Story: Ampem Gyeke-Darko & Kofi Michel
The Judicial Committee of the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs has reversed the enstoolment of Odehye Kwasi Akufo as Okuapemhene.
Odehye Kwasi Akuffo was nominated for enstoolment by the Paramount Queen-mother Nana Afua Nketia Obuo IV to succeed the late Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa III without following traditional process.
The Judicial Committee presided over by Chief of Akyem Swedro, Okotwareasuo Kantamanto Agyeman ruled that Nana Nketia Obuo IV did not have the Vito power to nominate from any of the three (3) gates to ascend the Akuapem Paramountcy.
Tradition allows three (3) Gates/Houses to ascend Okuapeman Paramount Stool; the Nketia, the Amogyaa, and the Sakyiabea.
The ruling established that it is now the turn of the Sakyiabea Royal House to nominate a befitting candidate to be installed as Okuapemhene.
The Judicial Committee in its final judgement emphasized that, as far as the Akuapem chieftaincy is concerned, it is the Abrewatia of the Sakyiabea Royal House whose mandate it was to submit a candidate for enstoolment.
It was in line with these traditional systems that the Committee ruled that candidate Odehye Kwasi Akufu, nominated by Nana Obuo Nketia IV was null and void.
The court further directed that the Sakyiabea House presented a successor for the Akuapem paramountcy, so all other processes would follow to install a new Paramount Chief for Akuapem.
It would be remembered that before this chieftaincy brouhaha, the Abrewatia of the Sakyiabea House voted one Odehye Kwadwo Kesse to the Elders of Akuapem to install as chief but for reasons best known to the Queen, she dropped the nominee and installed her preferred candidate.
However, the Okuapemhene Stool has remained vacant almost five years after the demise of Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwah III, Okuapemanhene in 2015, due to dispute emanating from the Sakyibea Royal family whose turn it is to nominate an heir to the vacant stool.
Two factions emerged from the Sakyibea Royal Family and each claimed to be the right candidate to succeed the late Oseadeyo Addo Dankwah III, who ruled for 41 years before his demise.
While the Paramount queen-mother Nana Afua Nketiaa Obuo selected Odehyie Kwasi Akuffo, a retired Journalist and installed him as the new Okuapemhene, Odehyie Kwasi Akuffo, a businessman was subsequently given the stool name Nana Oboubi Atiemo, the Abrewatia of Sakyibea Royal family also nominated Nana Kese as Paramount Chief.
This chieftaincy dispute led to several clashes and destruction of properties in Akropong.
Lilian Nana Agyemang who is the Abrewatia of the Sakyibea Royal family petitioned the Regional House Chiefs challenging the traditional capacity of the Paramount Queen-mother in selecting and installing Odehye Kwasi Akufo as Okupemhene.
Delivering the landmark judgement Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Eastern Regional House of Chief upheld that selection of a legible royal to be enstooled as Paramount Chief is the prerogative of the Abrewatia of the ruling family whose turn it is to select a candidate and submit the name of the chosen royal to Asonahene to be sent to the Queen-mother.
The House upheld that the Queen-mother failed to provide evidence that Odehye Kwasi Akufo’s name was presented to the Asonahene as tradition says.
The House also stated that in nominating a candidate, the Queen-mother alone cannot select a candidate from the Royal Family without the involvement of the Abrewatia, adding that the involvement of the Abrewatia and the elderly female is an aged-custom which does not take away the powers of the Queen-mother in presenting the candidate to the Kingmakers.
Therefore the instalment of Odehye Kwasi Akufo is null and void with no traditional effect hence due processes must be followed in enstooling an Okuapemhene.
The Regional House of Chiefs awarded Ghc25,000 cost against the Queen-mother.
The judgement was delivered amid tight security of armed Police and Military Personnel at the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs and Akropong township. The security personnel deployed from Accra are to maintain presence at Akropong and its surrounding areas.
History suggests that processes of enstooling a paramount Chief whenever the stool is vacant has never been smooth in the last 100 years.