General Politics

Dagbon: Why Akufo-Addo’s gov’t doesn’t deserve all the credit

A Member of Parliament has cautioned against political comments that seek to give all the credit for the hard-won peace in Dagbon to the current Nana Akufo-Addo led government.

James Agalga, MP for Builsa North and National Democratic Congress (NDC) spokesperson on Interior, said Saturday that it is dangerous for politicians to deliberately sideline the efforts of past governments to secure peace in the Northern Region town after 17 long years of bloodshed.

“The political class should desist from it,” he admonished on news analysis programme, Newsfile, on the Joy News channel on MultiTV.

Brief history

Ghana declared a state of emergency in Yendi in the Northern Region in 2002 after Ya Na Yakubu Andani II and about 25 of his guards were killed in factional clashes.

Prior to the murder, there had been a long-running dispute over the traditional chieftaincy in Yendi, a town some 50 miles north of Tamale, the regional capital.

Since then, efforts have been made to secure peace in the area, but after 17 long years, Ya Na Abubakari Mahama II was selected.

Following a historic ceremony to outdoor the new king for Dagbon, Ya Na Abubakri Mahama II, some social media comments have singled out the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government under John Agyekum Kufuor and the current government for the feat.

The hashtag, #DagbonRising has also emerged to whip up public interest and support for the peace process in town.

Ya Na Abubakri Mahama II was outdoored at a historic ceremony on Friday


Some eminent Ghanaians have also sought to suggest that although previous governments played key roles in bringing peace to Dagbon State, President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his government deserve special commendation.

However, Mr Agalga thinks that that narrative about the current peace in the town will weaken its foundation and threaten its sustainability.

He said President John Agyekum Kufuor, who set up the Committee of Eminent Chiefs in 2002 to find a lasting solution to the protracted Dagbon chieftaincy dispute “couldn’t have envisaged that it will take 16 years for this matter to be resolved.”

That Committee, led by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, drew and executed a roadmap to a peace process that brought peace to the Northern Region town.

The MP also suggests that the NDC government also contributed to the eventual peace in the area.

“Whichever way you look at it, the matter has now been resolved so that Committee needs to be commended. There were times both gates – Abudus and Andanis – found reason to withdraw from the mediation process, but the Committee continued to work and today we all ripped the benefits of their good works,” he said.

He said the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, the man who acted as the Regent of Dagbon, Bolin Lana Mahamudu Abdulai and other key stakeholders in the peace process also deserve commendation.

He then admonished “politicians to refrain from attempting to politicise [the issue] – the NDC and NPP. They should both refrain from attempting to politicise the processes that led to the peaceful resolution and enskinment of the Ya Na.”

He said he was very disturbed by some comments that seek to make political capital from the Dagbon peace and warned the NPP against using the developments in the region to campaign in the next election.

According to him, there were still important issues that needed to be resolved to ensure lasting peace in Dagbon.

“For instance, the murders have not been resolved, justice is yet to be done. So the coronation of a new Ya Na is a good step in the right direction but there are the justice aspects to the matter which largely remain unresolved,” he said.

He mentioned also that people who may feel offended by the credit being given to Nana Akufo-Addo-led government may be forced to remind the praise singers that the Attorney-General at the time of the murder was the current President, who failed to prosecute the killers of the Ya Na in 2002.

“I wonder how somebody can seek to use this as a campaign platform. If they do, they are going to be met with all the facts, the historical antecedents of the Yendi crisis…and that will not bode well for the unity of Dagbon. We wish that we put those things behind us so that the new Ya Na can begin to reach out to the two gates…so that we revert to the rotational system to avert future conflicts and crises,” he said.

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