Information reaching Ghana News Extra indicates that the Gonja kingdom has lost its overlord, the Yagbonwura.
Professor Suleman Tuntumba Boressa I is believed to have passed away in the early hours of Sunday, 5th February at the Jakpa palace in Damongo after a short illness.
Yagbonwura Boressa I was the paramount chief of the Kusawgu traditional area before being elevated to rule the Gonja kingdom for the past 13 years. He was enskinned as Yagbonwura of the Gonja kingdom in 2010, and served as president of the Savannah regional house of chiefs. In 2019, he was awarded a Doctorate degree by the Poltava University of Economics and Trade – Ukraine.
What Happens When An Overlord Dies?
When the King and Overlord (Yagbonwura) of the Gonja Kingdom dies, the Chief of Sonyo (Sonyowura) plays the crucial role with regards to the transition and succession of a Yagbonwura.
According to Gonja custom and tradition, the Sonyowura becomes the Acting Head of State on the death of a Yagbonwura until a new Yagbonwura is selected. He is responsible for all traditional procedure that follow the death of a Yagbonwura.
On the death of a Yagbonwura, the Sonyowura firstly informs the Nlusah (diviners) of Mankuma a community near Bole because they must perform certain secret customary rites, before the funeral of the deceased Yagbonwura is formally announced.
After that the Sonyonwura sends the deceased Yagbonwura’s horse, unsaddled, together with his staff and sandals to the Buipewura to announce the death of the King.
On the receipt of the formal notification, the Buipewura will inform the Kagbapewura of Buipe of the Yagbonwura’s death.
In the Gonja Kingdom the role of regents of a Yagbonwura or any other Chief are for the purpose of the funeral processes only. A Regent (Wurkon-nyin) who must be the biological son of a late Yagbonwura is appointed and installed on the Yagbonwura’s death but his main function is in connection with the funeral. The Regent is however given the reverence that is due to the Yagbonwura and he is discharged after the performance of the twelfth day funeral of his father. In Gonja anyone who serves as Regent of a prominent Chief is usually given a Chieftaincy title after serving as a Regent.
Now on the burial of a Yagbonwura, it is the duty and responsibility of the people of Jentilipe (a community near Sawla) to cut the buttress of a silk-cotton tree and carve it into a bier on which the body is carried to Mankuma for burial. It is the duty and responsibility of the blacksmiths in Sawla to forge nails for nailing the bier to the body in the position and make it easy for its conveyance to Mankuma. It is alao the duty and responsibility of the Nluseh (diviners) of Mankuma (a Community near Bole) to dig the grave and bury the deceased Yagbonwura at the Gonja Royal Mausoleum at Mankuma.
Yagbonwura Boressa I left behind three wives, 19 children and 90 grandchildren. His remains have been moved to the traditional home of Gonja kingdom, Nyange for burial preparations. The palace is expected to officially announce further arrangements for his funeral in the next couple of days.