On this score, I say thank you Mr. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Yoo Naa Abukari Mahama (VII)
Yoo Naa Abukari Mahama (VII)

Mr. President, from my courtyard, I have criticized you severally but constructively in the presence of friends from NDC and NPP. Today, I have decided to lavish you with plaudits. Plaudits of not the sycophant but that of a young man who has Ghana deep down in his heart.

As a person who holds onto the old age faith: that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it; I have, therefore, chosen this time and this medium to shout out my deepest gratitude to you for the amalgam of unprecedented decisiveness, courage, persistence, bravery, determination and political savvy you put in to get Dagbon a new Yaa Naa—not an imposed one but one chosen in accordance with the customs and traditions of Dagbon.

Let me confess, the first time I heard you say—at the very tender age of your presidency, somewhere last year—that you were fixed on getting Dagbon a new Yaa Naa, I smiled with a slightly down-turned mouth, an indicator of a sarcastic and a cynic smile. I thought it was one of the weightless political rhetoric carried on the lips of politicians, from both NPP and NDC, since March 2002.

According to the West Africa Centre for Counter Extremism (WACCE), Ghana has about 352 unresolved chieftaincy disputes. Yet the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute got and took your attention. You gave it time which is the most vital gift a person can give to Dagbon. At a time that the royals were far away from uniting, lost trust and hope in one another and busy casting aspersions on one another, you remained resolute in bringing them together to regain the lost glory that their forefathers toiled and fought so hard for. You made time to meet—in private and in the open—the young and old, royals and non-royals and all those who matter in bringing peace to Dagbon. Shouldn’t I thank you for this frantic effort?

Anyway, some few people do not think you deserve any praises for the feat. They argue that you were part of the government in 2002 when Dagbon was brought down to her knees by her own children. But when I think back to then, I vividly recall that aside the fact you were not the President to have done things your own way, you were also neither the Interior Minister nor the Defense Minister. You were not the National Security Adviser or the Northern Regional Minister. You were the then Attorney General, probable busy going through some dockets to apprehend lawbreakers.

The issue of peace has always been a focal issue in all periods of the history of this country. Not that the elected heads who came before you never wanted to resolve the dispute, but they couldn’t due to some reasons best known to them. However, when it got to your turn, you gave it the urgency that it deserved, stood your ground, worked against the wishes of your sympathizers and the threats of your opponents.

You did this neither because you did not care for your sympathizers nor did not fear the threats of your opponents. You did it because their peaceful coexistence is dearer to your heart. You understand that an extraordinary problems demands an extraordinary solution.

You also appreciate how much the collective effort of the feuding parties are needed in the development of this nation. So you want them together, not in pieces. Thank you Mr. President for that insight.

While some people will hail you for the free SHS, others for NaBCo and many because of the creation of the new regions. I will thank you because mothers, grandmothers, family and friends may now go to bed without the fear of sporadic gunshots; market women may no more run helter-skelter at the sound of firecrackers, good people may be freed from being hostages of chieftaincy dispute, marriages that were broken consequent of the chieftaincy dispute may be re-contracted and the wobbling ones saved. But I am extremely thankful to you because money meant for development and poverty alleviation will now be used for such and not to maintain security.

With this current milestone, I am convinced that you can address almost all the resting and brewing chieftaincy disputes in this country, so please do. With this current milestone, I am reassured that Ghana can achieve whatever she proposes to achieve with determination and persistence. With this same determination and persistence, Mr. President, I know and believe that you can fish out the murderers of the investigative journalist, Ahmed Suale. You can also find the killers of the PR of GPHA, Madam Josephine Asante and the assassins of all those who have been mysteriously murdered.

I believe that without the consistent effort of the three eminent overlords: Nayiri, Naa Bohogu Abdulai Sherigu; Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu ׀׀ and Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa ׀, this feat wouldn’t be possible. I hereby express my sincere gratitude to them for their extraordinary and unflinching support in getting the new Yaa Naa.

Let me conclude with these words of Albert Schweitzer:” at times our own light goes out and is rekindled by the spark from another person. Each of us has the cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.’’

Rahim Newton

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