President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked kingmakers at Navrongo to consider someone known to be a peacemaker in choosing a replacement for the late Paramount Chief of the area, Pɛ Asagpaare I, known in private life as Dr. Augustine Atudeku Balinia Adda.
The President made the proposal Friday evening when he joined scores of Ghanaians and foreign nationals in the Upper East region to perform the final funeral rites of the chief who passed on in 2015, 43 years after his installation in 1972.
“The man because of whom we are gathered here was a remarkable Ghanaian. A farmer, a doctor, a scientist, an educationist and a modern chief. He brought a lot of renown, fame and reputation to the Navrongo and Kassena-Nankana area. He was a Ghanaian patriot. He gave a lot to the development of his area and the development of our country.
“Such men, when they pass, must be remembered by those of us who are still alive. He was a traditional ruler who fought for four decades to bring peace, tranquillity and stability to his area. I take the opportunity to ask that now that he has gone that all of you, the elders of Navrongo, would choose as a successor somebody who would also be a peacemaker and a developer of the area,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President was accompanied by the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari, the Minister for Water Resources and Sanitation and Member of Parliament for Navrongo Central, Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, and the Minister for the Interior, Ambrose Dery, among other senior government officials.
Representatives from Ghana’s National House of Chiefs and a delegation from the King of the Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, graced the funeral. Cultural troupes and traditional war dancers put their skills on robust display as contingents from regional houses of chiefs poured one after the other from across the country into the COS Park, the venue for the event.
There would be none like him— Woyongo extols late Ruler
Speaking to journalists at the funeral grounds, former Minister for Defence and immediate-past Member of Parliament for Navrongo Central, Mark Owen Woyongo, said the departed monarch generally would be remembered as one who tried to modernise the chieftaincy institution in the Navrongo Traditional Area.
He said he was such a brilliant leader there would be none like him for many years to come.
“I must say he died rather very young. We wish he had lived 20 more years. He was very nice to mankind. He helped a lot of needy people. He did a lot to improve education in Navrongo. He sent a lot of young people to the then Soviet Union to study.
“A lot of them are doctors and other professionals all over the place today. And he tried to modernise the chieftaincy institution in Navrongo which is very significant to us. We will never get a chief of his kind,” remarked the former Interior Minister who also entreated the people of Navrongo to emulate the good life the late chief led.
He told us Stories and Jokes at Dinner— Children
A tribute read by the children of the late Pɛ Asagpaare I spoke of an accomplished father who was as close to his children as their friends at home and at school.
The picture revealed about him was that of a man who told stories and shared jokes at every dinner with his children. He never criticised them whenever they failed to live up to expectations at school. He rather encouraged them to work harder.
In the tribute, they cited an instance where one of his daughters, Ernestina, did not score well on a Biology examination. Her Biology teacher, Mrs. Mensah, wrote to the royal family, stressing the need for Tina (who finished in a ‘last but one’ position after the exam) to rev up her efforts. Whilst she was weeping and expecting a rebuke, the late chief sat her down.
“Don’t cry,” he told her. “These results don’t define you”. He laughed as he added, “Kakwara, you can consider yourself second only from the bottom!”
They recalled another day when one of his sons, Andrew (whom he nicknamed My-Governor), damaged a car that belonged to a Supreme Court justice whilst he (Andrew) was chauffeuring him (the late chief) many years ago through the highways of Accra. Pɛ Asagpaare I offered to pay for the damages but the justice, who happened to be his friend, told him not to bother.
“Papa never screamed or displayed anger over the accident but told him (Andrew) to be more careful and he never talked about it again,” the children recounted in a tribute compiled by Dr. Caroline Jehu-Appiah (the firstborn) and read by Rodney Jehu-Appiah (a grandson).
They added: “Any teenager who has had an accident with a parent’s car knows how upset parents can get and the ensuing consequences. We were lucky and grateful to have a man like that as a father.”
The late Navro-Pio died aged 78 years. He is survived by his Russian-born widow, Dr. Lidia Adda, seven children— Dr. Caroline Jehu-Appiah, Ernestina Victor, Augustine Adda Jnr (also called Kwarase), Andrew Adda, Lt. Cdr. Dr. Theophilus Balinia-Adda, Gabriel Balinia-Adda and Irene Adda— and many grandchildren.