The Story of Yaa Naa Mahama II (1938-1948)

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After the death of Yaa Naa Abdulai II, four chiefs announced their candidature for Yani. They were Yaa Naa Abdulai’s regent – Gbon Lana Alhassan, Yo Naa Yakubu, Mion Lana Mahama, and Karaga Naa Ziblim. Both Yo Naa Yakubu and Mion Lana Mahama were sons of Yaa Naa Andani II. Karaga Naa Ziblim was son of Karaga Naa Bukari who never got to Yani. According to the constitution of Dagbon, the candidature of Gbon Lana Alhassan and Karaga Naa Ziblim was symbolic in nature. Karaga Naa Ziblim’s father never got to Yani and since no chief could rise higher than his father he was eligible for chiefdoms at par with Karaga. Gbon Lana Alhassan on the other hand was not occupying a gate skin. The Yaa Naa selection committee, on September 23, 1938, announced that Mion Lana Mahama was selected Yaa Naa under the skin name Yaa Naa Mahama II.

Yaa Naa Mahama II enskinned Gbon Lana Alhassan to the vacant skin of Mion. In 1947 Karaga Naa Ziblim died. Yaa Naa Mahama II appointed his son, then Sagnarigu Naa Andani, to the vacant skin of Karaga amidst protest from the elders of Yendi and citizens of Karaga. In the turbulence of the moment Sunson Naa Adam, younger brother of Karaga Naa Ziblim, defied the Yaa Naa and moved to Karaga to occupy the vacant skin before Sagnarigu Naa Andani could get to Karaga. Banvim Lana Abdulai, who had been elevated to Sagnarigu had also moved to occupy the Sagnarigu skin, thus leaving Sagnarigu Naa Andani without a skin. The District commissioner intervened, at this point, and suspended the enskinment of Karaga. On February 06, 1948 Yaa Naa Mahama II died. At the time of his death Ya Naa Mahama was about 80 years old.

After the death of Yaa Naa Mahama II, at a Dagbon State Council meeting on May 12, 1948, chaired by the Gbon Lana of Yaa Naa Mahama II, a unanimous decision was reached to change the Yaa Naa selection committee. The new Yaa Naa Selection Committee constituted the divisional chiefs and elders of Yendi: Divisional Chiefs – Gushie Naa, Yelzoli Lana, Nanton Naa, Gulkpe Naa, Sunson Naa, Tolon Naa, Kumbun Naa; Elders – Kuga Naa, Zohe Naa, Tugri Nam, and Gagbindana. The amendment to the Yaa Naa selection committee also added a statement that when a unanimous decision could not be reached, a selection by secret ballot will be used and the Yaa Na will be the candidate with majority vote.

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