The implementation of the road map to peace in the Dagbon Traditional Area has suffered a hiccup, as two groups have emerged from the Andani Royal Family and are slugging it out as to which of them is the legitimate representative of the family in the peace process.
Last Saturday, one of them (the first group) set the tone by holding a press conference in Tamale, at which they claimed that those who represented the Andanis at the Jubilee House during the presentation of the document on the road map to peace in Dagbon by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, were not the true representatives of the family.
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Rebutting the claim by the first group at a press conference in Tamale on Monday, the other group (the second group), including Alhaji Ibrahim Mahama, a former lawyer of the late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani, described the first group as imposters.
Making its case at the press conference last Saturday, the Spokesperson for the first group, Kpan-Naa Abubakari Andani, said: “We wonder how the Otumfuo and his committee hope to make progress with the programme they rolled out at the Jubilee House when major players around whom the programme will revolve have been cynically ignored.”
“What, therefore, the Asantehene and the Eminent chiefs have done is to shoot first and aim later. Regrettably, they have missed the point and the entire programme is destined to crumble,” he added.
Kpan-Naa Andani further stressed that those individuals had never been authorised by the “Andani Family to represent the family in any capacity”.
Mr Baba Issifu spoke on behalf of the group in favour of the peace process
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On the ongoing processes in the performance of the funeral rites of the two Yaa Naas, Mahamadu Abdulai and Yakubu Andani, he accused the government of aiding the Abudu Family to create a parallel authority in Dagbon by allowing the newly enskinned regent from the Abudu Family, Bolin Lana Abdulai Mahamadu, to refer to himself as the Regent of Dagbon.
“The committee should know that no village, town or kingdom can have two valid chiefs at the same time; neither can there at any time be two sitting regents of the same village or kingdom reigning side by side,” he added.
As a result, the group declared its intention to withdraw from the Dagbon peace process.
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Reacting to the concerns raised by the first group, the Spokesperson for the second group, Mr Baba Issifu, said the alleged imposters had no standing in the matter of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs and had not represented the Andani Family anywhere else, for which reason it could not say it was withdrawing from the Asantehene-led mediation committee.
“It is very lamentable that persons who have no locus whatsoever in regard to matters related to the committee will dream up a statement purporting to be withdrawing the Andani Royal Family from the mediation committee, which had completed its proceedings three weeks earlier.
“We of the Andani Family are at a loss when faceless people who have never represented the Andanis at the mediation committee call persons who have duly represented the family for not less than 10 years imposters. This is, indeed, a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black,” he added.
“We of the Andani Royal Family want people who are ignorant of the facts to know that by Dagbon customs and traditions, it is the uncles and brothers of a deceased person who perform his funeral rites. It is not the children of a deceased person who are responsible for performing his funeral,” Mr Issifu added.
The Asantehene-led Committee of Eminent Chiefs mediating the Dagbon crisis, on November 16, 2018, made a declaration to bring finality to the decades-old conflict between the Abudu and Andani Royal families in Dagbon.
The committee was set up by former President John Kufuor in 2002 to find a lasting solution to the protracted Dagbon chieftaincy dispute after the killing of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani in Yendi in March 2002.
It is made up of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II; the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa I, the Paramount Chief of the Gonja Traditional Area, and the Nayiri, Na Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, the Paramount Chief of the Mamprugu Traditional Area.