Friday, February 2, 2007
Nii Amugi was a great leader
HOUSES OF CHIEFS
“Thou turnest man back to the dust and sayest
Turn back, O children of man!
For a thousand years in the sight
Are but as yesterday when it is past,
Or as a watch in the night”.
– Psalm 90: 3, 4
Nii Amugi II, known in private life as Simeon Yarboi Yartey, from the Amugi We clan and the Abola division of the Ga Traditional Area was enstooled as Ga Mantse on March 20, 1965.
He was elected President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs for two successive terms, from November 1, 1989 to December 31, 1995 during which he became an automatic member of the Standing Committee of the National House of Chiefs, an executive body of the House.
Nii Amugi II ably served on several judicial committees of the House. Having exhibited outstanding qualities on these committees, he was from time to time appointed to serve on special committees of the House. Among the committees on which he served was the Stool and skin Lands Committee, which dealt with land matters in the country.
It is gratifying to note that Nii Amugi II contributed immensely to improve in the chieftaincy institution and exhibited a deep sense of sobriety. He was punctual at meetings and his contributions during debates of the House were very lively.
Indeed, the chieftaincy institution has lost a pearl through the death of its illustrious Paramount Chief, Nii Amugi II, and Nananom of the National House of Chiefs mourn with the bereaved royal family and the good people of the Ga Traditional Area.
GA ADANGME COUNCIL
GA Dangme mourns an illustrious leader. Ascending the stool in 1965, Boni Nii Amugi II managed the difficult affairs of the people of the Ga State with skill, firmness, humility and charm. His consuming passion was the welfare of the people. Even when his health was failing, his chief concern was the just demands of his people and the protection of their birthright.
The Ga State is not an easy one to manage and its customs and usages are understandably in a state of temporary flux, thus exacerbating the problems of its genuine leaders.
Nii, an astute manager, provided the necessary leadership with distinction and when his health prevented him from discharging his duties effectively, he arranged for the appointment of an acting head of the Ga Traditional Council for the management of the affairs of the Ga State.
Nii Amugi was not only interested in the Ga State but was also a proud Ghanaian who keenly promoted the interests of his country. He demanded justice for his people and Ga-Dangmes in general because he believed that they had a unique contribution to make to the human capital and the cultural heritage, in its diverse forms, of a united Ghana.
In August 1970, he varied his personal plans of the Homowo festival so that his accomplished drummer could participate in the Ghana Ulster Week in Switzerland. Ghanaian drums reverberated through Uster to the delight of the Swiss, Nii Amugi was exceedingly pleased to hear of the excellent performance of his drummers. He remarked that they made him and Ghana proud.
This is the man to whom we bid farewell today! A man of sublime Ga-Dangme confidence, A proud Ghanaian!
Boni Nii, Rest in Peace.
ASANTEHENE OTUMFUO OSEI TUTU II
HERE lie the remains of a great friend whom I have grown to know as gentle, modest, humble, kind, wise and affable.
Unknown to many people, the late Nii Amugi and I became friends in the 1970s when I was a student at the Institute of Professional Studies, at Legon in Accra. We got very close because I was an Accounting profession.
We maintained our relationship when he moved to live at Alajo, and later when he moved to the Ghana Mantse’s Palace. When I returned from my studies and work abroad, I kept our relationship going until I ascended the Golden Stool of Asante. I visited him regularly whenever I was in Accra, and I made my visits more regular, particularly when he became ill.
Whether in the hospital or at home, we maintained our link out of the glare of the public. I am glad to have known Nii Amugi and his family.
By his departure, the Ga people have lost a great leader, I have personally lost a friend, and Ghana as a country has lost a wise Traditional Ruler. Between me and the late Nii Amugi, we shared the conviction that we are all one people with a common national destiny.
I pray to the Almighty God that as Nii Amugi goes home, we shall preserve the warm relationship that we established between the two traditional systems of the Ga State and the Asante Kingdom. I pray further that Nii Amugi’s patience and modesty will be emulated by his successor, and that we shall continue to strengthen the relationship that exists between Asantes and Gas, for the betterment and in the common interest of all Ghanaians.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene.
FORMER PRESIDENT JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS
IT is with a heavy heart that one received and accepted that sad news of the untimely passing away of the late Boni Nii Amugi II, Ga Mantse, who ruled his subjects in the Ga State for about four decades.
Nii Amugi was enstooled as the foremost Chief of the Gas soon after our country achieved political independence from over a century of colonial rule. It was a novel dispensation which inter alia undermined the sovereignty, integrity and usefulness of traditional rule generally in Ghana.
Although the challenge that it brought to the leadership of the Ga State was not easily discernible at the time, the rapid cosmopolitan, competing alien governance structure and the rapid change in the cosmopolitan nature of the capital soon made it clear to the Ga Dangme ethnic group that it was to bear, in the frontline, the brunt of the attack on its traditions, culture and way of life.
But, with the advantage of youth and innate traditional wisdom, Nii Amugi 11 held the Ga State under his rule together as the united defenders of all that is good in being a Ga until his death.
It was in this noble and committed role that I came to know, respect and appreciate the leadership qualities of Nii Amugi II. As a responsible and forward-looking chief, he brought his state and authority in support of central government and proffered valued advice and guidance on how to tackle the myriad of problems that had engulfed our motherland barely a decade and a half after independence.
His affable and gentlemen manner of contributing his share of responsibility made his pieces of advice all the more reassuring. Besides, his personal integrity and transparency in public life made him an icon in our dear country back from the brink of disaster.
His contributions as the President of the Greater Accra Regional House of Chiefs were held in high repute by his colleagues, particularly as he was firm, honest and transparent in the leadership of the House. I have no doubt that he will be sorely missed in this leadership position.
As we mourn this illustrious leader, it is my personal hope and prayer that his life, beliefs and achievements will continue to provide guidance to royalty and the rest of us to ensure survival of traditions, customs and governance throughout Ghana.
On behalf of my wife and myself, I wish to convey sincere condolence to his family as well as the Ga State for the great loss that they have sustained.
May Nii Amugi peacefully join the spirits of our ancestors to watch over the Ga State and Ghana generally in the years ahead.
Farewell our beloved Chief, Yaawo Odzogbann! – Amen.
“EVEN though the fig trees have no fruit and no grape grows on the vines; Even though the olive-crop fails and the fields produce no corn; even though the sheep all die and the cattle ranches are empty, I will still be joyful and glad, because the Lord God is my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord gives me strength. He makes me sure-footed as a deer, and keeps me safe on the Mountains”, - Habakkuk 3: 17 – 19.
It is with a heavy heart and deep sorrow that I dedicate this solemn tribute to my beloved husband, who I consider one of the greatest gifts from the Almighty God as a helpmate.
Nii, as I affectionately called him, had been my friend, my brother and my loving husband all these years. I am grateful to God for bringing him into my life. The almighty God joined us together as a family, and we did everything as helpmates. We loved each other; we cared for everyone who came our way. Nii, or Daa, as we also called you, we rejoice that you are safe in the Lord and that He gives us immeasurable solace.
Indeed, God is our refuge and strength and an ever-present help, the source of every mercy and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. We will always trust in Him and be grateful to Him.
Nii of Daa, God has chosen to give you rest from your toils, pains and long labour. Daa all things work together for the good of those who love God. You should have stayed longer to accomplish your purpose on earth, but the Lord says, “My ways are not your ways neither are your thoughts my thoughts”.
Daa, I loved you and would have wished you to stay with us longer, but God loves you most and wants you for higher services. So we cannot dispute his call to you to His glory and honour.
“They who tread the path of labour follow where my feet have trod; They who work without complaining do the holy will of God; Nevermore thou neediest seek me; I am with thee everywhere. Raise the stone and thou shalt find me; Cleave the wood and I am there. MHB – 601, AMEN.
GA TRADITIONAL COUNCIL
YOUNG Nii Yarboi Yartey was blissfully enstooled Soosey Nii Amugi II at an age when most young people were expected to enjoy their youthful years in leisure and in a carefree atmosphere. The implications of the event did not become obvious for years. In his case, all that was left unchanged was an appreciable idiosyncratic brilliance, and a natural talent in organ rendition of church music of all sorts. Little else remained the same.
Nii Amugi II had the distinction of ruling the Ga State for a period, which incorporated all the post-independence political leaders and governments of the nation, from Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah to our present President, H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor. This period was not without its difficulties for Nii Amugi.
At the time of his taking office, the CPP government had made it clear that chieftaincy governance was not a priority for Ghana in the effort to build the industrial base for the development of the national economy.
The second part of the twin policy priority was the building of linkages with African States to make Ghana’s independence meaningful and secure. Therefore, the internal problems of the role of chiefs in our politics were of relatively low significance. Yet, chiefs who attempted to rise above their station in whatever way were swiftly brought to book and severely checked. Such was the fate of Nii Tackie Kome II who was not favoured by the Nkrumah regime, and had to be destooled because of some misgivings that he had with his own Dsase.
In such a climate, and with the requisite dependence on the government to stay in office, Nii Amugi quickly had to adopt a posture of political sensitivity and a sensible balance in his public dealings and to endeavour to chart a course that did not conflict with the government’s expectations of him even though he was not to be partisan in serving his people.
Although Nii Amugi was essentially modest in his disposition, he was also known to be formidable in protecting the traditional values of the Ga people with which he was at the time becoming very closely acquainted. He therefore did what in his judgment was in the best interests of his people rather than extend too far his personal choices in policy formulation.
Nii Amugi grew rapidly in wisdom and stature, and overcame all the disadvantages that accompanied the many political changes in our country. He assumed the presidency of the Ga Traditional Council when most of the principal chiefs under him were older and more mature than himself. He turned the situation to his advantage by gainfully learning from them, and by implementing all the customary nuances that they had to offer.
In the fullness of time, Nii Amugi gained the confidence of his colleagues. With acquired experience, he gave a new from and authority to the reorganized council, and despite attempts by some to undermine its unity, Nii Amugi was steadfast and vigilant in holding all its salient ends together during his 39 years in office.
The valued king in his middle ages had become acknowledged for his wise counsel and for his efforts at all times to prevent his colleague chiefs from venturing into the uncertain political minefield of that era. He suppressed confrontation with some recalcitrant Wulomei who attempted to undermine the established customary order. Those who underestimated his judgement did so at their peril and suffered gravely as a consequence. When asked about such people Nii Amugi kept mainly silent over the attendant controversies.
At the national level, Nii Amugi was made a member of the National House of Chiefs. He admirably represented the national cultural interest with some relish. Even at that early stage, he developed an urgent sense of environmental planning and careful implementation of the same.
Nii Amugi faced the challenges that confronted Accra, which were brought about by the drift of large numbers of the population from the interior of our country to Accra. The cosmopolitan centre that Accra had become, caused distressing rifts in the cultural adjustments, which had to be made by the guests of the Gas, as required by the host State. Despite the differences, Nii Amugi remained doggedly loyal to the interest of national unity and growth. He stuck to his noble reputation for probity and adherence to our traditions. However, ruling over a population strength, which had been in excess of three million Ghanaians, in the end, was not an easy task.
The political changes of the era did not help either. Without his rigid discipline, he could not have refused the enticement into the populist politics of the military regimes that followed the wobbling civilian political ruler-ship which only lasted to short periods of time. He also refused to be cowed by the crusty authoritarianism and the general military meddling that blighted the growth of the country. He clearly preferred and kept an active supportive hope for a stronger democratic government for Ghana.
Nii Amugi was once the President of the Accra Town Council and, during his tenure of office, had the opportunity to give expression to some of his views on culture. He had great difficulty giving reception to those who in society persistently clamoured for changes in our traditions and ways of life by proposing other values, without first making an ample effort to understand clearly the fundamental conditions that underpin our traditional base.
The respected monarch persevered in his management of his state and cultivated relationships with both the central government and the other traditional authorities, while searching for ways of making traditional ruler-ship meaningful and relevant to our political realities.
Unfortunately, his health was rented by a debilitating illness over a long period and he had to delegate his responsibilities of office first to the late Asere Mantse, Nii Nikoi Olai Amontia IV, and later to the Sempe Mantse, Nii Odote Obour II, who with rock solid determination had steered the affairs of the Traditional Council over the past few years.
During the many years that they ruled together, Nii Amugi shared an intimate friendship with Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, the late Asantehene, and through him developed an equally close bond between himself and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II. When told of the passing away of Nii Amugi, Otumfuo said that he had lost a very personal friend and also that the Asante Kingdom has lost a great ally who had been a generous host to many children and our nation.
We mourn the passing away of the humble and modest Nii Amugi II who devoted his entire youth and life to the Ga State. He would be remembered as a dignified King who kept the memories of his life’s changing circumstances very close to his chest. He led an untainted life and was always serious, smart and hard-working right to the end. Optimism was the characteristic charisma that articulated his very promise of hope that in the long run all things would be well for us Ghanaians.
We shall always remember him, for it is difficult not to be impressed by his accomplishments. May the earth rest lightly on him, and may the peace that he wished for the people of Ghana be his in death. – Amen.
Daily Graphic - Friday, February 2, 2007 Page: 9