Those who recall their West African history know that Okomfo Anokye, a powerful traditional priest played a pivotal role in the formation of the Asante Kingdom of Ghana which is 400 years this year.
In part commemoration of the event, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene last month paid a historic visit to Awukugua, the birth place of Okomfo Anokye in the Akuapim North municipality of the Eastern Region.
It was the Asantehene’s grand uncle, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I, the first Asantehene who in 1700 met Okomfo Anokye at Awukugua and later invited him to Kumasi after he became King.
The visit, which lasted a little over an hour, attracted a large crowd of residents of the area who thronged the streets to acknowledge the presence of the Asantehene, who described Okomfo Anokye as being “what has made Asanteman what it is today after 400 years of its existence”.
Accompanied by some sub-chiefs of Asante and chiefs of Okuapeman, the Asantehene visited Okomfo Anokye’s family house to see the relics of the priest, including a security stone, the room where the legendary “oware” board was kept, the Anokye Stool, the place where a palm tree was created and fell, and the place where a drum was suspended in the air.
Addressing the gathering at Awukugua, Otumfuo Osei Tutu was full of praise for Okomfo Anokye, whose migration from Awukugua to Kumasi 400 years ago helped to build the Asante Kingdom.
It was worthy, he said, to return to the roots where his late uncle and the first King of Asanteman, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I, met Okomfo Anokye to establish a long-lasting friendship.
“The meeting was therefore one of love and unity,” he stressed.
According to him, his uncle returned to Kumasi but later sent emissaries to bring Okomfo Anokye to Kumasi, where Okomfo Anokye helped Otumfuo Osei Tutu to bring together various warring states around Kumasi to establish the Asante Empire.
“This indicates that the relationship between Okuapeman and Asanteman has been existing for centuries and we share many things in common,” he stated.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu had earlier joined the chiefs and people of Okuapeman to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ascension of Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa lll as the Paramount Chief of the Akuapem Traditional Area at the forecourt of the Omanhene’s palace at Akropong Akuapem.
The anniversary attracted people from all walks of life, such as the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Antwi Bosiako-Sekyere; his deputy, Ms Mavis Frempong; the Members of Parliament for Okere and Akropong, Mr Dan Botwe and Mr William Boafo, respectively; the chiefs of Okuapeman, the Clergy and municipal chief executives of the area.
The Asantehene presented gifts, including a ram, to Oseadeeyo Addo Dankwa, whom he praised profusely for using his 40-year reign as Okuapehene to bring unity and peace on the Akuapem Ridge.
He also commended the chiefs and people of the area for showing a commitment to unity and co-existing peacefully, saying, “I am happy you understand the need to unite.”
“It is only through peace and unity that you can ensure peace and development in your area,” he said, adding that Okuapeman had, for many years, been noted as the birthplace of education and Christianity. Cocoa was brought into the country by the late Tetteh Quarshie.
“Ghanaians have a lot to be thankful to Akuapem,” he stated, and called on the chiefs and people of the area to pray for and support the paramount chief to sustain the prevailing peace and unity in the area.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu also asked them to bring back the “past and renowned Akuapem respect” and urged the chiefs to let the chieftaincy institute reflect positively in the minds of the youth to accept the institution.
“As chiefs, you must make the chieftaincy institution useful to society and encourage the youth to embrace every good development project you initiate,” he added.