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Tension mounts as Andanis dare Abudus to occupy Gbewaa palace; urges security to withdraw from the premises


  Tension in Yendi is at an all time high as the Andanis Royal Family in Dagbon has dared the Abudus family to try to occupy the Gbewaa palace in Yendi. The Andanis say the Abudus will be embarking on a suicide mission because they will be confronted squarely.

The Abudus earlier this month gave government and the three kings committee mediating the prolonged Dagbon chieftaincy to implement the roadmap and fast-track the renovation of the Gbewaa palace that will lead to the performance of the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai VI and the Ya-Na Andani Yakubu Abdulai Yakubu II.

The Abudus’ ultimatum will elapse on Monday January 25, 2016. But addressing a very charged news conference under the auspices of Gulkpe-Naa in Tamale, the Andanis warned the Abudus not to venture or think of repeating what happen in 2002.

The Andanis have described the Vahindi-Naa Dr Nantogmah Mahama as an extremist within the Abudu family who is bent on attacking the sanctity of the Kuga Naa and the integrity of the eminent chiefs headed by the Asantehene to unleash mayhem on Dagbon.
The charged press conference which was addressed by a member of the Andani family Galwei Tamal-Naa, O.S Mahama said the Andanis are ready for Abudus confrontation if they dare try.

They have accordingly asked the security forces in Yendi to withdraw from the precincts of the Gbewaa palace, and dare what they called those extremists to carry out their threats. ‘We have come a long way from March 2002. This time the response of the Andani family would be swift, resolute and direct, and in such a manner as to put permanent closure to the intransigent arrogance of these extremists of the Abudu family not only in Yendi but throughout Dagbon, ” Galwei stated.




We have called this press conference under the auspices of GULKPEGU-Naa Alhassan Abdulai, the paramount chief of the Gulkpegu traditional area to respond to a statement emanating from some extremist elements of the Abudu Royal Famaily in which references were made to the renovation of the Gbewaa palace and the performance of the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai. The said statement bears the name one obscure sub-chief who goes by the title Vahindi-Na know in private life as Dr Nantogma Mahama.

This extremist group within the Abudu royal family did not only attack the sanctity of the position of the Kuga’ Naa and the integrity of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs headed by the Asantehene, it also threatened to visit yet another mayhem on Dagbon reminiscent of the events of March 2002 that led to the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II if the wishes of the Abudu family are not met.
The group also vowed to ‘explore all means necessary’ presumably including the use of violence, to gain access to the Gbewaa palace to perform the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media, this was exactly what they attempted to do in March 2002 and which the group disingenuously and casually referred to as the ‘unfortunate event of 2002′. The security agencies should be interested in questioning Dr Nantogma Mahama and the group he is speaking should the connection between their latest threat the event of March 2002. To refresh our memories, this is in reference to the incident in March 2002 when the Kufour administration and the NPP put the national security apparatus at the disposal of the extremist group within the Abudu Family to carry out the assault on the Gbewaa palace in my rider to forcibly evict Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and gain access to the Gbewaa palace to pave the way for the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai.
For three consecutive days the Gbewaa palace- the official residence of the Yaa-Naa and focal point of over six hundred years of Dgbon history, traditional and culture-was under armed attack resulting in the number of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II and dozens of members of his royal retinue of elders and subjects. Not satisfied that they had killed him, the assailants dragged the body of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II to the palace square,chopped off his right arm, decapitated him and set fire to what was left of the body after covering it with used Tyres doused in petrol.
This has been the matter at the heart of the current Dagbon crisis. Embolden by the NPP government’s capacity in these crimes and also by the current NDC administration’s lack of interest in dealing with the criminal aspect of the crisis despite a manifesto promise to that effect, the Abudu Royal family has been adamant about apologizing for the crime; neither has the family ever shown any remorse whatever as borne out by their latest statement in which they are threatening more fire and brimstone. But we serve notice that if they start a violent confrontation this time, they would be embarking on a suicide mission.
We of the Andani family wish to covey to Dr Nantogma Mahama and his extremist like in the Abudu family that we are ready for a confrontation. To this end we ask the security forces in Yendi to withdraw from the precincts of the Gbewaa palace, and we dare those extremist elements to carry out their threat. We have come a long way from March 2002. This time the response of the Andani family would be swift, resolute and direct, and in such a manner as to put the permanent closure to the intransigent arrogance of these extremists of the Abudu Family not only in Yendi but throughout Dagbon. And when the dust finally settles on that chapter, Dr Nantogma Mahama and those behind him who are comfortably ensconced in Accra and stocking the embers of conflict back in Dagbon would bear the responsibility for the consequences of their arrogant and irrational belligerence.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we now proceed to respond to some specific issues raised in the press statement of the Abudu Royal Family.
The enskinment of the Kug’ Naa by Kampakuya Naa.
First of all we wish to state that Kampakuya Naa Andani Yakubu Abdulai was properly and legally installed as Regent of Dagbon by the late Kug’ Naa Abdulai in line with Dagbon custom and tradition and keeping with Dagbon chieftaincy procedure. And upon assumption of his position as Regent of Dagbon the Kampakuya Naa exercised his prerogative and enskinned than fifty(50) Chiefs across board including more than ten (10) from the Abudu Royal Family. Prominent among the latter are the Queen Mother of Dagbon Gundi-Naa, the Kundkon-Lana, and Kpunkpono-Lana. All of these Chiefs are members of the Abudu family who, by accepting the positions to which they were elevated, have recognized the authority of Kampakuya Naa and his prerogative. The enskinment of the Kug’ Naa by Kampakuya Naa was in line with this prerogative and was therefore lighting and in accordance with Dagbon custom, and there is no doubt about it.
The status and role of the Kug’ Naa in the Dagbon state
Here again the Abudu family is using Dagbon tradition and custom Updike down when it makes reference to some supposed ‘powers reserve for the Gushe-Naa in the absence of a substantive Yaa-Naa and which they claim the Kug’ Naa has usurped.
This statement is not only preposterous but also irresponsible and must be condemned by all patriotic Dagombas.
We wish to reiterate for the education of Dr. Nantogma Mahama and those he represents that that the Kug’ Naa is the customary grandfather of any Yaa-Naa. He is the most senior member of the elders of Dagbon (Yog’ Kpema) and the head of the judicial council of Dagbon. He is also the head of the four-member committee of kingmakers who have the customary responsibility of selecting and enskinning a Yaa-Naa.
Between the time of the death of Yaa-Naa and the installation of a Regent, it is the Kug’ Naa who acts as interim overload of Dagbon, and only cedes this position to the Regent after the latter ha been installed and ceremonially outdoored. This regency would then last until the perform of the funeral of the deceased Yaa-Naa. The status of the Kug’ Naa is therefore next to that of the Yaa-Naa, King of Dagbon, and he is the undisputed the Vice President of the Dagbon traditional council.
To further demonstrate the Ku’g Naa’s status in the Dagbon traditional hierarchy, we would like to state that the enskinment of some very high-profile Chiefs of Dagbon is done directly by him, and these Chiefs come under his authority and command.
Some of such high-profile Chiefs are the Gushie-Naa, Yelixoli-Lana, Sungong-Lana, Tolon-Naa and the Gulkpe-Naa. Therefore, to insinuate a juxtaposition of the Kug’ Naa and the Gushie-Naa is a sacrilege in Dagbon tradition and custom.

Reenovation of the old Gbewaa Palace
In the events up to the murder of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II by agents of the Abudu Royal family aided by sections of the national security apparatus in the Kufour administration, the assailants reduced the Gbewaa palace to ruins and valuable items including royal regalia were looted. Some thirty-six people were massacred long with the Yaa-Naa.
Ladies and gentleman, that was not the first time that so much blood had been spilled in the Gbewaa palace. In September 1969 the palace was also the scene of another massacre carried out upon orders by the then so-called National Liberation Council government under the leadership of the late General A.A. Afarifa. On that fateful day in 1969 some 34 members of the Andani family were murdered. This horrifying act of state-sponsored terror unleashed on innocent civilians was never investigated, and no one was arrested or held to account for this massive crime. In that particular incident, the late Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II, then the Regent of Dagbon, wS the precincts of the Gbewaa was seriously wounded and hospitalized at the Yendi government hospital.
It is important to point out that in Dagbon tradition and custom, the precincts of the Gbewaa palace are sacred and death is not allowed to occur there when it is evident. The sacredness of the palace is to such an extent that it is required that any member of the household, residents or visitor in the throes death be quickly evacuated from the palace. The massacres of 1969 and 2002 have therefore irreparably desecrated the Gbewaa palace. It has been too much drenched in blood to the extent that it cannot rehabilitated. What is required is the construction of a new palace to be accompanied with the performance of the right rituals by the elders of Dagbon.
Ladies and gentlemen, while we are still on the subject matter of the Gbewaa palace we would like to point out that it is false for the Abudu royal family to claim that the old Gbewaa palace was built by the late Yaa-Naa Alhassan. Indeed what stands today as the old Gbewaa palace was the servants quarters of the late Yaa-Naa Andani II. Yaa-Naa Alhassan upon his enskinment relocated there instead of occupying the then main palace. Relocating in the servants’ house does not mean he built it.
More importantly, we wish to state emphatically that royal palace in Dagbon as for example in Yendi, Zabzugu, Yoo and several others are not personal properties, but palaces of the Dagbon state and are built by the people of Dagbon.

Place of performance of the funeral of Mahamadu Abdulai

The statement by the group that Dr. Nantogma Mahama speaks for contains some unscrupulous half-truths and convenient omissions concerning the tenure of Mahamdu Abdulai from 1969 to 1974 and the justification for the performance of the funeral in the Gbewaa palace. This needs further elucidation.
In fact Mahmadu Abdulai’s stint as Yaa-Naa was illegitimate and was secured only through the blatant abuse of state power during the regime of the NLC under the late General A.A.afrifa. The army had been deployed to forcibly evict members of the Andani family from the Gbewaa palace who ere then occupying it in accordance with tradition, to perform the funeral of Yaa-Naa Andani III in 1969. This resulted in the massacre alluded to earlier.
In a blatant display of power and force, a large contingent of soldiers and police, military helicopters, armored cars and other military hardware were deployed to provide full military cover for the installation of Mahamadu Abdulai as Yaa-Naa in 1969.
An in an attempt to confer Dagbon customary legitimacy on what was clearly a desecration of Dagbon tradition of installing a Yaa-Naa, the four Dagbon traditional kingmakers namely, Kug’- Naa, Tuguri-Naa and Gomli were taken at gunpoint to the Gbewaa palace to perform the customary rites associated with the installation of Yaa-Naa. But as the supers were planning, Allah was also planning, and Allah is the best of planners. By the time the captive kingmakers arrived at the Gbewaa palace, the process of installing Mahamadu Abdulai had gone past the stage where the kingmakers were to fulfil their customary functions. In other words the customary people, who have the exclusive authority to install a Yaa-Naa did not participate in the enskinment of Mahamadu Abdulai. This effectively de legitimized the ascension of Mahamadu Abdulai to the position of Yaa-Naa even at the very moment the installation was in progress.
Justice took its course when in May 1974 the late Mahamadu Abdulai was de skinned, in other words removed as Yaa-Naa upon the recommendation of a Committee of Enquiry set up by the government of the National Redemption Council to look into the Dagbon skin Affairs. The committee was headed by eminent Appeal Court Judge of Ghana in the person of Justice Nii Amaa Ollennu and assisted by three paramount Chiefs in the persons of Nana Atakora Amaniamong, paramount chief of Mampong traditional area of Ashanti, Togbe Adja Tekpor, paramount chief of Kpando traditional area in the Volta region and Nana Sir, Tsibu Darko, Omahene of Assin traditional area.

The facts of the matter, therefor, are that the enskinment of Mahamadu Abdulai as Yaa-Naa was illegitimate and in flagrant violation of Dagbon traditions and custom. Mahamadu Abdulai therefore bears all the traits of a usurper. He was accordingly de skinned in 1974, and he died in 1988 outside the Gbewaa palace and at a completely different location. For all these reasons therefore, his funeral cannot be performed in the Gbewaa palace. This is in keeping with Dagbon traditions and custom.

Role of Committee of Eminent Chiefs and that of the Government of Ghana in the Dagbon peace process

We wish to state that we of the Andani Family coo end the efforts of the committee of eminent Chiefs headed by His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and the government of Ghana under leadership of His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama.
We further wish to state that we are open to frank, fair and honest discussions in as far as the outcomes would not contravene the tenets and provisions of Dagbon traditions and custom and would lead to the restoration of peace and normalcy in Dagbon.
But while we cherish peace in Dagbon, we equally notify the extremist elements in the Abudu Royal Family that if they dare trigger another cycle of violence in Dagbon as they are threatening to do, there will be a full-spectrum response from the Andani family. And this will not be limited only to Yendi.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media, we thank you for accepting our invitation to attend this press conference. We also wish to express our thanks and gratitude to all Chiefs and people herein assembled.
Chief O.S Mahama
Galwei Tamal-Naa


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