Those of us who strongly believe in the traditional system of Ghana should be of good cheer because traditional Ghana is about to redeem itself to become one of the finest institutions in Ghana’s body politic. However, we still need to join hands to make the system work collectively.
The coming few weeks will witness a flurry of activities designed to put our traditional system and development into a proper perspective. Two major events in 2018 and 2019 that occurred in quick succession are sending the clearest signal that traditional Ghana may have reached a major turning point in its potential contributions to mother Ghana.
For the first time in Ghana, the chiefs and people of Oti region and five other regions have petitioned successive governments of the day and have now successfully obtained regions for themselves on 27th December 2018 through a referendum. Invariably, the main reason for the creation of these new regions was development and the lack of it.
The second major event of course was the end of the fifteen-year peace process in Dagbon climaxed by the coronation of Yaa Naa Mahama II the new King of Dagbon on Friday 18th January 2019. The impetus for finally ending the Dagbon crisis was the painful realization that Dagbon and its people are falling behind in development coupled with the firm resolve that the mutually agreed roadmap to peace in Dagbon must be strictly adhered to.
The Change Agents
It is most interesting to note how traditional authorities single out development as the topmost priority for them and as a precondition to any transformation process they must participate actively in their own development process as partners.
It is equally interesting to note that all the movers and shakers both in the creation of the new regions and the Dagbon Peace process come from within the traditional system, not outside. They are royals and traditional rulers in their own rights, starting with our dear President himself, through the members of the Committee of Eminents Chiefs for Dagbon to several notable Paramount Chiefs and their collaborators.
These royals and traditional rulers can be described as the Change Agents of our generation determined to bring our traditional system to a whole new level where chiefs and their people become increasingly relevant in the new scheme of things. We can permit ourselves to proudly mention just a few of these prominent personalities.
At the top we have the President of the Republic Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo who is a royal by birth both in Akwapim Akropong and Akyem Abwakwa Kyebi. He has the accolade of a Great Peace Maker, International Development Advocate and Champion Statesman who has just coined the title “Abudani” for himself, putting all “conflictpreneurs” in our traditional system on notice.
Then we have the Chairman of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs on Dagbon, the Great Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Very Wise and Strongman in his own right perhaps without whom the peace in Dagbon would never have been consummated. We also have the Overlords of Gonja and Mamprugu the Yagbonwura and the Nayiri respectively, Eminent Chiefs who double as the Overlords of the two newly created regions in the North. Added to the Eminent Chiefs is the President of the National House of Chiefs the Agbogbomefia of Asogli Togbe Afede XIV, who still have a major role to play in this transformation process. The Krachiwura of Oti region, the great Chairman of the region’s powerful Joint Consultative Council (JCC) is also a strong force to reckon with.
The Development Challenge
The two current events are mentioned here to show why bringing development to people is still very relevant as a game changer in Ghana’s transformation agenda. Accelerated development is about accelerating wealth creation, job creation and the quality of life of people. These things don’t happen in a vacuum. We need the peace, the stability and the right partnerships. And we all need to participate actively in this colossal development challenge.
Because of this all-important development challenge, and even before the dust finally settles on the referendum on Oti region, some individuals such as Nana Dr. Owusu Afari, Nkosuohene of Worawora, are taking the initiative in organizing a Special Development Forum on Oti Region, inviting industry players and major stakeholders to discuss investment opportunities available in Oti region. Under the JCC Nana Nkosuohene is also taking the initiative in creating the Oti Regional Development Board as the lead development agency in Oti region to ensure the best possible partnerships between the Government, Nananom and the private sector.
As a former president of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Nana Nkosuohene Owusu Afari is so convinced about the major roles the private sector can play in our development process. He was enstooled Nkosuohene as a result of a Royal Decree of Asantehene Otumfuo Opoku Ware II in 1993 that created Development Chiefs in many jurisdictions in Asanteman including Worawora.
All these are strong indications that the traditional system in Ghana can transform itself in a major way, starting with the right development frameworks and the right partnerships. Watch out for coming events.