The Dagbon Traditional Council, on Tuesday, 16 October 2018, turned down a special request from the overlord and president of the Mamprugu traditional area, Naa Bohamagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, to allow Chereponi to be part of the proposed North East Region.
The meeting, first of its kind since the Dagbon Palace Massacre in 2002, brought together prominent chiefs from the Abudu and Andani gates under one roof to discuss also, for the first time publicly, a matter unrelated to chieftaincy and misunderstanding over the occupation of the Gbewaa Palace.
The request was made following a strong wave of agitations by the chief of Chereponi after the ministry in charge of regional reorganisation and development released the map of the proposed regions, where it added Chereponi, a district under Dagbon, to the proposed North East.
The Chereponi chief had attempted to stop the electoral commission from conducting a limited registration exercise as part of the process to organise a referendum for the people to decide. The chief’s understanding was that allowing Chereponi to be added to the proposed North East region will shift his allegiance from the Dagbon traditional Area, which enskined him, to the Mamprugu Traditional Area.
The Dagbon Traditional Area, from the beginning, had also cautioned it was not ready to cede any part of its lands for the creation of the proposed regions—Savanna and North East, to be carved out of the Northern Region.
Since the vehement agitation from the Chereponi chief and his people, the Nayiri has been lobbying the Dagbon Traditional Area to allow the area to be part of the proposed North East Region in order to boost the geographical size of the proposed region, which is originally made up of only five impoverished districts, with Walewale being the biggest town.
But, after a special emergency closed-door meeting in Tamale, the Dagbon Traditional Council, chaired by acting Regent and President, Kampakuya Naa Abdulai Yakubu Andani, unanimously rejected the request from the Mamprugu traditional area and reiterated its position not to cede an inch of Dagbon lands under any circumstance.
“After a careful examination of the cultural, historical and geographical implications of the request, the Dagbon Traditional Council decided that it could not offer its support”, a statement from the Council to reporters explained. “The council, however, renewed its support for the Mamprugu to have new region.”
In declining the request of the Nayiri, the Dagbon Traditional Council said it had taken notice of government and the Northern Regional Security Council’s very harsh response by the deployment of over 100 armed security forces to the area when the chief and people of Chereponi raised a protest against the actions of the Electoral Commission.
The Dagbon Traditional Council condemned the conduction of the limited registration at Chereponi as “undemocratic process” and attempts to “stampede” Chereponi into the proposed North East Region.
The Council in the statement also re-echoed its December 21, 2017 resolution, in which it agreed not to cede any part of Dagbon for the creation of a new region. The Dagbon traditional area said agreeing to cede Chereponi land will mean a betrayal to the chief and his people.
“Dagbon may have its internal challenges but cohesion and integrity of the Kingdom remain resolutely un-negotiable. Every Prince and principality has the unalloyed responsibility of defending the Kingdom against dismemberment. It was in the spirit of this sentiment that the Council resolved to re-state its December 21, 2017 resolution of one Dagbon in one Region, under the jurisdiction of one Regional House of Chiefs”, the statement adds.
Secretary to the paramount chief of Tamale, Mohammed Rashad Abdulai, addressing journalists said Dagbon refused to cede Cheroponi to avoid a territorial, chieftaincy dispute as in the case of Bawku, Bolga and many parts of the Upper Regions between the Mamprusis and many minority tribes.
“We also took into consideration some chronicle relations; looking at what happened to Mamprugu in the Upper East region and what has happened to the Brong Ahafo and the Ashantis in the southern sector, and then Ashantis and the Eastern Region, all these issues are Good Morning to us”.
“We saw now, Bawku today are saying that they are no longer under Nayiri, simply because they are not in the same region. So if today, we also allow that thing to happen in Chereponi and then someone comes for the Chereponi skin, and the denied (sic), that person may decide to go to Nayiri. Because we are seeing it happening in Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Region. So we are afraid we cannot grant it”.
Many observers left the Regional House of Chiefs shocked and confused about the unusual spectacle where chiefs from both feuding Abudu and Andani faction stand together under one banner to defend a common interest.
Notable Abudu chiefs including, Regent of Tolon, Major Rtd Sulemana, Nanton regent attended this rare gathering and sat face to face with the Kampakua Naa, chief of Savelugu, Sagnarigu, Gupkegu and other Andani chiefs for several hours behind closed doors.
Hundreds of the youth who massed at the meeting ground said the congenial display by the factions gave them hopes about a permanent solution to the protracted chieftaincy stalemate and a united Dagbon.
Meanwhile, the Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeed, and District Chief Executive for Chereponi, Abdul Razak Tahidu, who were specially invited by the Dagbon Traditional Council, to convey its decisions about the serious matter to the presidency, failed to show up without any acknowledgement.