The Omanhene of the Juaben Traditional Area in the Ashanti Region, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, yesterday commemorated the 50th anniversary of his accession to the stool with a thanksgiving service.
Yesterday marked exactly 50 years when the then Peter Yaw Boakye Amponsah was enstooled as the Juabenhene, and he marked the day with a service at the recently inaugurated Prof. Adu Boahen Memorial Square at Juaben to begin the Golden Jubilee celebration, which is expected to be climaxed in December.
The Mass was celebrated by the Emeritus Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi, the Most Rev. Peter Akwasi Sarpong.
Fifty years on a stool is significant, and that was exactly what it was for the Juabenhene, as his traditional area was one of the five founding member-states of the Ashanti Kingdom.
Consequently, in spite of the event being a church service, it was a regal affair, as hundreds of guests showed up to honour the Juabenhene, who is also the Chairman of the Council of State.
The celebrant himself, apparelled in a rich black and white Kente and adorned in silver and a big gold ring, which is also a symbol of his authority, walked majestically from his palace to the service grounds, followed by a retinue of sub-chiefs and traditional horn blowers.
Although the colours for the celebration were either pure white or black and white, some guests also showed up dressed up in rich colourful Kente, displaying the culture of the Ashantis and adding more colour to the beautiful, calm atmosphere.
The colours were to celebrate the feat chalked by the Juabenhene and also remember those who had departed this world and celebrate their contributions to the current state of Juaben.
Among the guests who graced the occasion were some members of the Council of State, led by Mr Sam Okudzeto; the acting Inspector General of Police, Dr George Akuffo-Dampare; the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison; the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anim Yeboah, and the Majority Leader and MP for Suame, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
The rest were the Omanhene of the Techiman Traditional Area, Oseadeayo Ameyaw Akumfi IV; the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Dan K. Botwe; the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto; the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, and a host of others.
Model of a chief
The Most Rev. Sarpong, delivering the homily, described Nana Otuo Siriboe as the epitome of the best in chieftaincy and a pacesetter par excellence in traditional rule.
“Nana Siriboe is the model of a chief who prefers to serve his people to being served by them. I easily describe him as the pacesetter par excellence in traditional rule,” he said.
He said at a time when people were of the view that chieftaincy had lost its usefulness, Nana Siriboe “has, rather, by his life, corroborated the view that a chief is as useful today as he was yesterday, even though his traditional function has to be adapted to suit modern circumstances”.
The Archbishop said unlike other chiefs and traditional leaders who used their position to enrich themselves and abused their authority, the Juabenhene “does his best not to abuse his power as chief. When many chiefs are losing their respectability, Nana Siriboe is gaining more respect”.
He said he was grateful to God for granting the people of Juaben, and for that matter Asanteman and Ghana, “a chief who raises high the flag of Juaben and Ghana”.
According to the former Prelate of Kumasi, even though the functions of chiefs had, over the years, changed as a result of modernisation, they still played critical roles in the development of communities.
He said while chiefs would no longer go to war against other tribes or traditional areas, they had another enemy that they would have to confront, which was more dreadful than the enemy of old.
“They are challenged by the enemy of bribery and corruption, the enemy of political arrogance and deceit, machination and intimidation, the enemy of increased tribalism and division, the reign of money and false honour, hollow ethnocentrism, the reign of power.
“Daasebre knows all this and tries to deal with them in his own inimitable way, quietly but efficiently from his little corner of Juaben,” he said.
Council of state
Mr Okudzeto, on behalf of the Council of State, extolled the leadership qualities of the Juabenhene, which he said had made the current Council of State an exceptional one.
“It is not often that in Ghana chiefs remain on stools for so long. But Nana has been an exceptional leader, a real gem, a chief with no equal and extremely hardworking,” he said
The Golden Jubilee will be climaxed in December, with the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, expected to be the guests of honour at a grand durbar.
Other activities to mark the celebration include a football gala scheduled for September, a debate among senior high school, a spelling competition among junior high schools, the inauguration of a Catholic Church building put up by Nana Siriboe, as well as the inauguration of some projects undertaken to mark the Golden Jubilee.
The traditional council will also organise a free health screening exercise for residents of Juaben.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II was enstooled in August 1971, aged 26 years.
An alumnus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), where he studied Electrical Engineering, he had earlier attended Opoku Ware School (O Level) and Achimota School (Sixth Form).
After his university education, he worked briefly with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) before being enstooled.
As the Juabenhene, Nana Siriboe performs several assignments with and for the Asantehene and the Asante Kingdom.
In February 2017, he accompanied the Asantehene to The Seychelles, where they met the President of that country, James Michel.