A GNA Feature by Bertha Badu-Agyei
For 17 years the people of Akuapem suffered a chieftaincy dispute that brought about disunity, resentment, hatred, bitterness and stalled development.
The three divisions namely; Nifa which has Adukrom as the head, Benkum with Larteh as the head, Adontene with Aburi as the head resolved to create their own paramountcies to rule their people.
There were several issues underlying the dispute, in fact so many things had passed under the water, which would serve no useful purpose if they are narrated.
The essence should rather be the celebration of the heroes who devoted their time and energies to ensure that the much awaited Akuapem unity became a reality. They left no stone unturned to embark on the winding and long journey until the ultimate, unity of Akuapem was achieved.
The Eastern Region Peace and Advisory Council (ERPAC), under the auspices of the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and able chairmanship of Reverend Professor Joseph Obiri Yeboah (JOY) Mantey, now the President of the Trinity Theological Seminary was pivot in the whole agenda to bring the cherished and long awaiting peace and unity.
The former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and former Regional Minister Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, set the tone for the dispute to be settled.
The RCC co-opted some members of the ERPAC to join the leadership, including Mr Bawa; former Regional Coordinating Director, Ms Golda Asante; RCC Coordinator for the ERPAC, George Opare Addo Akuapem North, District Chief Executive and Mrs Bertha Badu-Agyei, of Ghana News Agency, as Acting Secretary to the ERPAC to start the unity and peace engagements.
The first meeting was held at the RCC office in Koforidua, with all the divisional chiefs including Otubuor Gyan Kwasi; Aburihene, Nana Asiedu Okoo Ababio; Lartehhene, Nana Osim Kwatia; Amnonokromhene, Nana Otutu Kono; Adukromhene, Osahene Offei Kwasi Agyeman; Akuapem Krontihene and Osabarima Ansah Sasraku; Mamfehene and Kyidomehene of Akuapem. Prof JOY Mantey was the leader of the negotiating team.
Successive meetings came up with many concerns that called for deliberations with the Okuapemhene, who was represented at the deliberations, to clarify certain delicate and spiritual matters that held the keys to the roadmap to Akuapem peace and unity.
Once again the mantle fell on Professor Mantey and Dr Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi who had taken over as the regional minister to lead the delegation to meet with Nana Addo Danquah.
The Okuapemhene wholeheartedly embraced the mission and agenda of the delegation and declared his forgiveness, to all who had wronged the Akuapem state, in the interest of peace.
The Akuapem dispute was so entrenched that it had to take time to facilitate unity, so in June 2013, the final whistle was blown and the peace accord was signed at the RCC under the tenure of Ms Helen Ntoso as the Regional Minister.
This was climaxed with a grand durbar at Akropong to signify the peace.
May the efforts of these trailblazers be cherished forever, so long as Akuapem remains united and may the peace of Akuapem inspire the many other traditional areas that are embroiled in disputes to give way to peace to promote development for the benefit of all.