CONTROVERSY arose at the National House of Chiefs (NHC) meeting in Kumasi at the weekend over the title of Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who has been elected as one of the Eastern regional representatives in the House.
At the meeting of the House last Thursday, at which Osagyefo Ofori Panin was expected to swear the various oaths to make him a member of the House, his title was given as Akyem Abuakwahene.
Earlier, the House had received two letters, one from the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs describing him as Akyem Abuakwahene, and another from the Omanhene himself, who gave his title as the Okyenhene.
The Akyem Abuakwa title makes him the occupant of one of the three paramountcies of the Akyem State, while the Okyenhene’s title refers to the overlord, who is the occupant of the Ofori Panin Stool.
The Registrar of the NHC, Mr S.R. Takyi, told the Daily Graphic that in the records of the House, Osagyefo Ofori Panin was recognised as the Omanhene of Akyem Abuakwa and not Okyenhene, as he is widely referred to.
According to the registrar, when the NHC received the letter from the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs giving the list of their newly elected members to the NHC, Osagyefo Ofori Panin's title was given as Akyem Abuakwahene.
Mr Takyi said initially he thought it was a mistake from the Eastern Regional House because all the while the Omanhene was known as Okyenhene.
According to the registrar, his outfit had also received a letter from Osagyefo Ofori Panin, who insisted that he was Okyenhene and not Akyem Abuakwahene.
"Therefore, I made enquiries with the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs in Koforidua, where it was confirmed that the title was Akyem Abuakwahene and not Okyenhene," Mr Takyi said.
He said the explanation given to him by the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs was that there were three traditional areas in the Akyem area each headed by an Omanhene who is autonomous.
The registrar named the traditional areas as Akyem Kotoku with the capital as Oda, Akyem Bosome with Akim Swedru as the capital and Akyem Abuakwa, which has Kyebi as the capital.
Therefore, there was not a single chief in the Akyem area who bore the title Okyenhene, hence, the decision of NHC to give prominence to the letter from the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs.
The Omanhene was, however, not present for the swearing in when the registrar of the House read out his name.
Later in his address to the House, the President of the House, Wuluga Naba Pusugansa, Naa Prof. John S. Nabila, urged members to co-operate with him to make the deliberations at their meetings fruitful.
When the Daily Graphic contacted Osagyefo Ofori Panin on the issue, he asked his Apagyahene, Nana Asante Bediatuo, to speak on his behalf.
Nana Bediatuo said there were no questions about the position of Osagyefo Ofori Panin as Okyenhene and said, "We will have to find a way of rectifying this anomaly".
He traced the history of the Akyems from Adansi Akrokerri Kokoben to their present abode over 800 years ago and said it was the direct ancestor of the present Okyenhene by name Appianin Kwaframoa, also known as Okyem, who led the people to settle at Akim Abuakwa before they spread to the other areas.