THE STORY OF YEJI
KNOW THE ORIGIN OF TOWNS
Kwame Ampene (Founder of the guan Historical Society)
THE Yeji Traditional Area is about 48 kilometres north of Atebubu in Brong Ahafo Region and it occupies the lands between the Pra and Volta Rivers suitable for both tilling and human habitation. The capital of the State is Yeji town located about 2kilometres from the bank of the volta which forms the natural boundary between Yeji and East Gonja District of Salaga.
The founding of the State is attributed to the coming together of six different groups of Guan origin, comprising Kakyinpoh, Kadue, Kpekpase, Yajawu, Kpekpa and Gherepo, while the two Akan groups namely Kroboban and Kojo Bofuor emigrated from Jukwa near cape coast and Santeman near Bekwai respectively. The two Akan groups had since adopted the custom and language of the dominant Nchumuru-Guan group.
The KAKYINPOH: Other remote Sources of tradition disclosed that the Kakyinpoh were in the company the Nkonya Wurupong and the Krachi from Larteh. At an earlier stage of the Journey; the Wurupongs crossed the Volta opposite the present village of Nkrofena. Later the Krachis broke off and crossed the Volta to their present location. However, the Kaakyinpoh continued the journey north-westwards till they reached Dwan area where they stayed for thirty years, before they packed bag and baggage for fertile lands.
Upon their arrival at the west bank of the Volta, the chief of Krokoban in his capacity as the Asasewura (Landlord) instructed then to settle under the Kakyinpoh-tree at the centre of the town. Hence their name derived from the kakyinpoh-tree. The Krokoban group claim to have been on the land for about fifteen years before he Kakyinpoh arrived.
Later, the Kakyinpoh rejected the proposed site complaining that they were exposed to Asante attacks from the south. Consequently, they crossed the Volta and stayed among the Gonja dwellers. Soon they came to realize that they were worse off among the Gonja than they were under the Kakyinpoh tree, because the Gonjas sold them into slavery. They reported their awful plight to the Asasewura in their native tongue saying: “befe na bagyi”,lit. “They sell us and make use of the money”. This word “bagyi” or “baji” was later corrupted to YEJI.
The KADUE: Division emigrated from Larteh, led by Kwami Peni; they journeyed across the Afram Plains and later settled in the Sene-Pra basin. Owing to perennial shortage of water they parted company with the Kakyinpoh near the Tangera stream, and proceeded to occupy the land at kojo Bofuor by which the town has since been known.
The KPEKPA division migrated from Larteh and Passed through Takyiman and Nkoranza, they came to Kakyinpowu near Kwame Danso before moving to their present location.
The CHEREPO division: the founding fathers migrated from Kyerepon apirede in akuapem under the leadership of Nana Kpombo and moved northwest – wards to settle at Siafu. The Kakyinpoh tradition indicate that the CHEREPO came ahead of them to join the Nchumuru community at Cumpu under king Kentenku who was a despol. This compelled them to move northwards to occupy the lands between the confluence of Pra and Volta rivers, and founded three towns – ayimaye, Konkose and Cheropo, the royal town, corrupted from the ancestral name KYEREPON. They have been affected by the Volta River Scheme.
The Kakyinpoh divison holds the position of paramountcy within the Yeji Tradition al Area. But in ancient times; the KROKKOBAN chief (the Asasewura) was regarded as more than a primus inter pares. (First amongst equals) which he may already have been; he was the Asasewura (landlord) and settled affairs and disputes among the inhabitants at Yeji.
The story is that in 1894, George E. Ferguson (of a Scottish father and a Fante mother, acting as Agent of the then Gold Coast Government), requested that a Treaty of Friendship and Freedom of Trade be signed with the chiefs on the East and West banks of the Volta at Salaga. It is alleged that the Krobobanwura (ie. The Asasewura) Nana Kwame Boakye, could not attend the meeting in person due to old age; he therefore asked the chief of Yeji together with his chief Lindquist to represent him.
The Yejiwura, instead of signing the Treaty on behalf of his superior head, signed on his own behalf. Since then the Yejiwura has been regarded by the authorities as constitutional head of the Yeji State.
In the late 1930s, there was a protracted litigation about this matter till 1957 when the Ghana Government officially recognized the Yejiwura and simultaneously promoted him to the rank of a Paramount Chief. Thus, the Yejiwura was made the Omanhene of all Yeji.
Those of us who study the complex history of Yeji are grateful for the scholarship of the early Research Assistants of the institute of African Studies, Legon-Messrs J.K. Kum (“Yehi Traditions” 1966) and P. K. fordjuo (“Muths and Traditions of Yeji”, 1967).
They left a treasure of ethnographic information.
The Spectator Page:9 Saturday, March 5, 2011