The youth of Nantong in the Northern region have used trunks, heavy stems and rocks to setup dozens of barricades on the dusty Tamale -Karaga – Gushegu road and using the blockade as checkpoints to obstruct motorists and road users, as part of their continuing protest challenging the decision of Dagbon overlord, Yaa-Naa Abukari Mahama II, to select Voo – Naa Mahamadu Bawa as new chief of the area.
The roadblocks erected on Monday, the second day of their protest to prevent the Yaa- Naa’s appointee and his supporters from accessing the community, are used by the youth to inspect vehicles and search passengers traveling through the community.
The town is resisting the selection of chief of Voggu in Kumbungu, Honorable Muhammadu Baba Bawa, as the new chief of the Nantong on Sunday by the King of Dagbon, following the successful performance of funeral rites of the late chief, Naa Sulley Alhassan who died in 2016 after ruling the the area since 1987.
The now disputed Nanton Naa was part of some over 22 candidates lobbying for the Nanton kingship and they all arrived at the Gbewa Palace on Sunday, March 31, to hear the final determination of their fate by the Yaa Naa.
Other notably contestants were, Chief of Banvum in Tamale, Chief of Zoosali and the Regent of Nantong. After the Yaa Naa selected Voo – Naa Bawah, the youth of the town expressed their disapproval by rampaging through the community, burning tyres and hacking down sitting pavilions.
The town was expecting the Yaa Naa to appoint its favourite, chief of Zoosali, Naa Haruna Sulemana Tia, a former northern regional chairman of the NPP, as the new chief of the Abudus dominated community.
Zoosali Naa Haruna Tia has since been into the community by the youth who are now threatening to harm the Yaa Naa’ appointee if he stepped foot into the town. All access routes leading through and to the Nanton town are now manned by well armed youth.
“If they use force to bring him(Voo Naa) to Nantong, we will also use force to evacuate him from Nantong”, an angry rioter at one of the checkpoints told StarrNews.
“Right now that I’m talking, there is no house in Nantong who are ready to contain him. Nobody is ready to accept him in his house. He doesn’t have any house in Nantong, he doesn’t any family and he never has any links in Nantong here. This Zoosali Lana has helped us a lot: He brought portable water for us to drink, when our road become s state where you can’t use it, he used his own money to fund its construction”.
“So this Voo-Naa you are bringing, he is our enemy! He is also from the Andani Family, and from the beginning they told us that, no Andani a King of Abudus gate and they are trying to do that today. So, I want to tell the Yaa Naa that is our King, we accept him as our leader, but he’s chewing at the wrong side of his mouth. We don’t the person he has chose for us. We are not fighting with the Yaa Naa, we are fighting with anybody. What we want is the Zoosali Lana to be our king of Nantong”.
The development presents the first litmus test for the young administration of Yaa Naa Abukari Mahama, a former chief of Savelugu who was installed the overlord of Dagbon just months ago through a never-easy efforts of an Eminent Committee.
The outcome of this fierce resistance and agitations against the decision of the Yaa – Naa by the Nantong youth will mark a significant turning point in the reign of the new Dagbon overlord.
One cheiftaincy expert, who refused to named for now, said: “we are waiting to see if this government will want to treat the Yaa Naa is its puppet. It will be difficult for the NPP to tell their former chairman to respect the Yaa Naa’s decision”.
Since Sunday night when the protest begun, security forces are yet to deployed to new district capital.
An assemblyman who only gave his name as Tanko said, authorities should listen to the protesting youth to avoid bloodshed and violence in the area.
Voo- Naa Bawa was the regent of Savelugu between 1997 -2000, from where he moved to become the chief of Kpano, a small ancient village in the Savelugu traditional area, and ruled for 12yrs.
In 2012, Naa Bawah became the chief of Voggu, and he ruled the Kumbungu village until his appointment as Nanton Naa. He was a Member of Council of State representing Northern region between 2009 -2017 under former president Mahama.
As a bona-fide member of the Andani Royal Family, Naa M. B. Bawah was the spokesperson of the Family at the Manhyia Mediation Committee which mediated the infamous Dagbon crises.
A graduate of the University of Education, Winneba, Naa Bawah is an educationist by profession and he sits on many cooperate boards in the country.