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Opinions Sat, 2 Aug 2014

Unanswered questions on the Bimbilla chieftaincy issue

As a son of Nanung, I write with deep sorrow and anguish regarding the state of affairs in the Nanumba Traditional Area. I first of all want to condemn the murder of the late Mr. Andani Dasana (a contestant for the Bimbilla Skin) in no uncertain terms. Mr. Andani Dasana’s death occurred on 19th June, 2014.

I also want to express my condolences to the family of the late Naa Salifu Dawuni (the other contestant for the Bimbilla Skin), whose sudden death occurred at the Tamale Teaching Hospital in March, 2014.

To put this in perspective, it is worth stating that both Naa Salifu Dawuni and Mr. Andani Dasana both belong to the Gbugmayili gate. The Gbugmayili gate is one of the two (2) gates that qualify to ascend to the Bimbilla Skin (Paramouncy). The other gate being the Bangyili gate.

As it stands now, the issue is still before the National House of Chiefs, pending determination on the rightful person to the Bimbilla skin. I would at this stage hesitate to go into the substantive matter on who is the rightful person to the Bimbilla skin, because that would be prejudicial. I would not also go into issues of succession to the throne, because that has already been discussed extensively in other articles that I have read online on the issue.

However, I want to reflect on how the Government and for that matter the Northern Regional Coordinating Council has handled this chieftaincy crisis so far with the view to enhancing good governance in our dear country.

After the death of Naa Salifu Dawuni in March, 2014, he was due to be taken back to Bimbilla for burial. The place where he was until he was taken ill and rushed to Tamale, where he met his untimely death. Unfortunately, the adherents of Mr. Andani Dasana in Bimbilla protested against the burial of Naa Salifu Dawuni in Bimbilla despite the fact that a number of Nanung chiefs who had died in Bimbilla but were not Bimbilla Naa’s were buried in Bimbilla. The protest raised the issue of security threat in the area and the mortal remains of Naa Salifu was deposited at the Mortuary of the Yendi Municipal Hospital, where it has remained up till now. So although Naa Salifu Dawuni died before Mr. Andani Dasana he is yet to be buried.

However, in the case of Mr. Andani Dasana, the man who most if not all the Media outlets that have reported on the unfortunate incident have erroneously described as the Overlord of Nanung, has had his mortal remains taken back to Bimbilla by a Government delegation under heavy security presence led by Hon. Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu in Tamale. Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini is also the Deputy Northern Regional Minister. This is the man who vowed to bury Mr. Andani Dasana at all cost, i.e. even if it means losing all the positions and power he currently holds. God being so wonderful, he did succeed in this course and buried Mr. Andani Dasana as the “Overlord of Bimbilla” without recourse to Nanung Customs and Traditions. I don’t begrudge him for the “befitting” burial that Mr. Andani Dasana was accorded but perhaps he is setting a very bad precedence. Perhaps, the name Andani has fooled him into thinking this is the traditional Dagbon Andani and Abudu conflicts in which he must show and champion his known Andani interest taking advantage of his current position in Government.

After the burial of Mr. Andani Dasana, a regent was also enthroned under the skin name Nyelinbolgu Naa. This was done under heavy security presence, which I guess was provided by the Regional Security Council (REGSEC), which I believe the Northern Regional Minister is the Chair. Here again, the role of Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini seems to have dwarfed that of the substantive minister. Videos of the burial and installation of the regent show Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini playing a lead role and creating the impression that the Mahama led government was giving their blessing to the aforementioned activities.

Hence I have a few questions bothering my mind each time I think about this chieftaincy crisis and role of Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini. Some of the questions and issues include the following:

1. As the Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini is the Deputy Chief Administrator of the seat of Government in the Northern Region. Was he aware that the chieftaincy crisis in Nanung is pending before the National House of Chiefs before going ahead to ensure the burial of Mr. Andani? He must have been aware because there is a letter written and signed by Hon. Alhaji Mohammed-Muniru Limuna, Northern Regional Minster on 19th June, 2014 that says “information available to REGSEC indicates that the Bimbilla Skin has been vacant for some time now and that the contention over the skin is before the National House of Chiefs for determination……” So clearly the Northern Regional Administration is aware of the current position on the Bimbilla skin. So why on earth was it given the semblance of official blessing? Is it his parochial interest in championing the Andani dynasty? Is he not creating a problem for the President by exporting the Andani-Abudu issue to Nanung? Will Mamprusi be next in his Andani agenda? The president needs to take a critical look at the role of this Deputy Minister. Any future appointments in Tamale must avoid persons that are steeped deep into the Andani-Abudu chieftaincy disputes.

2. I also want to know and I believe readers will also want to know what plans the Northern Regional Coordinating Council has towards the burial of the late Naa Salifu Dawuni, whose mortal remains is still at the Mortuary of the Yendi Municipal Hospital? Naa Salifu was a chief of Nakpaa, one of the gate skins of Nanung. It is instructive to note that the process of enskining Naa Salifu as Bimbilla Naa had gone through the various stages and was left with only the last stage where he selects his name that supporters of Mr. Andani Dasana disrupted the function. Rather than provide security to complete the installation the Regional and District Security suspended the process. Should we be rewarding chaos or persons that have disregard for the rule of law?

3. I want to know if Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini wants peace for Nanung or he wants to appease some sections of the people of Nanung? Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini should leave Nanung alone! Nanung has its own problems and no Andani-Abudu issue should be tolerated by all well-meaning Nanumbas.

Readers should reflect on these questions and judge on the impartiality of the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, of which the Northern Regional Minister and Hon. Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini are key members.

We have witnessed politics and for that matter politicians tear Dagbon apart as a result of the Andani-Abudu disputes and we should not wait for the same to happen to Nanung for the sake of political expediency. The chieftaincy stalemate in Dabgon has only continued to stifle development and progress in the area and keeping the people impoverished. This must not happen in Nanung.

As for the instigation of the unlawful arrest and detention of some prominent citizens of Nanung who have been in Police custody for the past one (1) month, I would not go into it. They appear to target one family that is only remotely linked to the dispute for the Bimbilla skin.

I believe in the Justice System of this country and believe that these prominent persons will be vindicated. The challenge has been the slow pace of the justice system in Ghana. An early screening of the 23 or so suspects will be helpful.

I also believe that the Chieftaincy Institution and for that matter the National House of Chiefs should expedite action on the Bimbilla Chieftaincy dispute to unravel the mystery regarding the rightful person to the skin.

So, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini should stay away with his Andani mentality and allow the judiciary system and the chieftaincy ministry to address this Bimbilla skin dispute.

FAROUK ADAM IDDRISU

Columnist: Iddrisu, Farouk Adam