For the first time in its 62 years of nationhood, Ghana held its Independence Day Parade in Tamale in the Northern Region.
And, truly, yesterday’s parade justified the decision by the government to hold the national parade in the northern part of the country.
The millions who were glued to their television sets and the thousands who made it to the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale were witnesses to the many new things on display that were different from what they had witnessed over the years.
When the President presented his State of the Nation Address in Parliament this year and announced that the national Independence Day Parade would be held in Tamale, he said part of the reason was to help cement the peace and unity that had been restored to Dagbon.
Truly, it was a good sight to behold that the Yaa Naa, the Yoo Naa, and the Mion Naa were seated together, while many people, possibly including both Abudus and Andanis, savoured the occasion.
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The Daily Graphic was touched by that part of the President’s speech that said Ghanaians must guard against allowing chieftaincy to divide us as a people.
The President said it all at yesterday’s anniversary when he noted that “chieftaincy has generated more disputes and disharmony than any other institution.
The tragedy is that, by chieftaincy’s nature, only people from the same family can, and do lay claim to the same stool or skin”.
If we are to quantify the loss to the Dagbon State and other areas that are experiencing chieftaincy disputes and the general effect the disputes have on the Gross Domestic Product of the country, it will run into billions of Ghana cedis.
This huge resource that has gone waste could have built schools, roads, hospitals and other infrastructure.
The Daily Graphic’s concern is that chieftaincy disputes have arisen between and among members of the same family and, therefore, family members themselves should be able to address these problems before they get reach unmanageable levels.
In other parts of the world where there are monarchies, such disputes are avoided through proper codification of succession, such that heirs to thrones are known at birth.
Unfortunately, this appears not to be the case in Ghana.
We are aware that not too long ago attempts were made to document succession to stools and skins and we urge the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Culture to follow it up, lay out and codify the succession to various stools and skins in Ghana, so that whoever accedes to a skin or stool will not face challenge from all manner of persons.
This is possible if we focus and work hard at it. We are aware that whether an area practices maternal or paternal inheritance, there are procedures through which succession is done.
We only appeal to all family heads and kingmakers to do away with personal and parochial interests and approach the selection of successors to stools and skins with the interest of their traditional areas in mind, as they have a huge responsibility to help avert the crisis that arise during enstoolment and enskinment.
All in all, the first national independence parade outside Accra has been successful and there are indications that this will be replicated across the country in subsequent years.
The Daily Graphic believes this decision is one that will inure to the benefit of the whole country, as it will open up local economies and also allow the country to appreciate the rich culture of the various regions.
This certainly will help deepen national cohesion and unity and respect for one another.