THE STORY OF AJUMAKO
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
By: Kwame Ampene
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
AJUMAKO is the capital town of Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam District in the Central Region. A prominent citizen of Ajumako, the late Mr. Wilson, the traditional historian, had this to say about the early history of Ajumako:
Legend has it that, at a time not specifically indicated an industrious farmer by name Agya Kwesi settled at the present site of Ajumako, then uninhabited. He earned a living by dint of hard work on his farm. He was also intrepid and could penetrate deep into the dense forest,
Each day passers-by would greet him saying: “Agya Kwesi, “adwuma adwuma oo!”(a salutation to a person at work), and the evasive answer is Adwuma ye oko!” meaning literally “labour is warfare”. Thus the expression Adwuma ye oko” became corrupted into ADWUMAKO, anglicized AJUMAKO.
Later, migrant farmers came to augment his labour force , and the settlement further acquired the name EFUWA ADWUMAKO, because the name EFUWA in simple language means “nnipa mfuwa mfuwa”, i.e. individuals who have gathered (for profitable venture). Definitely, Efuwa Ajumako could not be the same as Gomoa Efuwa-Ajumako in the Gomoa state where one of the children of Gomoawa called Assan had two children, namely Mensah and Efuwa, the latter found Gomoa Efuwa Ajumako
Be that as it may, at the time Agya Kwesi‘s settlement was rapidly expanding the Asamanhene, Nana Amankwah Edua was the principal ruler on the land as the saying goes “if you go to Ajumako, ask of Amankwa Edua, the undisputed owner of the state”. (Twi: Woko Ajumako a bias Amankwah Edua, Amankwah Edua na oman no wo no”) this is indicative of the universality of the power wielded by the owner of the land.
His capital town was ASAMAN. The name of the town is derived from the expression “Ese Oman”. Translated literally, this means “it merits a state”
That this is so cannot be denied as a visitor in the person of Twum Ampofo of the Ekuona clan from Adanse Fomena came to Ajumako and sought permission to settle on the land. Consequently, Safohin Kwesi Ajumako led him to Asaman to greet the overlord, Nana Amankwah Edua, who expressed profound joy for meeting his clan-brother and directed him to stay Amanfopon.
The available evidence indicates that Twum-Ampofo, being very industrious, soon amassed great wealth. He was succeeded by his nephew, Kobina Hama who in turn was followed by Kwame Apea, in whose time the coastal states were being eclipsed by the rising power of the king of Asante, Osei-Bonsu Panyin (1800-1824).
On one occasion the king mounted a formidable expedition against the coastal states including Asaman in 1811. They could not stand against the swarming Asante warriors and therefore, begged for peace. Peace terms were arranged and the coastal tribes affected were asked to pay war indemnity to the Asante nation. Each state was to pay war debt amounting to Forty Mpreguan (One Mpreguan was an amount of gold dust equal to £8.2s4d).
On the first two occasions, Nana Asamanhene made prompt payment; however on the third occasion, he was unable to meet the demand. He, therefore, approached his good friend, Kwame Apea, and entreated him to pay the amount on his behalf. He pledged the State Sword as security for the loan. Being fully satisfied with the promises made by the Asamanhene the amount requested was granted by Kwame Apea, hence their friendship became promising.
Later the Asantehene having been conversant with the fact that one person alone could produce” forty mpreguan” without hesitation honoured the redeemer with the laudatory name: Aduanan Apea, i.e. Apea who commands forty!
Unfortunately Asamanhene became insolvent and was unable to redeem the State Sword at the stipulated time. In consequent, Aduanan Apea, a very distinguished, forceful and wealthy citizen took a decisive step and moved to Efuwah Ajumako with the State Sword and became a monarch and its satellite towns and villages from that time to this day. in fact traditions speak about Aduanan Apea as if he had lived yesterday!
Today, Ajumako state emblem is a native stool surmounted by an elephant and the reindeer guarding the State Sword. The morale of the emblem is that in spite of the huge proportions of the elephant, the reindeer is the forest (see” State Emblem of the Gold Coast”. D.A Sutherland, 1952p.19).
Prior to the demarcation of the boundaries determining the Ajumako–Enyan–Essiam District, the Odoben and Brakwa played distinguished role in the Ajumako Traditional set-up: Odoben (Benkum Wing). Brakwa (Nifa), Appiah Ajumako (Nkyidom), Kokoben (Gyaase), Ajumako (Ankobea).Beseasi (Adonten), Baah ((Twafo). Today Odoben and Brakwa have been relocated into Asikuma-Odoben Brakwa District.
Finally we may grateful to the late Mr. Wilson of Ajumako for being a conscientious chronicler. Apart from recording the origin and meaning of the name Ajumako, he was quite definite about the early history of the state which seeks to reconstruct the past in large measure to explain the present. All praise to him!
The Spectator Page: 31 Saturday, November 13, 2010.