The Paramount Chief of the Vume Traditional Area in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region, Okokoako Togbe Yao Akornor II, has rejected suggestions that the performance of customary rites such as the pouring of libation by chiefs and traditional leaders are acts or customs of fetishism. According to him, customs and traditions are as old as traditional religion, arguing that these practices even existed before the advent of Christianity. Togbe Yao Akornor II was speaking at a spiritual stool rites event at Vume-Kpoviadzi in the Central Tongu District.
Though located in the Central Tongu District, Vume-Kpoviadzi is one of the twenty-nine (29) major communities that constitute the Vume Traditional Area, with Togbe Yao Akornor II as its Overlord.
The event attracted many chiefs of the Paramountcy-mainly from some Vume communities such as Torgorme, Gidikpoe, Sokope, Gbeleme, Klokope, and Kpoviadzi, amongst others. In attendance were members of the Asafo group, which sang several songs to aid the performance of the customary rites.
The customary rites performed at the ceremony included the pouring of libation and paying of homage accompanied by their rites to the paramount stool and its gods, amongst others. On behalf of the Vume State, the Paramount Chief of the Traditional Area, Togbe Yao Akornor II, led the libation prayer for the citizenry and called for forgiveness from the gods.
Speaking to our news team in an interview after the event, Togbe Yao Akornor II said the decision to undertake the performance of the said rites followed a spiritual direction he received to that effect from the gods of the land. According to him, the gods of the land and the stools within the traditional area have not been happy about the negative conduct and behaviour of many of the chiefs or occupants of the stools within the Vume State. The situation, he disclosed has led to many challenges, including a lack of peace and cohesion among the citizenry and their leaders.
The spiritual direction asked all the chiefs within the Vume Traditional Area to enter their stool rooms not only to confess their wrongs or sins but also to pray to God and the gods for forgiveness and the total well-being of themselves and their subjects in the New Year.
Togbe Yao Akornor II said the climax of such an exercise was to do the same in the paramount stool house hence the rites at Vume Kpoviadzi. This, according to the Overlord would change the fortunes of the chiefs and people of Vume, explaining that peace, love, unity, prosperity, and above all good health would eventually become part and parcel of the people and the land.
The Vume Overlord stressed the need for the chiefs to lead their subjects in peace, abject truth, and honesty, adding that those are the values the gods believe in which form the foundation or basis of the traditional religion and its beliefs.
The Chief of Mafi Gidikpoe, Togbe Gidi III who chaired the function, expressed regret that a section of the population describes chiefs and queenmothers as idol worshippers. According to him, chiefs are the custodians of customs and traditions of the people, adding that just as God spoke through man or different personalities in the Bible to touch lives and impact people or the society, so can or do traditional gods use anything ranging from animals to man to touch lives or the society.
Togbe Gidi III also rejected suggestions that chiefs or traditionalists worship their forefathers. In his view, ‘we only remember them because of their struggles through several wars they fought to secure for us the several lands on which we live today’. He asked, ‘Don’t we remember Dr. Kwame Nkrumah every year on his birthday of 21st September?’ Does it amount to worshipping him? He urged the youth not only to avail themselves to learn more about their customs and traditions but also defend same because the positive values abound for all to see.
Some of the chiefs who were present at the event included Manklalo of the Torgorme Traditional Area, Togbe Gidi IV, Dufia of Vume Gbeleme, Togbe Kumsah IV and the Awafia of Torgorme, Togbe Dzetekletsi III. The others were Togbe Veteh III of Torgorme-Sokope, Togbe Klo Gator III of Vume-Klokope, and Togbe Torkplizo III of Torgorme Nakpoe. Some of the Agbotaduas such as Agbotadua Ahorsu II for Togbe Kumsah IV of Vume-Gbeleme were also present at the function.