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The Eastern Corridor Road Project and the Yendi Comeback

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 Source: Zuu II, Naa Zangina

Yendi is a city and the capital of Yendi Municipal Assembly , a district in the Northern Region of Ghana . Yendi has a population of about 300,000 people.

Yendi has been known by several names such as Sankara, Yeni, Yendiri and Naya.

Naa Timtitugri was the first Yaa-Naa (King of Dagbon) to settle in the area (then Yendiri). Yendi, the capital town of Dagbon Kingdom was named after the Deities of Yendiri. The Godhead (Bugli Yendiri) was so much revered that the Yaa-Naa would not mention his name often, swear to it or dream about it. It is believed that Yendiri is a human being, who can speak to the Yaa-Naa for guidance and wisdom.

Since the king could not mention the gods name they called their new settlement Naaya (The king’s hometown).

Yendi is blessed with vast land for agriculture and some minerals such as iron ore and even gold. In 2004, proposals surfaced to link iron ore mines in the vicinity of Yendi by rail .

Yendi today is really a shadow of its former glorious self. Three things have accounted for this rather unfortunate status; the burning of Yendi by the Germans during the Dagbon German War in 1886, the diversion of North Africa- Gulf Coast trade route and incessant conflicts that can be traced to the division of Dagbon into British and German Dagbon. Bowdich T.E. in 1819 renders accounts of Yendi in the following lines.

"Bowdich T. E., Mission from Cape Coast to Ashantee 1819 (notes):177.

7 days from Sallagah NE( North East) according to the Moors through the Inta town of Zongoo is Yahndi(Yendi) the capital of Dagwumba(Dagomba).

178 Yahndi is described to be beyond comparison larger than Coomassie( Kumasi), the houses much better built and ornamented. Ashantees lost themselves in the streets. The King Inana (Yaa Naa) Taquanee, has been converted by the Moors, who have settled there in great numbers. The markets at Yahndi are

described as animated scenes of commerce, constantly crowded with merchants from almost all countries of the interior. Horses and cattle abound. Yahndi is named after the numeral one, from its pre-eminence."

Yendi has seen many unpleasant events and thus suffered bad press from the Ghanaian media. One would have thought that being the capital of Ghana's oldest traditional Kingdom, Yendi should have been the bastion of trade, culture, recreation and education but, that is not the case today. Yendi's glory has dipped and the grandeur that used to be associated with the city is now lost.

What is refreshing however, is the construction of the Eastern Corridor Road executed by the Ghanaian Government. The road project that stretches from Bawku, through to Gushegu, Yendi, Hohoe and finally to Tema is expected to be completed in 2016.

The project will not only open up the area and made Yendi a major transit hub but, will make it possible for people to cart goods and services to Southern Ghana and to reach the Sahel area as well easily. Yendi might as well regain its status as the heartbeat of the Sahelian relegating Tamale to a second position.

The Dagbon Council and the Yendi Municipal Assembly should be able to position the city to reap fully the benefits of such a project. The Yendi main market therefore , needs a major facelift and expansion to make way for the exodus of merchants that will flood the city after the road construction. Hotel accommodation should also be given serious consideration to give decent accommodation to the many tourist and business people who will use the city as a transit destination. Investment in educational infrastructure will be necessary to attract students from surrounding community to come to Yendi . The youth of Yendi also stand a better chance of empowering themselves economically if this opportunity is not taken for granted. They could exploit this even through trade among other things.

Yendi's future is bright but, peace, unity and mutual trust must prevail among the people for this ancient city to retrace its glorious past.

Naa Zangina Zuu II.

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Columnist: Zuu II, Naa Zangina