THE STORY OF LIKPE
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
By: KWAME MPENE
(Founder of the Guan Historical Society)
The Likpe Traditional Area is located in the Hohoe District of the Volta Region Precisely so. The Togo ranges were chosen, first, because of the remoteness and inaccessibility In the event of their being pursued, and secondly, because of wild games and fertile hills and valleys. Linguistic characteristics tend to support the tradition that Ukpe, Santrokofi, Lolobi and Akpaafu (all of the Guan-speaking ethnic group) occupied the region long before the Ewe piecemeal migration from Notsie in Togo 1720 (vide: Cornevin. R. “Journal of African Languages” Vol. 3 pp 226-230).
The dominant inhabitants of Likpe know which towns are theirs and which are not, because the 7 1 present population is derived from three main sources.
• People whose origin is traceable to the aboriginal Guan stock, namely the Bakpale (Mate, Bata, Tankpa sub-division) and Bakwa.
• The Basin of Akan Origin that arrived in about 1786.
Tradition avers that the Likpe lands were discovered by the Bakpale; later, a section of the Gbi from Peki joined them and were settled at the northern bank of the Koloe Stream, but when the newcomers started to acquire more lands than necessary, their movements were quickly restricted. The tradition adds that as a result of the restriction on their ambition towards territorial aggrandizement, a bitter war was envisaged.
During the preparation for war, the Likpe chipped stones to be used as flint-locks; hence they were nicknamed LIKPE-AWO, meaning “Stone Chippers” which later changed to LIKPE by which the Likpe-Awo became known. They were determined on total victory; however they gave the matter a second thought in order to avoid bloodshed. So they voluntarily evacuated and moved northwards into the Togo-Atakora Range where they were settled by the aboriginal chief, Katsankla, of the Bakwa tribe.
By custom, the ‘Day of the Union’ with the Bakwa known as the LEKYAYI is celebrated annually with pomp and pageantry. The Likpes settle under able-leaders and founded new communities: Ntiri and Samba founded the Division of Takpa, now the Adonten (the Advance Guard).
Akonto and Lesiaku founded Mate, now Gyaase (Body-Guard and that of the paramount chief), while the ancient settlement of Bakwa became Benkum (Left Wing).
INFORMANT: Mensah Adzesi, founding member of the Guan Historical society.
The Spectator Page: 31 Saturday, September 11, 2010