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Cultural performance at Hogbeza

Sankofa:The Awoamezi And Kaklaku Stools Of Anlo: Origin & History-By Concern Citizens Of Anlo In North America

Our recent article captioned. “AN ATTEMPTED COUP D’ETAT IN ANLO” has led to many requests for detailed information about the Awoamezi of the Anlos.

IN THIS ARTICLE WE PRESENT:

A brief history of the Awoamezi. A brief history of the Kaklaku stool. The history of the current Awoamezi dispute.

  A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE AWOAMEZI.

Fia Sri II

Fia Sri II

There is little written history about the Anlos antedating their arrival at Ketu on the western bank of the River Niger. From Ketu the Anlo people, along with the other Ewe groups continued their westward migration settling for periods of time at places like Yor, Dogbo and Tado.

According to tradition, the Awoamezi, also known as the Anlo Awoamefia stool, came from Tado in present day Republic of Togo probably around the late 15th to early sixteen century. The stool was brought from Tado to Notsie by Kponoe, later to Togbui Sri I. Ironically Kponoe, later Sri I, was apparently involved in a dispute with his brothers over succession to the throne when he took off with the stool and fled to his maternal uncle, Amega Wenya, at Notsie. The Anlo people at that point in time called themselves the Dogbo community in Notsie, Dogbo being one of the places present day Anlo people settled in during their long westward migration.
Kponoe’s maternal uncle, Togbui Wenya made him chief of the “Dogbo community” in Notsie at which time he became Togbui Sri I. The king of Notsie at the time was Togbui Agokoli I whose maltreatment of the “Dogbo community was legendary”. Those were dangerous times. Bloody ethnic wars raged and wild animals roamed the land hence cities were often walled as defense against invasions and raiders. Notsie was no exception. By all accounts the Dogbo  people, our forefathers, were war-hardened people who never shield from a fight. They were both feared and courted for their valor in wars. Legend had it that the Dogbo people actually caused Agokoli to execute his own son by falsely accusing the prince of having murdered a member of the Dogbo community.
Retribution followed when word reached Agokoli that the Dogbos were bragging about “having avenged the death of a living man”. Under the leadership of Wenya the Anlos fled Notsie to escape the harsh rule of Agokoli I of Notsie. This migration took place in the 16th century and is still celebrating in our Hogbeza or Hogbetsotso annually. Togbui Wenya was an old man when under his leadership our forefathers finally arrived at Anloga. An old and tired man at that point tradition had it that he said in Ewe “Menlo”, literally, I am doubled over” or “I am folded up!” In their hasty flight, our forbearers left the Awoamefia stool in Notsie. Some authorities claim Togbui Agokoli I refused to release the stool out of anger at our forbearers for intentionally misleading him with the resultant execution of an innocent man. Togbui Sri’s own sons refused to go back to Notsie to retrieve the stool, but his nephews, Adeladza and Atogolo, undertook the dangerous mission. Sri I rewarded his maternal nephew, by ordering that his nephew Adeladza should ascend to the Awoamezi before his own children. From then onwards, in spite of our patrimonial system of inheritance, the male descendants of Sri I, who are of the Adzoavia clan, and the male descendants of Adeladza I, the Bate Clan, rotate ascension to the Awoamezi. If the Awoamezi reached Notsie in the late 15th century after a dispute, then we do have a stool probably older than the House of Windsor. Togbui Sri’s three surviving sons who now constitute the 3 gates or lineages of the royal Adzoavia Clan are:

Fui Agbeve. Dei Azimaxada. Azika Drafor.
The present heads of these lineages or gates are:
Mr. David Kofi Togobo heads the Fui Agbeve Lineage. They belong to Deti Adzoaviawo division.
Mr. Clement Nyonator Kwawukumey heads the Adzika Drafor lineage. They belong to the Yorxoenu Adzoaviawo division.
The Dei Azimaxada lineage has no head currently. They belong to the Yorxoenu  Adzoviawo division.
The third subdivision of the Adzoavia clan is Alagbati Adzoviawo. The Awoamezi can therefore be ascended by the male descendants of the “THREE BROTHERS AND A COUSIN.” Succession to the stool has never been smooth since by tradition ” A crown prince, the Awoamefia in Waiting”, is never selected and prepared ahead of time.
The Awoamezi is more than just a symbol of authority or a unifying force; it is the very embodiment of the soul of Anlo land, the emotions of war and peace, a link with our glorious past, a reminder of our present imperfections and our hope for a better tomorrow. It can neither be sold  nor bought for it is priceless. Francis Agboada therefore committed sacrilege by announcing to the world that he is Regent Sri III.
He made mockery of a sacred object, an object our forefathers made the Ultimate sacrifice for. By seeking to appropriate the stool through “pay offs, bribes and buyouts and has devalued that which is valueless to Anlos.
His followers, both chiefs and commoners, have knowingly or unknowingly ridiculed the Awoamezi. Sadly the chiefs running at Francis Nyonyo Agboada’s bidding showed no sagacity. They lack leadership, foresight and sound judgment. By jumping on Francis Agboada’s bandwagon they forfeited a vestige of respect they have in Anloland.

THE AWADADA AND THE KAKLAKU STOOL.

The Kaklaku stool was founded by Togbui Agbesi I, the first Awadada. According to tradition Togbui Agbesi I lead the migration of the present day Anlos westward. He was a warrior of great stature, always scouting for days ahead of the main migrating group, fighting hostile tribes seeking to harass the ancestors. He died at Yor around the mid 15th century. Some legends had it that the “Kaklaku stool”, Adzoyibada, Dzengba and a bracelet were taken from the bowels of a buffalo killed by our Patriarch Agbesi.
Kaklaku belongs to the Agave Clan and the only stool apart from the Awoamezi, which antedates ‘the Notsie period” of Anlo history. The stool house of Kaklaku is a “sanctum sanctorum” which people from all over West Africa visit in search of healing, fortune and fame. The stool made the Anlo nation strong and feared by ethnic groups. This stool is second in seniority only to the Awoamezi. Tradition had it that Togbui Awusu I belonged to the group that led the Anlos from Notsie. He was the 4th Awadada and brought Kaklaku, Adzoyibada, Dzangba and the amulet from Tado to Anlo. He was a warrior king who fought his way through hostile territory clearing the way for the migrating group. He subdued the original inhabitants of Anloland who resented the new arrivals. Togbui Awusu I initially settled at Awalanu, but was entreated upon to move to Anloga by Sri I because of the frequent demand for his leadership in wars. It has since been tradition that the Awadada lives close to the Awomefia at Anloga. Some traditional duties of the Awadada are:

At times of war he prepares the fighting men for war, making them invincible. Leads men to war. He prosecutes the war to the logical conclusion. Awadadas who were defeated in war often committed suicide on the battlefield.
In peace time the day to day affairs of the Anlo state used to be the responsibility of the Awadada, since traditionally the Awoamefia was “A GOD KING” who never went out into public and whose face was not to be seen by the citizens. Indeed citizens were supposed to cover their faces or Genuflex with heads ducked down anytime they had a chance to encounter with the Awoamefia. The Awadada reports to the Awoamefia. Traditionally ceremonial sandals of all enstooled Anlo chiefs are placed in the Kaklaku stool house  before the ceremonial sandal ling. It is said that sandal ling of the chiefs used to be the role of the Awadada.
Just as the other Clans, the Agave Clan, the Awadada Clan, has its share of rituals it performs in  connection with placing a new Awoamefia on the Awoamezi. Out of respect for tradition we shall not go into the details about these sacred rituals.
The Awadada, the second chief in rank in Anloland, always acts as an Awomefia any time the Awoamezi becomes vacant. This is because Anlo tradition does not allow for regents for the Awoamezi. One reason sited by elders for the Anlo tradition of not allowing regents for the Awoamezi was: Togbui Atiassa, An Adzoavia royal, declared himself a regent after his brother Atia, a royal Adzoavia died after a short reign. Using the regency as a foothold he managed to have himself enstooled as Awoamefia. The orderly rotation of the throne between the beta Clan and The Adzoavia clan was disrupted culminating in a dispute. The bate Clan retaliated by enstooling Togbui Letsa Gbabga and Togbui Amedor Kpegla is succession before the dispute was settled in 1906 and the rotating system was restored.
Our history has shown repeatedly Awadada’s acting as Awoamefias whenever the Awoamezi became vacant. Examples are:
1906-1907 Awadada Katriku acted as Awoamefia under the name Togbui Amedor.
1956 Awadada Togbui Abiwu
1999-Present  Togbui Agbesi Awusu II.

THE AWOAMEZI DISPUTED; A BRIEF SUMMARY.

Togbui  Adeladza II died and was buried in or around 1998. Since he was from Bate Clan, the rotating rule of ascension to the Awoamefia stool mandates that the next Awoamefia should come from the Adzoavia Clan. Throughout Adeladza II’s protracted illness, Togbui Aholu II, the occupant of the Awadada stool, was the acting president of the Anlo traditional council according to Anlo tradition. Togbui Aholu II was an energetic man and also a very successful businessman. As fate will have it, he never had the chance to act as Awoamefia following the death of Togbui Adeladza II. Togbui Aholu II, the Awadada of Anlo, was himself in failing health and so the roles of Acting Awoamefia and president of the Anlo traditional council, fell on a senior divisional chief, the late Togbui Nyaho Tamakloe IV , Dufia of Whuti and Miafiaga of Anlo.
During Togbui Nyaho Tamakloe IV stewardship, the need for speeding up the stalled nomination and selection process of Awoamefia was felt acutely. This may be the reason why certain officials of the NDC government tried to facilitate the process of enthroning an Awoamefia as quickly as possible only to encounter intense resentment from Anlos. There are many reasons why this effort of government officials was ill advised and misguided:
Traditionally the heads and elders of the 3 lineages from Togbui Sri I have the prerogative of nominating and selecting of Awoamefia of Anlo. Anlos as people resent being imposed upon, not only in chieftaincy affairs, but also in other matter affecting their daily lives. An unfortunate perception was created that the government in Accra was interfering in the nomination and selection process. The rituals and protocols involved in the nomination, selection and “the initiation” of Enthronement is mostly guarded secrets. The process takes “a mortal” who after a series of ancient rituals and initiations metamorphoses into ‘A GOD KING” an Awoamefia.
It is no wonder that the king makers would later declare that the process was badly bungled by politicians aided by respected Anlo citizens who nonetheless are ignorant of the process and the rituals.  More than two years ago, one Mr. Agboba, a retired police commissioner, was picked and confined as the Awoamefia by one faction of the Kingmakers. Notable among the chiefs who selected Mr. Agboba and took him through the various rituals to the ascension to the Awoamezi are:
Togbui Addo VIII, Fiaga of Klikor. He is a senior chief of the Anlo traditional council who comes from the Amlada Clan of Anlo. The Amlada Clan traditionally performs some of the important rituals that result in “The transformation” of a male royal into an Awoamefia. The late Togbui Nyaho Tamakloe IV, Dufia of Whuti and Miafia of Anlo. Togbui Nyaho Tamakloe IV was from the Adzoavia Clan. When Togbui Adeladza II died in 1997 and the “Second in command”, Togbui Aholu II, the Awadada of Anlo, was also ill, Togbui Nyaho Tamakloe IV acted as Awoamefia and president of the Anlo traditional council. The other faction of the royal Adzoavia Clan promptly objected to Agboba’s claims to “Royalty of the Adzoavia Clan” and the selection and confinement.
The heads and some principal members of the opposing lineages are:
Amega Kofi Togobo, head of the Fuiga Agbeve lineage.
Lt. Col. {RTD} courage Togobo, principal member of the Fuiga Agbeve lineage. Amega C. . .N. Kwawukumey, head of the Alike Drafor family.
Amega Seth Agbonugla K. Kwawukumey; Principal member of the Alike Drafor family.
These factions filed a lawsuit with the Judicial Committee of the Volta Region house of chiefs, the body with Jurisdiction to hear chieftaincy disputes lawsuits in the Volta Region. The suit seeks to stop Mr. Agboba from becoming Awoamefia. The title of the lawsuit is “Amega Kofi Togobo and others versus Togbui Addo VIII of Klikor and others”. Mr. Agboba cannot be outpoured as “The Awoamefia” as long as the lawsuit filed in 2000 remains pending before the “Judicial committee” of the Volta Region house of chiefs. Anlo’s remain sadly divided over the Togobo Versus Togbui Addo VIII lawsuit while hoping reasons will prevail.
While the Awoamezi dispute was beginning and gloom and doom was blanketing Anloland, Togbui Agbesi Awusu II was enstooled as the 14th Awadada of Anlo. There was jubilation in Anlo. Togbui was young, educated and wise. The Awadada by virtue of the peculiar position of his stool, became the acting Awoamefia and president of the Anlo traditional council. Seniority in the council is not determined by how long one has been chief, rather by seniority of the stool. Under Awadada Awusu II’s leadership the long forgotten Hogbeza of Anlos has been revived and celebrated in grand style two years in a row. With the help of his advisory council Togbui also encouraged the formation of a foundation to foster investment and development. Realizing the important contribution Anlo’s abroad can play towards development in the homeland Togbui calls on the Ewe community in North America regularly.

THE REAL SHAME OF ANLO-FRANCIS AGBOADA’S SACRILEGE.

Early this year, one Mr. Francis Nyonyo Agboada is a businessman based in Accra with deep pockets who is not embarrassed to flaunt his riches. Francis believes “Everybody has a price” and ‘There is nothing money cannot buy” He is not very cerebral and tries to compensate for that by buying respect and status. While his followers call him “Radical and bold” history has shown him to be at loggerheads with the law of the land on more than one occasion. To counteract this current insult to Anloland another petition was filled by:
1. Amega Kofi Togobo.
2. Lt. Col {RTD} Courage Togobo.
3. Amega C. . N. Kwawukumey.
4. Amega Seth Agbonugla Kofi Kwawukumey.
The petition named: Vincent Egle Agboada, Napoleon Agboada, Dotse Gagadosu Agboada and Francis Nyonyo Agboada as respondents. The petitioners’ claims are as follows:
Anlo custom forbids a regent to the Awoamezi and so there can be no such position as regent to the Awoamezi. Mr. Francis Nyonyo Agboada must cease from calling himself regent Sri III Awoamezi traditionally has no “stool father”.
The Petitioners therefore seek a declaration that the appointment of Mr. Vincent Egle Agboada as stool father for the Awoamezi is void. All  the heads of the lineages of the Adzoavia Clan have Renounced Francis Nyonyo Agboada and declared his actions serious breaches of Anlo custom. The thuggery of Francis Nyonyo Agboada reached new heights when he served the Awadada with summons purporting that he is “the regent to the Awoamezi” and the rightful president of the Anlo traditional council and so wants the Awadada to refrain from performing the duties of acting Awoamefia and president of the Anlo traditional council.
In June 2003 Francis Nyonyo Agboada wrote letters to certain chiefs inviting them to a meeting of the “Anlo traditional council”. Togbui Agbesi and others filed a court injunction restraining Francis Agboada from convening a meeting of the traditional council on the grounds that Francis Agboada is neither a chief nor a member of the council. Furthermore convening the meetings the meetings of the traditional council is the prerogative of the Awadada in his capacity as the acting president of the traditional council.
The injunction was filled at Judge Michael Woanya’s court in Denu. To add a sad twist to the mess Francis Agboada is creating in Anlo, Togbui Addo VIII, Fiaga of Klikor stunned Anloland by quickly endorsing Francis Agboada and forming an alliance with him. Concerned citizens find it strange that the same Togbui Addo of Klikor who was instrumental in Mr. Agbobas confinement is now making “Obeisance” and “Genufleding” before Francis Agboada, a known thug and trickster. To those who do not know, confinement is almost a house arrest. Agboba’s fate has yet to be resolved but Togbui Addo VIII, of Klikor is vigorously promoting Francis Agboada, a man who plays by no rules and has his eyes on the stool.
In addition to few misguided chiefs who are aiding in his commission of sacrilege against the Anlo state, we would like to know why and how the following people and institutions became involved in Awomefia chieftaincy dispute..
Judge Michael Woanya the presiding Judge at Denu. Even though the injunction seeking to restrain the coup plotters from holding a meeting on June 27th 2003 was filed at his court, Judge Woanya turned up at the meeting to grace the occasion. This judge has handed down some strange decisions already in the Awoamezi dispute. He has discussed this delicate case outside his courtroom with a third party and “opined openly” the rights and wrongs of the case without hearing arguments from the two sides. Judge Gyacsayor, the supervising judge in the Volta Region ought to know that the Awoamezi dispute is a matter of litigation. Suits, counter suits and contempt of court charges arising from this dispute are in courts he supervises. Nonetheless he attended Francis Nyonyo Agboada’s meeting on June 27th 2003 and swore in what he called a “New traditional council of Anlo”. With sanctimony he swore in what he called ” A judicial committee.” It is cynical and ironic that in his speech he called upon kingmakers to “abide by laid down procedure and custom”.
Mr. R.H. Akatti is a registrar at the Volta Region regional house of chiefs. This character has written two letters inviting certain chiefs to a meeting of the Anlo traditional council. In his first letter dated 18th June he indicated in the invitation he was directed by “Regent Togbui Sri III.” In the second letter dated June 25th, he indicated that he was directed by Togbui Addo III. Akatti owes the Anlo’s an explanation as to why he injected himself into our family dispute! He is a registrar at the Regional House of chiefs and knows who has the prerogative to call a meeting of the Anlo traditional council. He knows that his friend Francis is not a chief and so cannot convene a meeting of our traditional council. He also knows that Togbui Addo VIII is not the president of the council and so does not have the authority to call a meeting of the council. Concerned citizens intend to find from Mr. Akatti’s employers. The Volta Regional house of chiefs, who assigned Akatti to behave and act as the registrar for the Anlo traditional council.
Mr. Monyo, the accounts clerk who for years has been acting as the registrar: he colluded with Francis Agboada and tried to serve his boss, the Awadada, with a subpoena questioning the Awadada authority. From all we heard Mr. Monyo is going on retirement and it is sad he chose to go out with Ignominy.
Vincent K Egle Agboada.
Napoleon Agboada.
Dotse Gagadodu Agboada.
Individuals in official position in government: These people sent a whole police unit, the panther unit, from Accra to give security to the Coup plotters. Knowingly these people aided and abated sacrilege against the Awoamezi and the Anlo State.

 

Concern Citizens Of Anlo In North America

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