A DECADE in the life of a traditional ruler means a lot. For instance, many will be measuring the level at which his leadership has translated into improving the lot of his community and subjects.
After 10 years on the Ahemadafo Stool of Tepa in the Ashanti Region, the Omanhene, Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem, appears to have worked very hard to meet the attributes of a modern chief.
That is why his subjects and non-subjects are joining him in their numbers in activities marking the 10th anniversary of his installation.
The chieftaincy institution has come a long way and today, a chief is not just expected to preserve the culture and traditions of his people.
In fact, he is also expected to lead the people to chart a path of development that will bring hope to even unborn subjects, and again show leadership by example so that his subjects can reap the required benefits from his reign.
The focus of the 10 years celebrations is to raise funds to construct a dormitory block for the Tepa Nurses’ Training School and the Omanhene is determined to work hard to achieve that objective.
For many including the Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Sam Okudzeto-Ablakwa, who launched the activities marking the anniversary, the euphoria that had started building up in the run up to the grand durbar in November, this year, is a clear testimony of the manner the Omanhene had led his people to achieve some appreciable level of development within the past decade.
“Your example is worth emulating and the government will always appreciate what you have done to improve the lives of your subjects,” the deputy minister said.
A decade ago, young Mr Frank Opoku Adusei ascended the Ahemadafo Stool of Tepa under the stool name Nana Adusei Atwenewa Ampem after 14 years of a bitter chieftaincy dispute that crippled the development of the traditional area.
Today, the chief walks with his chest out for uniting his people to chart a path of development that has made the Tepa Traditional Council one of most respected in the Ashanti Region.
Tepa went through a turbulent period after the death of the immediate past Omanhene, Nana Kwame Awuah II. The race for his successor was fraught with a protracted dispute until the current occupant of the Golden Stool, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, ascended the throne.
Just a year after Otumfuo’s coronation, he managed to settle the dispute, paving the way for Nana Ampem’s installation as Omanhene.
In the Asante traditional system, the Asantehene is supreme. His power transcends the boundaries of the Ashanti Region, meaning there are some paramount chiefs outside the Ashanti Region who owe allegiance to him. In the Ashanti Region, there are 33 paramount chiefs one of who is the Tepahene.
Traditionally, the Tepahene belongs to the Gyaase Division of Asante. The Gyaase division is a powerful group. The members take care of the property of the Asantehene and, therefore, occupy a very important position in the Asante traditional set-up.
Tepa is the capital of the Ahafo Ano North District. Indeed, the traditional area forms part of the vast Ahafo area, parts of which are in the Brong Ahafo Region.
It is an agrarian area with the people engaged mainly in the production of cocoa and foodstuffs.
The area is also a marketing centre, operating an age-old weekly market which attracts thousands of people to the town every Thursday.
The contribution of the area to national development is therefore enormous. Indeed, it was to appreciate their contribution to the development of the cocoa industry that the erstwhile Supreme Military Council (SMC) 1 government established the cocoa clinic in the town, which has now metamorphosed into the Tepa District Hospital.
Acknowledging the importance of the cocoa industry to the economy of the traditional area, the Omanhene took upon himself to get the traditional council to cultivate cocoa farms and 10 years into his reign, the Tepa Traditional Council has been able to establish 26 cocoa farms, all contributing substantial amounts to the council to undertake development projects.
What Tepa has achieved under the reign of Nana Ampem moves beyond the cocoa industry and as he himself puts it, “The evidence is there for all to see”.
In the area of education, the Tepahene has been able to get the traditional council to institute a scholarship scheme for brilliant, needy students. Five students benefit from the scheme every year.
“We are going to pursue this important project with all the seriousness it deserves because education holds the key to development,” Nana Ampem told this writer.
The Omanhene was also influential in the construction of an administration block, the establishment of an Information and Communication technology (ICT) laboratory and the provision of a school bus for the Tepa Senior High School.
In the health sector, the Omanhene has managed to get some expatriate doctors to undertake free medical care at the Tepa Government Hospital. The exercise has gone on for two years now and it will continue.
Besides, through his instrumentality, some people outside the country have been sending medical equipment to the Tepa Hospital over the past two years.
The government is about to start the construction of the Ashanti Regional Hospital at Tepa and the traditional council has provided 16 acres of land free of charge for the project.
Apart from that, the council has renovated the dormitory block for the Nurses’ Training School, a situation that has brought relief to school authorities and students.
The traditional council has also sponsored the registration of over 1,000 needy people in the area with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Acknowledging the importance of the police to the area’s development, the traditional council under Nana Ampem has provided a complete house to accommodate the police in Tepa. “We have to take security seriously because the people cannot live and work without adequate security,” he stressed.
The Ghana National Fire Service in Tepa has also benefited from the traditional council. The service is accommodated in a house provided by the traditional council.
Other projects undertaken by the council include the construction of 16 stores, which have been rented out to generate revenue for the council’s development initiatives while it has also financed the provision of a lorry park to ensure sanity in the operations of the transport unions.
Clearly, there is every reason for the Tepahene to celebrate his 10 years on the stool. Many high profile personalities have been invited for the grand durbar on November 20, this year.
These notwithstanding, there are a lot of challenges facing the people in their development strides. Educational infrastructure, roads and many other areas need improvement to meet expected standards and the Tepahene can only keep strengthening the unity in the area and getting his people to complement government’s development initiatives for the area.
As part of the celebrations, the Omanhene has hosted heads of department in the district to a reception at his private residence where he took time to listen to the challenges facing each of them with the view to offering assistance in addressing them.