The King of Gonja Kingdom in the Savannah Region, Yagbonwura Sulemana Jakpa Tuntumba Bore Essa I has died.
He died on Sunday, 5th February, 2023 in the morning at his palace at Damongo in the West Gonja municipality.
His demise was officially communicated to the general public by Registrar of the Gonja Traditional Council, Kapori Abutu who described the transition of the late King as a dark day covering the Region.
“Today, definitely, is no doubt, a dark day here in Savannah Region. As you can see and the whole matter happened around 2:30am on the 5th of February, 2023 when we witnessed the demise of our great King, Professor Tuntumba Bore Essa I. And at the moment, everything has given way for the customs and tradition of Gonja to function very well”, he indicated.
Mr. Abutu said the date for the funeral would be determined after all the customary rites have been performed.
“And all things being equal, the King would be given a peaceful resting place in the shortest possible days”, he stated.
The 90-year-old late King, was born on 3rd January, 1933 and was the third born among many other siblings.
He was a professional Carpenter. His journey to the Yagbon’s skin started in the year 1996 when he was first enskinned as a sub chief (Saalawura), under the Yapei skin in the Central Gonja District. Shortly after that, he was promoted to the Yapei’s skin by Yagonwura Bawa Doshie of blessed memory as Chief of Yapei in 2006.
From the Yapei’s skin ,Yagbonwura Tuntumba Bore Essa I spent one year on that skin and moved straight to the Kusawgu in 2007 as the Paramount Chief of that traditional area, joining four other paramountcies like; Tuwluwe, Wasipe, Bole and Kpembe for qualification to migrate to the Yagbon’s skin.
Little did he know that the mantle of Yagbonwura would come calling on him sooner than later.
He succeeded Yagbonwura Bawa Doshie because the candidate next in line was Tuluwewura Afin Nnase who was indisposed. This paved the way for Kusawguwura Sulemana Jakpa to be enskinned as Yagbonwura Tuntumba Bore Essa I.
Before becoming a chief, the late Yagbonwura was a professional carpenter and seen by many as a dedicated and competent professional whose work was admired by many, leading to his inclusion in the infrastructure works that established the Saint Anne’s (West Gonja) Hospital in Damongo.
Yagbonwura Tuntumba Bore Essa I is counted as the 44th King of Gonja, starting from the year 1912 up to date.
He left behind wives, several children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Touching on his legacy, Mr. Kapori Abutu recounted two major legacies the King left behind.
“He left behind very good and strong legacies like his character of peace and all inclusion. This King, whatsoever it might be, he would work hard to ensure that there’s peace and sanity in the Region for development to take place.
And one of the things that will always remind me about the late King, is his collaboration and acceptance of decisions. He doesn’t take decisions alone. He was always for inclusion for a good decision to be taken and these are two key leadership qualities that I will miss”, Mr. Kapori Abutu stated.
When asked about some of the challenges that confronted the late King, Mr. Abutu responded, “As a peace loving person, he was able to overcome challenges just as every human being faces challenges to make him a better person in life. So, he took upon himself and worked hard and transformed the challenges to build a peaceful Kingdom”, Mr. Abutu explained.
At the Jakpa palace, JoyNews engaged some sons and daughters of the Region for their memories of the departed Overlord.
“Well, he was a father, but when you take a critical look at how our Kingdom is, you can tell that we are not safe. Why; chieftaincy problems here and there. So, I pray for Allah to receive his gentle soul”, Mannan Alidu stated.
Another resident, Karima Issifu, “look, I don’t want to mention names, but it’s an open secret and sad that about five skins here in Gonjaland are having two chiefs each Why? Because the truth is always buried, because if the men will not talk, who will talk? Me a woman”, she asked.
“As foe me, I like and know when he was in Tamale. So, at Yapwi, he was just like everyone’s Father up to Damongo here. So, he is a good man”, madam Anatu Zackaria said.
Meanwhile, the late Yagbonwura was among the three committee of eminent chiefs set up by former President John Agyekum Kufour’s administration that mediated and resolved the Dagbon skin crisis among others.
He is said to be among a few lucky Kings of Nynange whose reigns lasted for more than a decade. He was enskinned in the year 2010 and ruled till 2023 thus, 13 years.
A previous king, Yagbonwura Awusi Ewuntomah occupied the skin for 32 years from 1942 till 1975.
While one of the shortest reigns in Yagbon which lasted for one year, three months, was that of Yagbonwura Aledengi Tikperi Saaka Issah, from Wasipe at Daboya in the North Gonja district.
His reign was truncated after he fell ill 1992 and subsequently died the following year (1993).
At the Jakpa palace, all the traditional heads as far as Gonja customs and traditions are concerned, were present and busily moving up and down, putting things in place to ensure a peaceful transition of the late King.
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