The Independent (Accra)

22 November 2000

Ghana: Re: Volta Akans Want Own Region

opinion

Accra — I wish to comment on Charles Hwe Nyame's rejoinder of Thursday July 13, 2000 issue of The Independent on the above-stated topic.

Mr. Hwe Nyame alleges that it was the writer who originated the so- called debate on the above - stated topic.

Readers may recall that on 29/2/2000, Mr. Richmond Keelson, the Associate Editor of The Independent, on his own accord.

wrote on the front page of the said paper as follows: VOLTA AKANS WANT OWN REGION. Under this heading, The Independent carried the pictures of Vice President Professor Atta Mills and that of the NPP presidential candidate Mr.

Kufuor and wrote underneath these pictures as follows: "Which of the two J. A.s gets the nod of Volta Akans?" And on the front page of the Thursday July 13,2000 issue which carried Mr. Hwe Nyame's rejoinder, The Independent this time carried the picture of Dr. Obed Asamoah and wrote underneath his picture as follows: "The debate on the need for a separate region for Akans in Northern Volta Region continues."

In this regard, it is pretentious for The Independent and Mr. Hwe Nyame to state that it is the writer who originated the topic and consequently the discussion that has ensued as a result. The Independent should do well to remember that it has a discerning readership.

And in the opinion of the writer The Independent is only seeking to play one brother off against another brother in the Northern Volta Region and which the writer foresaw and warned the citizens of the Region and the general public against in his rejoinder of June 13, 2000 issue. To the writer, there is nothing to be debated upon on the above- stated topic raised by Mr. Keelson/The Independent viz a viz Hwe Nyame's rejoinder in support of the topic.

This is because, firstly the fourteen (14) towns and villages mentioned by Hwe Nyame as being Akan in Northern Volta Region cannot constitute a Region. Secondly, Hwe Nyame therefore agrees with the writer that the majority of the people here are Guans and other mixed tribes.

And so therefore, one cannot say that AKANS WANT OWN REGION in this part of the Volta Region. One would have expected Mr. Keelson /The Independent to educate its readership on the Constitutional provisions for creating Regions out of existing ones. This the writer believes would have been more productive rather than projecting Dr. Obed Asamoah, the Attorney-General (whose office has not even been mentioned in the Constitution in this regard) as the person holding the key to the creation of a region out of the Volta Region and therefore the one to look up to or appeal to.

Again, Hwe Nyame alleges that there was no rejoinder to the writer's feature article: "The Akposos - Who are they?" which appeared in the 27/4/99 edition of the Ghanaian Times. And that this time the writer would not be allowed to go "scot free' as he puts it, hence his rejoinder.

For his information, one Daniel Owusu Nyampong, on 29/5/99 wrote a rejoinder to the said feature article Mr. Hwe Nyame is invited to contribute to this feature article if he thinks he has something more or better to offer.

Having made his point, the writer would have concluded his reaction to the said rejoinder by Hwe Nyame at this stage but for certain incorrect and misleading observations made by him concerning Akposos and the town of Akposokubi, as follows: I. That the writer misquoted the works of Professors J. K. Fynn and K. B. Dickson concerning the Akposos as Guans

2. That a small group of Akposos migrated from French Togo to Akposokubi

3. That the Akposos intermarried with Akans, adopted Twi as their language and took on Twi names.

4. That the name and meaning of the town Akposokubi is of Akan derivation

5. That there are no Akposos in the Kadjebi District. Firstly, it is not clear what Mr. Hwe Nyame meant by saying that the writer has misquoted professors Fynn and Dickson concerning the Akposos and Guans. This is because the distinguished professors only stated that Akposos and Avatimes are Guans and that they had settled in the Volta Region by the thirteenth century - some eight hundred years ago - long before the Eves settled in about the Seventeenth century.

The writer can only add that Professors Fynn and Dickson were writing about Ghana and its people (of which the Akposos and Avatimes are a part) and not about any other country and its people. And that the facts about Akposos as stated by Fynn and Dickson have also been stated by numerous other authors / sources as follows: In the book: History of Ghana - since prehistory (Royal Gold Publishers Limited, 1999) at page 32, the author Seth Kordzo Gadzekpo stated that Akposos are Ghanaians and also Guans; The authors J. K. Fynn, Addo Fening and J. Anquarndah stated at page 127 of the book: History for Senior Secondary Schools (Ministry of Education) that Akposos and Avatimes are Guans and are among the original inhabitants of Ghana today; At pages 13 and 14 of the journal Ghana Today No.4 - People of Ghana (Ghana Publishing Corporation, 1974), Akposos and Avatimes were again mentioned as Guans in the Volta Region; In the book: New Era Geographies for Ghana Book 3 (Macmillan &Co. Limited, 1966) and at page 130, the author J. L. Anang produced a map with the heading "Ghana - Tribes and Languages" in which the Ewe, Akposo and Adele were mentioned; In his book: Guan-Anum- Boso English Dictionary (Apra Services Limited, Accra-North).

Dr. E. V. Asihene stated at pages 4,5 and 152 that Akposos are Guans located in the Volta Region and speak Ikposo - the Akposo language; On the National Atlas of Ghana - Ethnic and Language Groups in Ghana (1998) Akposo has been clearly delineated as an ethnic group in (Buem - Krachi ) the Jasikan and Kadjebi Adininistrative Districts of the Volta Region of Ghana. And in a UNESCO publication titled "African Ethnonyms and Toponyms (Report and Papers of the Meeting of experts orgainzed by UNESCO in Paris July 3-7(1(978) Ivan Hrbek stated that Akposos belong to Ghana, speak Ikposo and that the spellings Akposso, Kposo and Kposso refer to the same people.

Readers are further referred to the writer's rejoinder and feature article titled: "AKANS IN The VOLTA REGION" published at page 5 of the Thursday July 20- Wednesday July 25, 2000 issue of the weekly Graphic Showbiz. In the light of the above stated references, where then is the misquotation by the writer of the distinguished authors J. K. Fynn and K. B. Dickson concerning the Akposos that Hwe Nyame is referring to? Secondly, and in the light of the above-quoted sources/authorities, Hwe Nyame's assertion that a small group of Akposos migrated from French Togo (when?) to Akposokubi is not tenable. Thirdly, Hwe Nyame's assertions that the Akposos in Akposokubi intermarried with Akans (from where?), adopted Twi as their Language and taken on so-called Akan names are not only untenable, but false. The fact is that Akposos continue to speak Ikposo, the Akposo language, which they have spoken from time immemorial and have not changed to speaking Twi as a result of any intermarriage.

A case in point is that on Thursday November 3, 1990, the Daily Graphic carried a news item headed: "GILLBT Holds Workshop for Literacy Committee Members." The said workshop which was organized by the Ghana Institute of Linguistics Literacy and Bible Translation (GILLBT) was held at Bodada - Buem to assist the Akposo, Nkonya, Santrokofi, Likpe, Atwode and Buem (Lelemi) people to reduce their Ghanaian languages into written form. Akposos, like other Guans, may bear indigenous Guan names as well as the names of some of their earliest neighbours, such as Ewes (Volta Region) and Akans (Eastern and Central Regions), for example for various historical reasons.

The writer observes, however, that in the Volta Region in particular, bearing of so-called Akan names such as Anim, Asare, Ofori etc does not necessarily mean one is Akan or that one has changed his language to Twi (Akan). In the Volta Region it is common to come across people bearing so-called Akan names but who cannot speak a word of Akan- for here, all are not hunters that blow the horn. In any case, if names such as Ofori, Anim, Asare are so-called Akan names, as Hwe Nyame asserts, could he tell readers the direct meaning of these names in the Akan language today? Fourthly, the citizens of Akposokubi themselves have given different meanings to the name of their town - other than the one given by Hwe Nyame. According to Hwe Nyame, Akposokubi is of Akan derivation, which translates as "Akposo Kuw bi" meaning "a group of Akposos." However, Hwe Nyame did not go ahead to explain how his "Akposo Kuw bi", Akposokubi also came to be known as Apesokubi.

Readers from the Volta Region in particular may be aware of the Committee of Inquiry (Volta Region) E. 1.31, 1973 which was set up by the Government to enquire into certain matters concerning the Volta Region.

This committee was popularly referred to as the Nana Agyeman Badu Committee of Inquiry. Giving evidence on oath before the said Committee of Inquiry (Volta Region) E.I. 31, 1973 Owli (Togbe) M. K. Otifli, the Mankrado and spokesman of the Akposos told the Committee that the suffix " ku bi" to the town Akposokubi is of Buem (Lefana) language derivation which translates as "Akposo and his children/Servants". He explained that the word" ku" in Buem (Lefana) means "and" while the word "bi" means "Children/Servants". The history behind this is that a Buem hunter discovered some refugees on Akposoland and therefore handed them over to the Akposos (at present day Akposokubi) on whose land they were found - hence the name Akposokubi, meaning "Akposo and their children/Servants." The above-stated history of Akposokubi was given during the proceedings of Sitting Numbered 155 of Friday August 6, 1976 at page 5 of the said Committee of Inquiry (Volta Region) E.I.

31, 1973 referred to above. Also giving evidence on oath Nana Kataboah II, the chief and spokesman of the "Apeso" group in Akposokubi stated that the suffix "kubi" to the town Akposokubi (Apesokubi) is of Akan derivation.

He stated that the suffix "Kubi" is the shortened form of "Ku me bi" in Akan which translates literally as "Kill me also" According to him, the history behind the name is that an "Apeso" man who was confronted by Ashanti warriors voluntarily surrendered and requested the Ashantis to " Kill him also" just as they had killed his other "Apeso" brothers. This history was told during Sitting Numbered 152 of Tuesday August 3, 1976 at page 13 of the Committee of Inquiry (Volta Region) E. 1.31, 1973 referred to above. The plain truth, however, is that the history and ethnicity of Ghana, does not disclose any such tribe as "Apeso" in the (Buem-Krachi) Northern Volta Region of Ghana.

But we have Akposo, as disclosed above. The Buem Traditional Council which has tradional jurisdictional authority over both Akposokubi and Kadjebi was also represented at the said Committee of Inquiry (volta Region) E.I. 311973 by the then Paramount Chief, Nana Aburam Akpandja III and Nana Kwabena Agyedu II who spoke for and on behalf of the Buem Tradhional Council. During sittings numbered 135 (of Thursday April 8, 1976 at pages 18-19) and 153 (of Wednesday August 4, 1976 at pages 32- 33), the Buem Traditional Council confirmed the Akposo version of the meaning of Akposokubi as being of Buem (Lefana) derivation.

It could well be, therefore, that the meaning of Kadjebi as given by Hwe Nyame could also be his own creation and composition, as he tried to do for Akposokubi. Fifthly if the towns of Menuso and Jinjiso, as mentioned by Hwe Nyame as belonging to the Kadjebi District were and are also known as Akposo Menu and Akposo Jinji, then there are Akposos in the Kadjebi District as well - including Kadjebi town itself For a confirmation of this piece of information, one may refer to the 1960 Population Census of Ghana, Volume I - The Gazetteer, page 277 Finally, Hwe Nyame is reminded of the fact that the arbitrarily drawn colonial boundaries of Africa and Ghana have, for example, affected ethnic groups tribes such as the Ewes, Akposos and Adeles in the Volta Region, and the Nzemas and Baoles in the Western and Brong Ahafo Regions respectively -just to mention a few.

This is trite contemporary geo-political history of Ghana. Those who are ignorant of this fact may be surprised to learn/know that some Ewes, Akposos and Adeles are found in the Republic of Togo and that some Nzemas and Baoles are also found in the Ivory Coast (La Cote d' Ivoire).

In his book: The Ewe Unification Movement- a Political History (Ghana Universities press, Accra 1989) and under the topic "Ewe Petitions against partition" at pages 22 and 23, the author Professor D. E. K. Amenumey wrote as follows: "A number of petitions, requests and memoranda were sent to the Leaque (ie the League of Nations, and now the United Nations Organization, UN) through the Commission.

Those of Woame and Akposso-Buem dealt with instances in which the people living near the frontier had their farms and homes spearated by the boundary." It is this documented and authenticated history of Northern Volta Region (Buem-Krachi) and about the Akposos and Akposokubi that Hwe Nyame would like readers to ignore and rather believe and accept his fairy tale of his brave ancestors who fought and chased the Guan King Atanra Finam (in the 1711' Century?) to Northern Volta Region from Takyiman in the Brong Ahafo Region but were unable to go back. And this history according to Hwe Nyame was told him by his "long-reigned and renowned uncle" and also by others who he described as "encyclopaedia of history" and "enlightened and experienced chief'. - in the Northern Volta Region.

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