Response to a statement written by Richard Yinbil Sunday, Secretary to the Tongraan

The Chief of Namoalug, Nab Kolsong Na-Laam Nyuurib

After reading the statement by one Mr. Sunday, it gave me a good understanding of why the Starr FM reporter titled his article ‘your misinformation is likely to mislead the public’. The fears of the Nayiri which was expressed in the story has become a reality in this statement. Given the overwhelming number of inaccurate points made in his statement, it is difficult for one with facts to stay silent. So, to respond to the unfortunate display of ignorance, I summarized Mr. Sunday’s statement into seven main topics, and my response is structured accordingly.

1. The Starr FM Story

Mr. Sunday states that the report by Edward Adeti is a fabrication, untrue and a misrepresentation of the reality. I wish to state that if anything at all, the story is rather an *understatement of the reality*. Mr. Sunday is forgetting that these letters in the story are public records, given that the Tongrana copied the Regional Police Commander, the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs, the Regional Minister and the DCE for Talensi in it. In the same light, the Overlord of Mamprugu copied these public institutions in his reply to the Tongrana. So, how is the story a fabricated one? Is Mr. Sunday saying the letters were never written? Or, is he of the opinion that the reporter misinterpreted the letters? Irrespective of his reason, I believe readers should have the opportunity to judge for themselves if Mr. Adeti’s publication was a fabrication after they have read the 2 letters attached as appendix 1 and 2. Also, if Mr. Sunday claims the story is fabricated, then why did the Tongrana ask for other prominent people to escort him to Nalerigu and help him apologise to the Overlord for writing the said petition? Is Mr. Sunday saying he has no knowledge of this, or is this one also fabricated?

2. Status of the Namoalug Skin

In his statement, Mr Sunday kept referring to the Namoalug Skin as one with a sub-divisional status. For this statement to be made by the supposed secretary of the Talensi Traditional Council is a shock and a disgrace to the noble institution. This is because the Namoalug Skin is of a Divisional status as shown in appendix 3. This is evidence that the previous Namoalug Chief was gazetted in 2012 as a Divisional Chief with registration no. NHC 793. Mr Sunday is ignorant of this fact and in his ignorance, he is insulting the integrity of the Nayiri and the House of Chiefs, labelling them incompetent for gazetting the Namoalug Skin as Divisional. The confidence with which he displays this ignorance puts me at a loss on who determines the status of a Namoalug Chief in Taleng Teng, or is Mr Sunday suggesting that this is also part of the supposed unquestionable authority of his team? Furthermore, Mr Sunday mentioned that Namoalug cannot count even 10 past chiefs, to educate him on that is a table attached as appendix 4. This table is an extract of a letter written by the Nayiri to the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs on the 25th of February 2019 with reference number MTC/P27/S2/183, listing 15 Namoalug Chiefs enskinned by the Nayiri. These factual inaccuracies presented by Mr Sunday who is supposed to be the mouthpiece of the Traditional council paints a bad picture for this noble council.

3. Namoalnab’s Respect for Tongrana

Jumping to a straight conclusion, Mr. Sunday said that Namoalnab “did not want to pay homage to the Tongrana because his installation is performed by a nominated elder of the Nayiri”. Tongrana made a similar statement before the Nayiri in one of the several meetings. However, the Namoalug elders present at the meeting were quick to point out that Namoalnab, after his enskinment, called the Tongrana to tell him that he was sending a delegation of his elders to Tongrana’s palace so that they greet him. They recalled that the Tongrana refused to accept the greetings from his brother. When asked by the Nayiri if this was true, the Tongrana explained that he refused to accept the greeting because he heard that the people of Namoalug, in celebration of their newly enskinned chief, insulted him when they got to Tongo. The Nayiri then asked the Tongrana if he will forget everything and accept the Namoalnab’s greetings upon his return from that meeting so that they ‘drink water’ (resolve their differences) as brothers. Tongrana replied saying: “Yes, My Lord. Who am I to say No! But that will rest with the Namoalnab”. The Nayiri then asked that Namoalnab should for the second time approach the Tongorana. This was what led to Namoalnab’s visit to the Tongrana’s Palace to go so that they resolve their differences as brothers. This came with a very strange request from the Tongrana who asked for Namoalnab to bring a cow and a ram so that he could sacrifice them to his ancestor and cement the peace Namoalnab wanted them to forge. The Namoalnab did this in good faith since he had already planned to go with a ram as a gift to the Tongrana.

On the day of Namoalnab’s visit, the Tongrana brought up the issue of Namoalug people insulting him and said for him to let that issue go, so they could resolve their differences, Namoalnab should pay 2,000 Ghana cedis. Although many people, including some elders of the Nayiri, thought this was an absurd request, the Namoalnab maintained that he would give Tongrana the 2,000 Ghana cedis since it was nowhere near the worth of the peace and unity he craved for. It is, therefore, shocking that Mr. Sunday has weaponized these incidents as a means to belittle the Namoalnab. He blatantly lies that Namoalnab was slapped with fines. Will Mr. Sunday be confident enough to say this before the Nayiri that Tongrana slapped Namoalnab with these fines when they asked them to resolve their differences as brothers? Mr. Sunday should know that he could be held accountable for these words before the Overlord. However, it is sad to realize that Mr. Sunday sees Namoalnab’s fulfilment of Tongrana’s superfluous request for the sake of peace and unity as a sign of weakness. This view held by Mr. Sunday rather gives a clear impression of his values.

4. The Shearana Enskinning Namoalug

Interestingly, Mr Sunday mentioned that, “it is also on record that the Namoalug Chief was in the time past enskinned by the Sheaga Chief…”. I dare him to produce that record! I, on the other hand, will not wait for him to dare me to produce a counter record, because I have attached it as appendix 5. This is minutes from the Nayiri dated 25th March 1985 with reference number NTC/G.10/SF.2/VOL.2/4. This minutes covers a meeting at the Nayiri between the then Tongrana, Shearana and Namoalug Regent on the issue of who has the right to enskin Namoalug. On page 3, paragraph one of this document Shearana Gibasi was quizzed on Mr Sunday’s assertion, it reads; “… a question by the Kpanarana as to whether in this life time he (Shea-Rana) has ever heard or seen a Shea-Rana enskinning a chief for Namoaligu, the Shea-Rana replied in the Negative.”

Again, on page 3, paragraph two the reigning Overlord Naa Adam Badimsugru passed his Judgement on the issue. It reads— “JUDGEMENT: Both Tongo-Rana and Shea-Rana jointly and severally confessed and declared that: (a) It is neither Tong-Rana nor the Shea-Rana who enskins a chief for Namoaligu. (b) It is the Nayiri who nominates a suitable candidate from amongst the princes of Namoaligu for the Chiefship. (c) It is the Nayiri who provides a fez, white gown, a pair of sandals and a round leather pillow to Sakpari and Mang-Rana who take then to Namoaligu village for the enskinment as custom demand. (c) The Tongo-Rana being the divisional chief of the area is informed before and after the enskinment of a Namoaligu Chief who is regarded by the Tongo-Rana as his junior brother and a father of Shea-Rana. (d) The Namoaligu-Naba owes direct traditional allegiance to the Nayiri”. This judgement should tell Mr Sunday that as far back as 1985 this misinformation was squashed by the Nayiri. So, for him to raise this in 2020 shows his overwhelming level of illiteracy on the Namoalug chieftaincy affairs.

5. Enskinment by a Nominated Elder

A serpentine statement was made by Mr Sunday when he claimed that the Namoalnab is enskinned by a nominated elder of Nayiri and I wish to address that too. The Namoalnab can never see the Overlord of Mamprugu eye-to-eye nor his house after he is enskinned, unlike Tongrana who has been summoned there on countless occasions. Hence, common sense should tell one that, for the reason mentioned above, the Overlord himself can neither perform the final enskinment rites of the Namoalnab nor witness it. It is for this sacred traditional reason the Overlord of Mamprugu selects his preferred candidate at night and hands over his materials for enskinment to Mba Sakpari (an elder and chief at the Nayiri) to perform the final enskinment rites the next morning. This process of enskinning the Namoalnab has been mistaken by some as a basis to claim that Namoalnab is not enskinned by the Nayiri. Mba Taraana (also an elder and chief at the Nayiri) once mentioned that, if the Tongrana thinks because Mba Sakpari puts the Fez on Namoalnab it implies the Namoalug Chieftaincy is not from the Nayiri, then what about Tongrana himself? After all, the Overlord himself does not put the Fez on the Tongrana, this is done by him (Mba Taraana). So, does that mean Tongrana’s chieftaincy is also not from the Nayiri? This is a simple logic I wish Mr Sunday would understand.

Also, I called Mr Sunday’s statement ‘serpentine’ because on the 21st April 2020, just a few weeks ago, Mr Sunday was privileged to be in a meeting at the Nayiri where this very issue was explained to the Tongrana in the presence of the Bonaba and Namoalug elders. In that meeting, the Nayiri schooled the Tongrana on the different processes used for enskinning chiefs, including those outside Ghana. The Tongrana was told that the enskinment process of a chief depends on the historical and cultural background of their skin. Whether an enskinment is done at the forecourt of the King or elsewhere, once Nayiri selects that chief, then it is an enskinment by the Nayiri. It is therefore shocking to read this statement by Mr Sunday, especially after the Tongrana, whom he accompanied, accepted this lesson in good faith. If Mr Sunday is not deliberately disrespecting the Nayiri, then he suffers from severe memory loss.

6. Namoalug Skin is a Tinadna Skin

Every native of Taleng Teng knows who a Tinadna is and the process of selecting a Tindana. So, the question is, has Mr Sunday ever seen a Tindana been enskinned with a Fez, a gown, slippers and asked to sit on a leather pillow? It is either Mr Sunday is taking the discerning people of Taleng Teng for granted by insulting our knowledge of our own culture or he is sincerely displaying ignorance on this issue. Mr Sunday once again misguides his readers with a statement made by the Overlord. What the Nayiri said in one of the meetings is that Namoalug is the reason why Nayiri has the life/health, that enabled him to give birth to Tongrana, so how can he give ‘his Tindandam’, to his son to enskin!? Unfortunately, a shallow person who is unable to analyze statements within their context will take it on the surface and say that the Namoalug Skin is a Tindana Skin. The Overlord calls Namoalug ‘his Tindandam’ because of the special traditional role Namoalug plays at the Nayiri in keeping the peace and unity of the Kingdom. I hope Mr Sunday will humbly add this to his history and cultural lessons.

7. The Namoalug Skin Has Been Given to Who!?

My last point is on Mr. Sunday’s quote of the Nayiri saying: “Tongrana as you said, I have given them to you”. I am curious which material Mr. Sunday is quoting these statements from given that the elders of Namoalug have always been present at these meetings and have transcriptions of all these meetings. If I may borrow Mr. Sunday’s own words, I would say his quote is of a mischievous intent and full of exaggerations. This quote has been truncated and presented out of context. This statement came up when the Tongrana explained to the Overlord that his attempts to persuade Namoalug to be enskinned by him was to help elevate the Namoalug Skin to Paramountcy. He explained that some Paramount Chiefs who are not under the Nayiri are planning on elevating their divisional chiefs to paramountcy. In an attempt to also lift the image of the Nayiri, he Tongrana was only trying to help elevate chiefs like the Namoalug Chief and it was for that reason he asked that Namoalugo be given to him. The Nayiri then said to the Tongrana that, if that is his intention, then it is good, so he will give Namoalnab’s documents to him to forward for gazetting. After gazetting, he the Nayiri will elevate Namoalugnab to paramountcy so that the two of them will proudly represent him. It is again shocking how Mr. Sunday has attempted to manipulate the Overlord statement by quoting him out of context. However, just as it was stated in the 1985 judgment by the Nayiri, no Overlord of Mamprugu has ever said that he will give Namoalug to any other Chief. So again, I dare Mr. Sunday to provide the full material he extracted this quote from if he is willing to defend this before the Overlord of Mamprugu. This is misrepresentation at the highest level, and I would advise Mr. Sunday to eschew such acts since it could cause the entire traditional council to face humiliating traditional or legal implications.

Like my economics lecture once said, “If you can’t explain it to them, confuse them!”, this saying kept resonating as I read Mr Sunday’s statement of webbed factual inaccuracies. This response, it is to clear all the misinformation that Mr Sunday has put out there. Although the names of prominent figures like the Nayiri, Tongrana, Namoalnab and Shearan have been mentioned, this is not meant to attack any of them, their skin or authority, but to save the people of Taleng Teng and the general public from being misled by an individual’s incompetence. I hope Mr Sunday takes this education seriously because he stated that he wanted to set the record straight. Unfortunately, he approached the straightening process with crooked facts. It is, therefore, my humble appeal to Mr Sunday, to use this experience and his position as secretary of the council to push for the setup of a research committee. This will save him and the traditional council from these sorts of disgrace in the future. I also hope he considers in his subconscious, that his position as secretary of the traditional council is a sensitive one. That way, anytime he is asked to write on behalf of the traditional council, he will ensure he does that with the highest level of integrity.

May God bless our Chiefs and people! May God bring prosperity to Taleng Teng! Long live Nayiri, long live Tongrana and long live Namoalnab. May we live to see their positive impact on Taleng Teng.

By Abraham Bakelong Bugre, A son of Taleng Teng – 0271023623

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