As many as nine paramount chiefs in the Kassena-Nankana area have taken the Paramount Chief of Talensi, Naab Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, and an ethnic association calling itself BONABOTO to task over a “retrogressive” statement said to have been delivered recently to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Naab Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, otherwise known as the Tongraan, reportedly announced that the Minister for Aviation and Member of Parliament (MP) for Navrongo Central, Joseph Kofi Adda, had a unilateral agenda to alter government’s plan to establish an airport within the BONABOTO enclave by shifting the location of the facility to the Kassena-Nankana territory. The chief is said to have made the assertion— a much-publicised claim he has not denied— when he led a delegation of BONABOTO chiefs and representatives to the Jubilee House on Friday 29th May, 2020.
Although a strong reaction was expected to trail the alleged airport statement, the turnout and the calibre of those who expressed rage against the Tongraan and BONABOTO at a news conference held Wednesday at Paga, a border capital in the Upper East Region, were not anticipated.
Surrounded by several natives of the vast Kassena-Nankana homeland, the paramount chiefs in attendance included: the President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs and Paramount Chief of Naaga, Naba Olando A. Awine III; the Paramount Chief of Paga and former President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, Pe Charles Awiah Awampaga II; the Paramount Chief of Chiana and former Vice President of the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, Pe Ditundini Adiali Ayagitam III and the Paramount Chief of Nakong, Pe Joseph Banapeh Afagachie.
The rest are: the Paramount Chief of Kayoro, Pe Oscar Batabi Tiyiamu II; the Paramount Chief of Mirigu, Naba Anthony Abisa Anonsona Atasige III; the Paramount Chief of Katiu, Pe Ayikode Zangwio Atoge IV; the Paramount Chief of Kologo, Naba Clifford Tandegrewognekugre Asobayire V and the Paramount Chief of Navrongo, Pe Denis Aneakwoa Balinia Adda Asagpari II. The paramount chiefs and a section of the public consider the Tongraan’s remarks as rooted in a concerted covert plan to divert government’s attention from a longstanding public demand for an existing airstrip at Paga to be facelifted.
“We acknowledge the good policies and hard work of the President in the country and our region and wish to express our gratitude to His Excellency. We do recognise also the legitimate right of the Tongraan and people of the BONABOTO areas to demand and request for any assistance from government or any party in support of the development of their respective areas and do support such an effort to improve upon the lives of the people of the region. In their attempt to ask for development of their areas, they have no right whatsoever to stop the progress of work and the development of any part of the region in advancement of their own parochial interests, particularly the Kassena-Nankana Traditional Areas as that is retrogressive and counter-productive to the advancement of the agenda of government and the nation.
“Inasmuch as they may make such a request, they have no right to disrespect and denigrate or attempt to bring into disrepute the good name of anyone and attempt to impugn the character of a person or a senior public servant so duly and legitimately elected by the people of Ghana and appointed by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana and in this case the Member of Parliament of the Navrongo Central Constituency and the Minister for Aviation, Honourable Joseph Kofi Adda,” the paramount chiefs said in a jointly signed communiqué.
President entreated to upgrade airstrip; Tongraan, BONABOTO asked to apologise
Also contained in the four-page communiqué is a plea on President Akufo-Addo to make the existing airstrip in the Kassena-Nankana area serviceable and upgrade it into “a fully functional airport”.
“We do humbly appeal to His Excellency the President and his government to continue the upgrading of the seventy-eight-year-old airstrip to serve the people living and working in the area and the region at large and further promote the good works of the government. We wish to draw the attention of His Excellency to the fact that this upgrading of the airstrip would be faster and cheaper without constraints of land as there has not been any encroachment since 1942 when it was constructed. In making this request, we do not seek to stop any work in any other part of the region that may bring about the development of a green field, bigger, commercial or more expensive airport if the government so desires,” the communiqué, read by the Paramount Chief of Kologo, stated.
The visibly upset paramount chiefs added: “We demand an apology from the Tongraan and BONABOTO for requesting the cessation of any progress of work at the airstrip of our traditional area.”
Meanwhile, some natives of the BONABOTO area have openly condemned the Tongraan-led visit by the BONABOTO chiefs and representatives to the Jubilee House, saying it was “politically motivated” to render the Aviation Minister unpopular ahead of the imminent parliamentary primaries of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP). Some of the BONABOTO natives, who have been speaking on local radio stations in the region, say “the self-seeking motive” behind the Jubilee House visit could divide the traditional chiefs’ front and propagate “a dangerous seed of ethnic disunity” in the region.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Edward Adeti