This was to establish the “unwritten” rotational system of ascension to Yani. But this was not done.

Upon the death of Ya Naa Andani II, the struggle for Yani once again flared up. History taught us that Karaga Naa Alasani failed to go to Yendi to mourn with the children of Ya Naa Andani II.

According to Dagbon custom and tradition, upon the death of a Ya Naa all divisional chiefs must go to Yendi and offer their burial kits to the bereaved family. The only exception to this is Gushie Naa.

After presenting their burial kits, the chiefs may choose to stay in Yendi until after the funeral rites are performed and the new Ya Naa is outdoored or go back to their respective towns or villages. For the occupants of the gate skins, the presentation of the burial kit is deemed an unofficial application for consideration for Yani.

The failure of Karaga Naa Alasani to mourn the death of Ya Naa Andani II angered his children and some sympathizers. So when Karaga Naa Alasani went to Yendi during the final funeral rites of Ya Naa Andani II and presented his donation towards the funeral of Ya Naa Andani II, the family refused the donation and returned it to Karaga Naa Alasani. Karaga Naa Alasani left Yendi on that same day.

After the funeral of Ya Naa Andani II, contrary to his recommendation, Yoo Naa Darimani (known as Kukra Adjei) was enskinded Ya Naa. Ya Naa Darimani, was son of Ya Naa Yakubu I. In the sense of the word he was not from Abudu gate and in all likelihood an Andani gate sympathizer. This was the first upset in the instituted rotational system between Abudu gate and Andani gate.

The reign of Ya Naa Darimani (Kukra Adjei) was short-lived. In fact he was on the skins of Yani for seven weeks. In the heat of the dispute surrounding the funeral of Ya Naa Andani II and the enskinment of Ya Naa Darimani, Kori Naa Bukari Narkaw went to Sansanne Mango, in Togoland, and invited the Germans to attacked Yendi. They attacked the Gbewaa palace for the second time.

The Germans had earlier failed to capture Dagbon in the famed battle of Adiboo and held this grudge against Naa Andani II. The Germans led by Dr. Rigler saw this invitation, and the state of disarray in the Dagbon State, as a golden opportunity to impose German domination on Dagbon. The Germans moved into Dagbon meeting the entourage from Western Dagbon at Sang on their way back home after the enskinment of Ya Naa Darimani. They attacked and killed Tugu Naa Yiri who had been enskinned Yo Naa.

Ya Naa Darimani (Kukra Adjei) abdicated Yani and fled from Yendi. The Germans helped enskin Karaga Naa Alasani as the new Ya Naa.

Upon his ascension to Yani, Ya Naa Alasani enskinned his uncle Kori Naa Bukari Narkaw to the now vacant skin of Karaga. Ya Naa Alassani also appointed his brother Kalim to Mion, deskining Mion Lana Salifu, and his uncle Bukari to Savelugu.

When Yo Naa Bukari died in the early 1900, Ya Naa Alassani appointed his brother Yoo Mahama to Savelugu. These appointments are important because at that point there was no one from Andani gate on a gate skin. Therefore Andani gate could not get to Yani as the rotation system demanded. It must be noted that the appointment of chiefs to the divisional chiefdoms is left at the sole discretion of the Ya Naa and his elders. Whoever he wills is appointed.

After the ascension of Ya Naa Alasani to the skins of Yani,Dagbon was partitioned into Togoland Dagbon and British Dagbon. On November 14, 1899, the colonial powers of Britain and Germany signed a convention to establish boundaries to their colonial territories.

The British Dagbon mainly consisted of Western Dagbon, stretching from around Mion (Sambu) to Tamale. Whereas Yendi, Mion (Sambu) and most of Eastern Dagbon made up Togoland Dagbon, under German administration. The partition of Dagbon created intense friction between Ya Naa Alasani on the one hand and Yani gate skins in Western Dagbon on the other. Especially, his uncle Karaga Naa Bukari Narkaw.