26 November 2012

Ghana: Otumfuo Orders Vacant Essumeja Stool to Be Filled

THE END of the Essumeja Chieftaincy dispute is in sight as Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, has directed the Abusuapanin (head of Aduana Royal family) of Essumeja to immediately nominate a royal for installation as chief.

The nomination is to be done in consultation with the Obaapanin of the family, Nana Adwoa Aborah in order to choose from among potential claimants within a week.

Otumfuo gave the directive last Thursday, when the Asanteman Council met to determine the dispute bordering on the eligibility of the Queen mother of Essumeja, Nana Adwoa Obro Pokuaa Nyankronpon and a royal of Aduana family, Madam Adwoa Abora.

The directive further indicated that the nominee should be introduced to the Gyasehene, Nana Twum Barima Appau, who in turn would introduce the nominee to the stool elders of Essumeja for necessary steps to be taken for the installation of a new chief for Essumeja.

The Queen mother, Nana Obro Pokuaa Nyankronpon, who is contesting claims of her ineligibility to the stool, failed to attend the meeting.

Otumfuo said since the Queen mother had amply demonstrated that she was not capable of handling Essumeja, in the absence of a substantive chief, it was necessary that a royal was nominated and installed to save the community from further deterioration.

Otumfuo, however, agreed to the plea of Opanin Yaw Sarpong, the head of family of the embattled Queen mother, to be excused on health grounds and be allowed to appear before the Council in three months to defend her claim to eligibility to the stool as queen mother.

He said the Queen mother would, however, have to appear before the Asanteman Council in three months' time without fail, or face the consequences. He warned that he would be compelled to strike out the case after the three month period if she failed to appear before the Council.

Before Otumfuo issued the directive, members of the Asanteman Council had, by consensus, called for the destoolment of the Queen mother of Essumeja variously for gross disrespect for the Golden Stool, the Asanteman Council by taking a French leave and leaving the shores of the country last year without informing Essumeja stool elders about her movements contrary to Asante custom.

The stand of the Council members from the various divisions (Fekuo), including Kronti, Gyase, Akwamu, Nkosuo, Ankobia, Nifa, Benkum and Akyeamehene (overlord of Essumeja) was unanimous in the call for the exit of the Essumeja queen mother.

Nana Pokuaa Nyankronpon is currently contesting her eligibility as Queen mother of Essumeja before the Asanteman Council after her role was challenged by another royal, Madam Adwoa Aboraa for which a five-member Judicial Committee was appointed in May 2008.

Her contestant, who invoked the Oath of Asante against her claims, has established that Nana Nyankronpon is not a royal of the Essumeja and this was collaborated by findings of the a five-member Committee of enquiry.

The Queen mother's challenger, Madam Adwoa Aboraa through her spokesman, Nana Osei Bonsu, was unblemished with her family tree descent to convince the Council that the late Odeneho Oduro Numapau hailed from Tikrom and, therefore, was not of the Essumeja royal blood, meaning the installation of the Queen mother was absolutely improper.

She said because the late Oduro Numapau was not from the royal house, the elders invoked Otumfuo's Ntamkesie (Great Oath) against him but had to be absorbed by Otumfuo Opoku Ware II and allowed to be on the stool for which reason Nana Oduro Numapau never saw eye to eye with the then Queen mother, Nana Frema II.

It was narrated that it was on the death of Nana Frema that Oduro Numapau installed Obro Nyankropon as the Queen mother, even though she is not a royal, hence the Ntamkesie (Otumfuo's Great Oath) against the Queen mother to regain their rightful possession.

When it became evident in November 2010, during a meeting of the Asanteman Council over three days (November 15, 16, and 17, 2010) that Nana Pokuaa Nyankronpon was not eligible to the Essumeja stool as the Queen mother, Barima Offe Kwasi Okogyeasuo, the Kokofuhene pleaded on her behalf and asked to mediate and advise her against her position.

The case was then adjourned for a week to enable the Kokofuhene to advise the Queen mother but the Kokofuhene's intervention was not fruitful as the Queen mother rejected the mediation efforts by the Kokofuhene.

She told Otumfuo that she wished to give her testimony and contest the claim that she is not a legitimate queen mother which Otumfuo obliged.

When Asanteman Council met on February 17, 2011, the Queen mother sent in an excuse-duty from a Bekwai hospital to the effect that she needed one month rest.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, had no other alternative than to grant her wish, which turned out to be the end of the case.

It has taken the queen mother almost two years to defend her claim to the stool, which attitude has led to stalemate of the development of Essumeja.

The case was fixed for November 22, 2012 but the queen mother of 30 plus years again failed to attend with an excuse per Opanin Yaw Sarpong that she was indisposed in London.

The Essumeja Numapau or Gyebi Kankanfo Stool of Essumeja Asantemanso became vacant on the demise of Odeneho Oduro Numapua II in 2003 as a result of which Essumeja, which is the Benkum wing of Asanteman, has been without a substantive chief.

Meanwhile, Otumfuo Osei Tutu has advised members of the Asanteman Council to be guided by truth in dealing with issues in all their deliberations. He noted that truth was paramount in preserving customary practices and ensuring sanity in the traditional Asante set up.

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