President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Wednesday urged the people of Dagbon to give peace a chance, to restore the traditional area to its former glory and greatness.
He said the time had come for the people of the area, which has been scarred by decades of conflict, to mend fences, restore the dignity of their kingdom, and ensure the forward march of Dagbon.
President Akufo-Addo made the call in Accra when the Chairperson of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, presented the roadmap for the Dagbon peace process to him, at a brief ceremony at Jubilee House.
He said the conflict in Dagbon had dragged on for so long that many Ghanaians, including some sons and daughters of Dagbon, had become sceptical about the ability to resolve the matter, and secure enduring peace in Dagbon.
“I was never one of the sceptics. I have an unshakeable faith in the capacity of the Ghanaian people to resolve their own problems. That faith has paid off.”
The President said the roadmap, as laid out by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, was an important milestone in the decades old search for a permanent solution to the Dagbon problem.
He disclosed that he had been determined, upon becoming President of Ghana, to help bring finality to the dispute, and in the process, witness the enskinment of a substantive Ya Naa for the people of Dagbon.”
“I did indicate, in October 2017, that I wanted to celebrate the Damba festival with the people of Dagbon, with a new Ya Naa sitting in state, before the end of 2017. Alas, that was not to be. Nonetheless, I am fully expectant that, soon, I shall be celebrating Damba with the people of Dagbon in the presence of a substantive Ya Naa.”
President Akufo-Addo, who had donned a local print shirt with a broom design signifying unity, strength and hope, called on the people of Dagbon to take pride in, and guard jealously their heritage, adding that, “an important contribution to this is to consolidate the culture of enskinning Ya-Nas without hitch, confusion or bloodshed.”
He told them that peace was attainable if they willed it, and that, the roadmap afforded them the best opportunity to mend fences, restore the dignity of their kingdom, and ensure the forward march of Dagbon.
“In so doing, they must learn to accommodate one another. I would appeal, from the bottom of my heart, to the Kampakuya Na and the Bolin Lana, the sons and regents of Naa Yakubu Andani and Naa Mahamadu Abdulai, respectively, young men with bright, promising futures before them, to rise above the passions that have fuelled the disputes that have marred Dagbon,” the President said.
The President further urged the Kampakuya Na and Bolin Lana to help in the effective implementation of the road map to bring lasting peace to Dagbon, and lay the basis for its rapid development.
“The overwhelming majority of the people of Dagbon, especially the youth, are tired of this age-old conflict, and just want the opportunity to enhance their lives in normalcy and security,” he added, stating the commitment of Government to providing the requisite financial, material, moral, physical and security resources necessary for the sustenance of the peace process.
The President was emphatic that he had nothing to benefit from the Dagbon matter, stating, “As I have said on many occasions, I am not a Dagomba, and I, therefore, cannot be an Andani or Abudu. I have no candidate for the office of Ya Na. That is a matter for the people of Dagbon. I am just an ordinary Ghanaian who wants to see the peace, progress and prosperity of all parts of our beautiful country, without any discrimination or differentiation.”
The Dagbon Traditional area has been without an overlord since 2002 when Ya Na Yakubu Andani was murdered at the Gbewaa Palace in Yendi, which led to a 16 year feud between the Abudu and Andani Royal families in the area.