The five divisional chiefs of Okuapeman yesterday signed a peace accord in Koforidua and called on other chiefs and the people of the area to dedicate themselves to maintaining peace and unity among themselves.
They also appealed to the people to forge ahead in unity to accelerate the pace of development to ensure that the people enjoyed better standards of living.
"We have the collective will and desire to ensure that this happens," they stated.
The Koforidua Peace Accord brings to an end the protracted 20-year chieftaincy dispute that has caused a deep division among the chiefs and the people of the area.
The five divisional chiefs are the Lartehhene and Benkumhene of Akuapem, Osabarima Enyine Asiedu Okoo Ababio III; the Aburihene and Adontenhene of Akuapem, Otobuor Djan Kwasi; the Krontihene of Akuapem, Osahene Ofei Kwasi Agyeman; the Adukromhene and Nifahene of Akuapem, Nana Otutu Kono III, who was represented by his Abotendomhene and the Amanokromhene and Gyasehene of Akuapem, Nana Osim Kwatia.
The accord was signed in the presence of the Eastern Regional Minister, Ms Helen A. Ntoso; her two immediate predecessors, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo and Mr Victor Smith, and Rev Dr J. O. Y Mantey, the Eastern Regional Chairman of the National Peace Council, at the Regional Minister's Residency.
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The reconciliation ceremony was also witnessed by the three chief executives for the Akuapem area — Nsawam/Adoagyiri, Akuapem South and Akuapem North — and that of Ayensuano, as well as some sub-chiefs and queenmothers of Okuapeman.
A statement read on behalf of the five divisional chiefs by Osabarima Ababio, after the chiefs had appended their signatures, stated that after about 20 years of conflict among the chiefs and people of Okuapeman, "Today, August 27, 2013, we the five divisional chiefs of the Okuapeman State declare that we are re-united."
"We have come to the painful realisation that nothing has been gained through needless conflict. On the contrary, it has only created disunity, led to a waste of resources on managing the conflict, dented our cultural heritage, drawn our development aspirations back, created disenchantment and despair among our young ones and damaged the brotherly love that should have bound us as one people with one destiny," he stated.
Osabarima Ababio stated that the chiefs had realised that the solution to their disagreement did not "lie in the law courts where a lot of productive time has been wasted but that the key to a lasting solution lies within our own selves and is within our power".
"We have, therefore, gathered here today to declare an unconditional truce to sign an unconditional peace accord and declare our solidarity with one another as one family," he stated.
Osabarima Ababio expressed appreciation to the individuals and organisations that had continued to stand by "us in our moment of trial and encouraged and supported us to come this far".
Earlier, Ms Ntoso had commended the chiefs for voluntarily coming together to smoke the peace pipe and urged them to show more commitment to their resolve to bring the people together.
By Nana Konadu Agyeman/Daily Graphic/Ghana