It took just a question to momentarily switch the mood at a solemn gathering, meant to launch a peace campaign in Dagbon, to a rather a tearful one.
Could the Northern Regional Director of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Mr Razak Saani be blamed for posing a soul piercing question: if the peaceful cohesion that has eluded the Dagbon Kingdom can be restored?
Known for his powerful and unprecedented speeches, the motivational speaker and women’s advocate, Mr Razak Saani after beckoning for cease fire among the two feuding brothers, the Andani and Abudu of the Dagbon royal gates, with his words of caution broke down in tears, dragging almost everyone along.
Mr Saani was the special guest speaker at the launch of the maiden Dagbon for Peace and Development Now programme organized by the Northern Regional Coordinating Council in collaboration with Dagbon Malimi Zugu Youth group and the Regional Peace Council in Tamale.
The durbar brought together Chiefs, former ministers under the National Democratic Congress, and New Patriotic Party under the Kufuor administration, religious leaders, leaders of youth groups to harness ideas to achieve sustainable peace in Dagbon.
It witnessed several speakers including the former Northern Regional, and Agricultural Minister under the erstwhile Mahama administration Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Lemuna and the former Minster for Chieftaincy. All the speakers urged key members including Chiefs who had thronged the Northern Regional Jubilee Park to grace the occasion to be truthful in their dealings.
Mr Saani Razak revealing how terribly the chieftaincy dispute has driven the once strong and recognized Dagbon Kingdom into disrepute, used his son rejecting his identity as a Dagomba as a case study. He said when he (Mr Saani) wrote Kumbungu as his son’s hometown on a form from St Charles Junior Seminary during his first year and his son boldly told him to erase that because people would hate and mock him when they find out that he is a Dagomba.
He gave this account as a case study for all gathered to know how dire their case has become and how other tribes view Dagombas.
“This is how serious our conflict has eaten deep into us, people make mockery of us, our sisters and brothers move south and engage in menial jobs that will make you cry because we have contributed in making them slaves, even our wives become slaves in other regions because we have refused to keep their pride”.
He insisted that truth, honesty, and nonpartisan approach is the way to end the chieftaincy crisis in Dagbon and urged all parties to remain resolute, truthful and bold as he yearns for a day when the pride of Gbewa would be restored.
Mr Saani also expressed his disappointment in some religious leaders who, he said, have taken sides and retarding government’s efforts to resolve the conflict.
“Regrettable, some of the religious leaders that are supposed to preach the truth have taken sides in this issue and are unable to tell our chiefs when they are wrong”.
The Overlord of Dagbon Ya-Na Yakubu Andani was beheaded in his palace in 2002 together with some members of his family who were present that day by some unknown persons, 15 years down the line, Dagbon kingdom, one of the oldest among the four kingdoms in the Northern Region is yet to come out of this conflict.
Although the kingdom has enjoyed some peace in the last three years, there seems to be deep cracks that need to be mended.
It is against this backdrop that the former Northern Regional Minister Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Lemuna, who could not resolve the issue due to its complexity in his time, advised the substantive minister, Salifu Saeed and the government not to be in a haste to declare victory for bringing all those that matter together in a funfair but deal with the issue with reverence to the keepers of the customs of Dagbon.
“The issue of Dagbon goes beyond money and power, it is not politics so do not be in a haste to declare that you have won, be mindful of the role each government played and where they reached but could not continue because of some challenges then work to resolve those challenges and more importantly, walk the talk”.
By Zubaida Ismail |3news.com