BY KOBINA WELSING
THOUSANDS OF Dagbon youth in the Northern Region have staged a street protest at Yendi against the two rival royal families – the Abudus and Andanis.
The two royal families have for many years been fighting over the Dagbon skin. The rivalry has led to a number of deaths and destruction of property in Dagbon.
Security agencies have struggled to maintain lasting peace in Yendi while prominent national figures have equally struggled to resolve the conflict between the two royal families.
But the youth of the area say enough is enough and poured onto the streets on Monday to demand an end to the rivalry. Over 10 bus-loads of youth left Tamale for the protest in Yendi, which has been lauded by public-spirited Dagombas.
The Dagbon peace march, dubbed ‘Di Wumti’, to wit, ‘we are tired’, was organised by the Dagbon Malimi Zongo Network in collaboration with other major stakeholders in Dagbon.
In a petition, the youth of Dagomba stated that the conflict had negatively affected politicians and the youth from the Yendi area.
Read their unedited petition below:
PETITION FOR THE IMMEDIATE RESOLUTION OF THE DAGBON CHIEFTAINCY CONFLICT
In the name of the Almighty God, We the Dagbon Youth, composed of sons and daughters from both chieftaincy gates, in exercise of our Sovereignty as a people under Article 1(1) of the 1992 Constitution, and in further exercise of our natural and inalienable right to demand the immediate resolution of Dagbon chieftaincy conflict, do hereby sign onto this petition for and on behalf of our members and people of Dagbon.
As a crucial ingredient of our peaceful demonstration dubbed “Di Wumti” (we are tired), we wish to make a solemn appeal to Your Royal Highness, the Committee of Eminent Kings, the Kampakuya Naa, the Bolinlana, the Kuganaa, Dagbon elites, politicians and well-meaning sons and daughters of Dagbon, that we are tired of the age-long Abudu-Andani impasse that has crippled us for years.
Our heroic ‘kings’, from Tohazei, through Naa Gbewa to Naa Yakubu Andani II will never forgive us if we do not revolt against the disunity and disharmony, that has sent us so backward as a people. We sincerely believe the royals should not hold us ransom while the rest of Dagbon languish in abject poverty, joblessness, and underdevelopment.
There is no Dagomba man or woman who has not tasted the demeaning effect of this Abudu – Andani brouhaha. Be you wealthy or poor, educated or uneducated, man or woman, old or young, the Dagbon standstill has damaged our reputation enough, Di Wumti.
It is sad that a lasting peace and total unity is still an elusive dream in Dagbon, in spite of our great lawyers, elites, politicians and the many fine brains that Dagbon can boast of. Peace and unity is still a faraway dream for Dagombas because we are still grappling with the question of who should be the King of “All Dagombas” and not just a faction of the Kingdom.
It is sad to say that Dagbon is a less strong and even a more vulnerable Kingdom in the face of continued disunity and in-fighting, and in recent years, has become the laughing stock in Ghana. History is a good teacher; but we (Dagombas), particularly the Nabihi, seem not to be good learners. As our history tells us, no tribe, kingdom, empire, or even the white people (colonialists) dared attack the Dagomba Kingdom when we were totally united.
We are sad to say that Dagbon is still the political football of Ghanaian politics, normally used by politicians to advance their selfish political ambitions and in the process ferment disunity, bitter hatred among our fold. We have seen the political suicide the entire Dagbon has been plunged into. Our politicians no more get political appointments they deserve.
The few who even get appointments to sensitive positions do not climb higher, sometimes due to the fact that they do not have home backings because of our disharmony. We wish to register our collective displeasure at any politician who has used our factional fight to make their gains and fame in politics. If they cannot help in uniting us, they should not help in disuniting us.
We are sad to say that we are still called derogatory names such as: the “primitive people,” the “barbarians,” the “bush people,” “sheep,” “difficult people” “liars” and many more, to which we are totally defenseless. Our hope is that we can vindicate ourselves and prove to the world that we can change and become civilised, humble, peaceable, united people and put our past behind us.
We know that while the Yani Skin is degraded and relegated to the background, the chieftaincy contractors would wish to continue their bid. Enough of the back and forth; enough of the lies and name calling, enough of the quagmire. Di Wumti.
We want finality to this issue. We are calling the committee of the eminent Kings to immediately come out with the final program/roadmap for the performance of the funerals of the late Kings of Dagbon Naa Mahamadu Abdullai IV and Na Yakubu Andani II to pave way for the next Ya Na to be enskined for us all to make progress.
The program/roadmap to peace should strictly be followed without fear or favour. We wish to state in clear unequivocal terms that the powers of the President, his Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Asantehene, the Chairman of the Committee of Eminent Kings have been rendered almost useless by the two royal families who do not want the progress of Dagbon but their individual interests.
The immediate past history teaches us that the powers of his Excellency John Dramani Mahama, his Excellency John Evans Atta Mills, his Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor and his Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, have been rendered less useful in using their will and commitment with the powers of the state to resolve the Abudu-Andani quagmire based on law and customary provisions of Dagbon. We need justice, and it must be immediate, Di Wumti.
In conclusion, we wish to state that if we do not see an end to this conflict, very soon, and we repeat, very soon, we will advise ourselves. We will soon allow stiffer pressure to bear on the royals, chiefs, the Committee of Eminent Kings, and the President of the republic of Ghana to resolve our age-long conflict.
We will very soon embark on an exercise dubbed occupy the palaces and streets, so that no movements of the chiefs and vehicles will be allowed since our progress as sons and daughters of Dagbon is stampeded by the chiefs and government by their actions and inactions. We would leave you with two quotes:
When two elephants fight it is the grass that suffers. When two brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their property.
Enough is enough. Enough of our slavery. Enough of the suffering. Enough of the Abudu-Andani fight over useless and trivial issues that have nothing other than stagnation and retrogression for Dagbon. Dagbon needs Yaa-Naa now; Dagbon youth needs Yaa-Naa now.