The final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II were performed in a peaceful and festive atmosphere in Yendi on Thursday.
The spectacular traditional event was characterised by a display of the rich culture and customs of the Dagbamba people.
Immaculately dressed in their colourful smocks of varied designs and sizes, the ecstatic mourners danced to the melodious beats of the ‘gong, gong’ and ‘gonje’ strings, amid the firing of muskets.
The climax of events was the circumambulation of the old Gbewaa Palace that was duly carried out by Kampakuya Naa Abdulai Andani in his fortified designed smock, with his uniquely crafted hat (Bu-gu) to match.
The Kampakuya Naa, along with the eldest daughter of Yaa Naa Andani, Naa-Priba Pakpang, and other siblings were escorted by the Chief Warrior of Dagbon, Kumbung Naa Yiri II, and other sub-chiefs on their immaculate horses to provide spiritual protection.
A willing and milling crowd of family, friends and other sympathisers followed them round the palace three times.
Before the commencement of the final funeral rites, however, some rituals, such as the slaughtering of a horse, a donkey and other such animals, were performed to pacify the gods.
There was also the storming of Yilibilla (small house) by horsemen from Gushiegu to remove some straw from the main hall of the house to signify the removal of the symbol of authority of the late Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II.
The straw will subsequently be handed over to the Yaa Naa-elect.
Also of importance was the spiritual bathing (cleansing) of the widows of the late Overlord by Mba-Naa, after which they were made to enter the Katini (sacred room) through the Gambee Gooni (wall). It is believed that only widows who were loyal and faithful to the late Yaa Naa would present themselves for this ritual.
Among the many dignitaries who witnessed the funeral rites were the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, and other government functionaries.
Also present were Members of Parliament, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr David Asante Appeatu; political party representatives, chiefs and religious leaders.
There was also a delegation from Ashanti and other parts of the country.
The Asantehene’s emissary was led by Baffour Asabere Kogyanoasu Ababio III, the Otumfuo Nsumankwahene.
The entire funeral will be brought to finality today (Friday, January 18, 2019) with more sacrifices and a special prayer by Muslim clerics at the temporary palace for the soul of the deceased Yaa Naa and his predecessors and for peace in Dagbon and Ghana as a whole.
It will be observed by the Kampakuya Naa and his siblings, chiefs, customary dignitaries, royal family members, Muslim clerics, Tom-Tom beaters and guests.
According to the road map to peace in Dagbon, as presented by the Committee of Eminent Chiefs, the Abudu Royal Family was given two weeks to perform the funeral of Yaa Naa Mahamadu Abdulai IV from December 14 to 28, 2018, after which the Andani Royal Family was also to perform the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II, who was killed in March 2002, from January 4, 2019 to January 18, 2019.
Tension that had simmered in the build-up to the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II boiled over when the Andanis and the Abudus clashed in Yendi.
The clash led to the death of one person, with three others sustaining injuries, while a shed and some rooms were burnt.
The Andani Family deferred the final funeral rites of Yaa Naa Andani from January 4 to January 11, 2019 following the clash.
The Andanis claimed that the Bolin Lana, Mahamadu Abdulai, of the Abudu Royal Family was occupying a part of the temporary Gbewaa Palace.
According to the Andanis, that section of the palace was significant to the performance of the funeral because it was usually occupied by some chiefs who played significant roles in the performance of a Yaa Naa’s funeral rites.
Responding to the concerns raised by the Andanis, the Abudus said: “We wish to state without any equivocation that Bolin Lana Mahamadu Abdulai is not moving an inch from where he is temporarily residing. This demand is mischievous, preposterous and unachievable.”
They claimed that the Mba Dugu’s residence “plays absolutely no role in the performance of the funeral of a Yaa Naa”.
The Asantehene-led Committee of Eminent Chiefs, on November 16, 2018, made a declaration to bring finality to the decades-old conflict between the Abudu and the Andani Royal families when it presented a document on the road map to peace in the troubled Kingdom to President Nana Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra.
The committee was set up by former President John Kufuor in 2002 to find a lasting solution to the long-drawn-out Dagbon chieftaincy dispute after the killing of Yaa Naa Yakubu Andani II in Yendi in March 2002.
The committee is made up of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II; the Yagbonwura, Tuntumba Boresa Sulemana Jakpa I, the Paramount Chief of the Gonja Traditional Area, and the Nayiri, Na Bohugu Abdulai Mahami Sheriga, the Paramount Chief of the Mamprugu Traditional Area.