History has it that the mother of the Mossi people in Burkina Faso (Upper Volta) was a princess called Yennenga, the daughter of Nedega, an early twelfth Century king of the Dagomba Kingdom.¬†¬†Yennenga was a famous warrior whose son Ouedraogo founded the Mossi Kingdom.¬†¬†The princess was a beautiful and beloved daughter of the king, who from the tender age of 14, fought in battle for her father against the neighbouring Malinkes.¬†¬†She was skilled with javelins, spears and bows and an excellent horsewoman and even commanded her own battalion.
Yennenga was such an important fighter that when she reached her marriageable age, her father, Naa Nedega refused to choose a husband for her as tradition demanded, neither did he allow her to marry.¬†¬†To express her unhappiness to her father for not being allowed to marry at her age, Yennenga went behind their house and planted a field of¬†millet.¬†¬†When the crop grew, she deliberately let it rot.¬†¬†One day, as her father was strolling behind the house, he noticed the rotten millet and went to enquire from his wives which of them foolishly allowed the millet to rot.¬†¬†Yennega told her father that she was the one who deliberately allowed her planted millet to rot. She went further to explain to her father that, that was how she felt‚ÄĒnot being allowed to marry at her age. History continuous to say that even after the explanation, Naa Nedega failed to be moved by her and locked¬†his daughter up.
One of the king‚Äôs horsemen helped Yennenga to dress as a man and escape on her stallion.¬†¬†She was later attacked by some Malinkes and her companion was killed. Yennenga was left alone.¬†¬†The brave warrior that she was, Yennenga continued to ride north.¬†¬†One night, when she was exhausted¬†from crossing a river on her stallion, the beast took her into a forest.¬†¬†There, she met a solitary elephant hunter called Riale.¬†¬†When Riale saw through Yennenga‚Äôs disguise, they fell in love.¬†¬†Yennenga and Riale had a son they named Ouedraogo which means ‚Äėstallion‚Äô in the Mossi language.¬†¬†To the Mossis, Yennenga is considered the mother of the Mossi Kingdom.¬†¬†That is why when you touch a Dagomba, a Nanumba or a Mamprusi you have touched a Mossi.¬†¬†Indeed, that is why from time immemorial, the Dagombas are playmates of the Mossis.¬†¬†Don‚Äôt be confused while I continue with the narrations after chewing my cola nut.¬†¬†It is time to travel down history lane.
According to oral tradition, the related Kingdoms of Dagomba, Nanumba and¬†¬†¬†Mamprusi came into being in the fifteenth¬†century.¬†¬†It is commonly accepted that their founder was Naa Gbewa and his two sons. After two of them quarrelled they separated and gave rise to two kingdoms which eventually became independent from each other.¬†¬†As descendants of Gbewa, the Mamprusis, Nanumbas and Dagombas still consider themselves as brothers and sisters and have everything in common including festivals and other rituals.¬†¬†Like the Mossis, the Dagombas have never and will never fight the Mamprusis or Nanumbas for any reason.¬†¬†Anytime you see a Mossi, a Mamprusi, a Nanumba or a Dagomba insulting each other or even engaged in fisticuffs,¬†you better keep moving, for theirs is not a fight but a joke.¬†¬†A Dagomba woman, for example, has the ‚Äúright‚ÄĚ to pour water on a Mossi man when he is passing by and go free. Although the Mossi-Dagomba states have the same grandfather (Naa Gbewa) the Dagomba are traditionally regarded as ‚Äúsenior‚ÄĚ to the Mossi states of Ouagadougou, Yatinga and Fada N‚ÄôGruma.
The Mamprusi Kingdom was found around the sixteenth¬†century at Pusiga, a village 14 miles from Bawku.¬†As a consequence, the King of Mossi to this day, is enskinned by the Nayiri, the King of Mamprugu; thus establishing this kingdom as the pre-eminent of its kind, and the only kingdom in present day Ghana, whose relevance and authority cuts across national boundaries on the weight of its humble supremacy.¬†¬†The name of the Kingdom is Mamprugu, the ethnicity is Mamprusi, and the language is Mampruli.¬†¬†This is the tribe that produced Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the running mate of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The high rise of the descendents of the Naa Gbewa Dynasty in the political arena¬†started with Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the former Vice President of Ghana.¬†¬†When then candidate Kufuor chose Alhaji Aliu Mahama as his running mate, the same noise being made about Dr. Bawumia was made.¬†¬†Those who said the fine Alhaji was not known to the Ghanaian electorate forgot to appreciate the fact that most politicians came to high office relatively unknown:¬†¬†look at the long history of surprising American presidents in this century alone, from Truman to Clinton and look at the surprising presidents of Ghana from Dr Kwame Nkrumah to¬†Dr. Hilla Limann¬†(Li Who).¬†¬†I had cause to write in this column when Aliu was chosen that biography is not necessarily destiny.¬†¬†I need not recount the success story of Alhaji Aliu when he partnered ex-president Kufuor for eight years because it is well known by all well-meaning Ghanaians.¬†¬†This is a man who conducted himself so well while in office that no Jupiter can put his or her hand in the fire and tell Ghanaians that he misconducted himself in anyway.¬†¬†Alhaji Aliu Mahama made history as the first Ghanaian to hold the Holy Koran to swear the Presidential oath as the Number Two citizen of Ghana, thereby making Muslims all over the country proud.¬†¬†All along, our Vice Presidents and Presidents used only the Holy Bible to swear because they were all Christians.
History would be repeating itself in December when by the grace of the Almighty Allah, Dr. Bawumia holds the Holy Koran one more time to swear the Presidential Oath before Ghanaians.¬†¬†Co-incidentally, another descendant of the Naa Gbewa Dynasty would be making history.¬†¬†Those qualities that we saw in Alhaji Aliu when he was the Veep could easily be seen in Dr. Bawumia. As Aliu showed what a Vice President should be, he also showed us what a man should be.¬†¬†Aliu carried himself even in¬†that powerful office, with decency and attention to small kindness¬†that also defined good life. He was a courtly, gentle and considerate man, never known to slight or embarrass others. I can see similar qualities in¬†this gentleman from Mamprugu. In his case, Dr. Bawumia has the added advantage of being the youngest to hold that office if the dream comes true.
Optimists pin their hopes on Bawumia‚Äôs experience as a tested technocrat.¬†¬†Anytime your Earth Angel Gabriel hears the urbane, cosmopolitan voice of Dr. Bawumia, it reminds me of the late Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia, the Second Republic Prime Minister of Ghana.¬†¬†Like Prof. Busia, Dr. Bawumia is a buoyant optimist and he has the grace that comes with humility.
And did I hear President John Mahama well when he visited Tamale on his so called ‚ÄėThank You Tour‚Äô? That he belongs to no faction in the Dagbon crisis?¬†¬†This man thinks he is talking to toddlers.¬†¬†The NDC included in their Manifesto that they will find and prosecute the killers of the Yaa Naa.¬†¬†Even though the Wuaku Commission recommended that some people from both factions should be prosecuted, the Mahama/Mills government sent fully armed soldiers at dawn to arrest about 45 Abudus, screened them at Bimbilla and took 15 of them to Accra.
They were put before court with the intention of keeping their campaign promise to the Andanis but the law set them free.¬†¬†Again when the Mills/Mahama administration took over power, they threw the Otumfuo‚Äôs Road Map to the dogs and gave the Andanis a free range to operate.¬†¬†When the 15 Abudus were discharged, the late President Mills went to Tamale after the Andani youth demonstrated and burnt the NDC regional office and promised the Andanis he would bring in the FBI from the US to investigate the case again; but that too did not materialize.
Hear him again: ‚ÄúDagbon is one.‚ÄĚ¬†¬†Who ever said Dagbon was two until the Mills/Mahama used the death of the Yaa Naa to campaign for votes among the Andanis.¬†¬†Give us a break, Mr. President! The Andanis should see President Mahama as another trickster who is out there to woo them for their votes and leave them to grieve again.
Indeed, the Andanis should forgive and move forward with their Abudu brothers and sisters because the NDC has nothing good to offer them.¬†¬†Three months to the 2012 general elections, candidate Dramani Mahama is trying desperately to trick¬†the Andanis again.¬†¬†If the Andanis allow themselves to be taken for a ride again, generation yet unborn will not treat them kindly.¬†¬†The Great Gbewa Dynasty is on the rise again through Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the sky is the limit.