Yendi, the traditional seat of Dagbon ‘Namship’ in the Northern Region, is ready for the performance of the final funeral rites of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II.
The epoch event which will be climaxed today and tomorrow, will witness the three-time circling of the old Gbewaa Palace by the Kampakuya Naa Yakubu Andani today and the subsequent prayer and almsgiving (Sara malbu) and consultations of oracles by Kingmakers to select a substantive Yaa Naa for Dagbon that has been without an Overlord since the killing of Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II in March 2002 in Yendi.
This is expected to bring finality to the long-drawn-out internecine Dagbon chieftaincy dispute that has lingered in the area for decades, to facilitate the accelerated development of the Northern Region.
At the moment, Yendi is calm but with much anticipation.
On Tuesday, there was drumming and dancing by various cultural troupes and that was interspersed with musketry by Sapashin-nima (warriors) to the admiration of onlookers who were present to witness and be part of history.
Donations from individuals, groups and institutions, including the leadership of the Minority in Parliament and the Northern Region branch of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), continue to pour into the Yaa-Naa Yakubu Andani II Funeral Committee.
Security is tight as all vehicles and suspicious persons coming into Yendi are being subjected to searches.
Chiefs and other prominent citizens are, however, provided with an escort into the ancient town.
There are also gun-wielding military and police personnel at strategic locations to ward off any threat that could throw the funeral performance into jeopardy.
“Our men are firmly on the ground to ensure adequate security protection for the event tomorrow,” the Northern Region Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Mr Mohammed Yussif Tanko, said.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic yesterday, he described as, “so far so good,” the security situation in the town.
The officer added that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr David Asante Appeatu, is also expected to arrive today to monitor activities of the security personnel in the area.
Meanwhile, many people, including sympathisers and mourners, are trooping to Yendi to witness the rich traditional and customary practices that characterise such rare events.
Already, various paramount and sub-chiefs in Dagbon have pitched camp in the municipality to play their respective roles and also support the performance of the funeral.
There is high anticipation of the arrival of the Chief Warrior of the Dagbon Kingdom, Kumbung Naa Yiri II, who is carrying the soul and spiritual embodiment of Dagbon into Yendi.
The chief, who began his spiritual journey to Yendi from his Bin-biem Palace in Kumbungu last Monday, is expected to make a stopover at Mion, about seven kilometres to Yendi where he will pass the night and later move into ‘Yani’ today before the circling of the old Gbewaa Palace by the Kampakuya Naa Abdulai Andani.
The last time the people of Dagbon witnessed such a spectacle of customary significance was 45 years ago.
The performance of the final funeral rites of both Yaa Naa Muhamadu Abdulai and Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani in the Dagbon Chieftaincy divide, formed part of the recommendations of the road map of the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, chaired by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, that was submitted to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on November 21, 2018.
Other members of the committee are the Yagbonwuura, Tuntumba Boresa II; the Overlord of the Gonja Traditional Area, and the Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Abdulai Mahama Sheriga, the Overlord of the Mamprugu Traditional Area.
The Committee of Eminent Chiefs was set up by former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2002 to find a lasting solution to the Dagbon chieftaincy dispute after the murder of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II in Yendi.