The forecourt of the Gbewaa Palace at Yendi, the traditional headquarters of the Dagbon Kingdom, was a scene of joy and ecstasy when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo joined the chiefs and people to celebrate the Damba Festival on Saturday.
The chiefs wore traditional smocks with hats and long boots to match, dancing to the rhythm of the drums, displaying the typical traditional culture to the world, while the youth mounted horses, amidst musketry, to celebrate the Festival.
Ya-Na Abukari Mahama II, Overlord of Dagbon, was in state as the chiefs and dignitaries, including former President John Dramani Mahama, members of the diplomatic corps, and ministers of state-paid homage.
The Ya-Na took the opportunity to enskin President Akufo-Addo as the Dagbon Malti-Naa, laterally meaning Dagban Reconciler or Unity Chief, in recognition of his role in resolving the 17-year long Dagbon chieftaincy conflict.
This year’s Damba Festival was symbolic as it was the first since the Ya-Na’s enskinment, held on the theme: “A New Dagbon: Peace and Unity for Development”.
It is celebrated by the Dagombas and some ethnic groups in the northern part of Ghana to mark the birth and naming of Prophet Mohammed.
Ya-Na Abukari, whose speech was read on his behalf, spoke about the lack of potable water within the Kingdom, which he said affected the health and daily activities of the people.
He also drew attention to the deplorable state of major roads within the area, especially the Tamale-Karaga, Tamale-Salaga, Tamale-Saboba, Yendi-Chereponi and the Yendi-Tatale roads, and said it was hampering the transportation of goods and services.
He, therefore, appealed to the President to help address those issues to improve on the living conditions of the people and boost economic activities. He urged the President to help resolve the Nanton chieftaincy issue to bring lasting peace to the Dagbon Kingdom.
President Akufo-Addo, on his part, commended the chiefs and people for embracing peace and assured them that the Yendi Water Project would soon start to ensure easy access to improved water.
He said the roads sector was important to the Government and that efforts would be made to improve the situation.
He assured the Ya-Na of his commitment to working to resolve the Nanton chieftaincy problem to ensure lasting peace in the Kingdom.