Togbe Kojoga V, Chief of Kpando Gadza, has appealed to traditional leaders and the people of the Kpando Akpini State to remain united towards attaining the best closure to the issue of its paramountcy.
The Akpini State has been placed under the burden of a chieftaincy dispute that spanned several years, affecting the paramountcy and halting the celebration of its annual festival since 1977.
The Volta Region House of Chiefs, in 2017 formed the Togbe Kwaku Ayim Committee, which expended significant resources in establishing a middle ground in the decades-long deadlock, and in September 2020, presented an official report outlining processes towards the reestablishment of a paramount chief.
Togbe Kojoga, a known supporter of the reconciliation process, addressing a press conference at Gadza, said there was the need for all to support the successful implementation of the recommendations of the Togbe Kwaku Ayim Committee.
He alleged attempts by some factions within the Akpini State to obstruct the advancing process with litigations, said such entities attempted to discourage some chiefs including himself, who had committed to ending the dispute.
The Chief appealed to all to consider Kpando’s loss of heritage to the protracted dispute, and to support the reconciliatory initiatives in unity, and also to uphold the essence of the rites of January 2018, which signified unity and an end to hostility.
“If we are all one, and have gone through numerous processes just to show how united we are, why would calls from some chiefs be refused and others responded to?
“I have really established the facts that we need and have peace, why would there be a case against Togbe Afendza and a royal Family of Kpando Aziavi, which has been pending before the Hohoe High Court almost two years and without anybody intervening to say we cannot continue in that same manner,” he said.
Togbe Kojoga said all must rally behind the chiefs assigned to lead the process, adding that Togbe Afendza III, appointed acting paramount chief by the bespoke reconciliation committee, needed the support of the whole Akpini State in successfully overseeing the establishment of a substantive paramount chief.
“The report further indicates that for the installation of a paramount chief to go undisputed, we need to follow the traditions and customs of the people of Akpini. We are to ensure that those three divisional chiefs are the key persons who are supposed to do the final vetting of a candidate so produced by the stool owner of the Akpini Paramountcy.
“In the absence of that, we are likely to run into another form of litigation if we do not follow due process. We need to fall on the report, study the report and follow it to the latter because if we should have any stumbling blocks in our way, it is the Regional House we are going to go back to.
“If we want to have our next paramount chief, which we need as a gateway to go back to our almost being lost festival, which is Dayibakaka- which has not happened since the last one took place in 1977, then, we need to elevate the discourse on the Akpini Paramountcy issue; get people to back off and allow the royal family and the three divisional chiefs and the chief linguist of the Akpini to do their work.
“It is not right for individuals and groups to be inciting some people against others, to be calling some people names just to score what I would term cheap, chieftaincy political points being scored when the main issues are there untouched”.
Togbe Kojoga noted some successes with the reconciliation and said Togbe Asumandu VIII, one of the three divisional chiefs of Kpando, would soon be inducted back into the Akpini area chiefs.
The three chiefs, from the Anyigbe, Gbodome, and Atsiafume divisions, together with the chief linguist, would settle on a paramount chief to be presented by the stool father of the State.
“Those three chiefs, if we can’t ensure for them to work in unison and should we continue the way we are going and it happens that these three the division deepens, it would take us a long time to get our paramount chief,” Togbe Kojoga cautioned.
The Chief also said, “major issues of contestation” between some royal houses were being settled, and appealed also to withdraw the case pending before the Hohoe High Court, stressing on the importance of a litigation free-paramountcy to the prosperity of the State.
“If there is anything at all, I am aware that some people are preparing their arsenal as much as they can, that if there is the least opportunity, whoever becomes the next Okpkpewuokpe, would be subjected to another litmus test. Must we allow any division among us for a divisional chief of Kpando to side with a group of people for them to have legitimacy in litigating our next paramountcy?” Togbe Kojoga stated.
He promised to respect the hierarchy of the traditional structure, and to help ensure that the next paramountcy persisted, assuring also that the acting paramount chief considered the Committee report as the “only” document authorized to guide the process.
“The other thing, which has been boggling the mind of many, which the Regional House was able to do, was to disentangle the nuances around who and who are the rightful heirs to the paramountcy. It is contained in this report.
“So it’s imperative that from the first day the man is outdoored as Okpekpewuokpe, there is absolute silence. If somebody wants to make noise and the person is wrong and unjustified, it is the duty of we Akpini chiefs not to harbor such characters but to expose them for the State to deal with them for the absolute peace of Akpini. But it is not for us to try to undermine the various positions that tradition has established for us and still think that we can make progress.
“I beseech the people of our royal household to give peace a chance,” he added.