Perhaps the oldest photo of Bulsa chiefs
from right to left: Azenaab (Wiaga), Azantilow (Sandema), Anisomyansa (Siniensi), Aburini Akambong (Fumbisi); in front of Anisomyansa: Atebas, elder of Azenaab’s court; in the background (hardly visible): Ayidibe and Avade, elders of Azantilow’s court.
The purpose and year of the meeting are not known.
As written historical sources are very scarce, the following concise draft of the history of all Bulsa chiefdoms must necessarily remain incomplete and perhaps even incorrect in some details. It should be a starting point for all those who are interested in Bulsa history and society and who want to carry out some local research. We ask all readers to let us know about any mistakes and send us additions in the form of texts or photos.
Afoko, Francis Asianab (1970) The Ayietas (unpublished).
Akankyalabey, Pauline (1984) A History of the Builsa People, Department of History, University of Ghana, Legon (unpublished)
Awedoba, A.K. (2009) An Ethnographic Study of Northern Ghanaian Conflicts: Towards a Sustainable Peace. Accra.
Azantilow Ayieta: Bulsa Tengka Korumu / The History of the Bulsa Country (1988) Recorded and translated by. R. Schott, Münster.
National Archives of Ghana (N.A.G.), ADM-series, Accra.
Ollivant, District Commissioner (1933): History of Buli, Nankani and Kassena speaking people in the Navrongo area.
Rattray, R.S. (1932) The Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland, 2 vols., Oxford.
Schott, Rüdiger: unpublished fieldnotes.
A hundred years ago Bachonsa (Bechuansi) was one of the most important Bulsa villages. It was probably the first name of a Bulsa settlement that appeared on a map (cf. Buluk 2005,4, p.23). After the trade route passing Sandema, Wiaga, Gbedema and Fumbisi replaced the old routes, Bachonsa declined more and more in importance and inhabitants.
According to Pauline Akankyalabey (p. 37), Afeok, the founder of Bachonsa, came from Wiaga, but we do not know much about his successors.
L. Castellain, the British District Commissioner (D.C.), writes about his visit to Bechawnsa (Bachonsa) on September 9th, 1917: "The Chief Anyunalla is old and quite blind. It is a mistake that he died on July 1st, 1909. Chief Anyunulla has several sons. Anyawbi is the eldest. Achemannya is next eldest, Aiyo is next". On his visit on July 11th, 1919 Anyunulla’s son was acting for his father, and on his next visit (November 18th,1920) the old chief was dead. The D.C. ordered the people concerned that on his next visit they "must be ready for an election". But in the documents of the National Archives of Ghana (N.A.G.) in Accra we do not find the name of the new chief.
In Francis Afoko’s unpublished typescript on the Ayietas (p. 8), we find a hint that around 1912 the Bachonsanaab’s name was Ayuenala. The same author writes that in September of 1920 the election of a chief took place, but he does not mention the new chief’s name. One of Ayuenala’s successors was Ayaafinyari, but here again any data or hints at a chronology are lacking.
The incumbent chief of Bachonsa is Atuebey, who was elected on March 25th, 1977.
My main informant about Biuk chiefs and chieftaincy was Ataa Akankoba, the incumbent chief. He asserts that all his predecessors
Anyaampo: first chief in the time of Babatu
Agigsa: reigned after 1901
Akankoba: contemporary of Kwame Nkrumah
Ataa Akankoba: incumbent chief, informant
were indigenous from Biuk and an immigration of Mamprussi, quite common among other Bulsa villages, never took place here. (Concerning the early chiefless history of Biuk, see Fr. Isaac Akapata, Buluk 5, 2009, pp. 34-41.)
According to Ataa, Anyaampo was the first chief of Biuk. Under his reign Babatu, the notorious slave-raider,
Ataa Akankoba, incumbent chief of Biuk and informant
attacked other Bulsa villages, which means that Anyaampo reigned in the last decades of the 19th century. Biuk itself was avoided by Babatu because of its densely forested surroundings, which at that time were a real obstacle to Babatu’s horsemen. During Anyaampo’s reign a group of Mamprussi came from Nalerigu and founded the village of Kologu. People from Naga tried to drive them away because they did not ask anybody for permission to settle there. Biuk, however, helped Kologu in this feud and enabled them to stay.
In the time of chief Agigsa, Anyaampo’s successor, the British occupied Northern Ghana, which they called the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast and made it a British protectorate. Ataa admits that groups of white people who went from Navrongo to Kologu were occasionally attacked by Biuk warriors. When my companion asked him why they did it, Ataa answered, "Because they were stubborn, brave and aggressive."
Akankoba, the father of the present chief, was a contemporary of Kwame Nkrumah, and during his reign Ghana became independent (1957).
Ataa Akankoba, the present chief, wishes for his village to join the community of Bulsa within the Bulsa District. When the plans to build a bridge over the Tono River (the present border between the Bulsa and Kasena-Nankana Districts) are realized, communication between Chuchuliga and Biuk, where the inhabitants speak the same Buli dialect and descend from the same ancestor, Avobika (Achuloa was Avobika’s sister’s son), will be facilitated. Chief Ataa regrets that Biuk is now a divisional chiefdom under the paramount chief of Kologu, after Biuk helped the Mamprusi strangers in their struggle to survive in this area.
Today the following four villages under subchiefs belong to the divisional chiefdom of Biuk: Jaagui, Sensa, Zinsa and Kodema.
The following description is, to a high degree, based on A. Awedoba’s discourse on the Chuchuliga Chieftaincy Affair (Awedoba 2009, pp. 113-118)
Gonab Apirigab (= Semigah?)
Atuchiga Amaachana (= Altecheg?): installed on December 30th, 1907; dismissed by the British
Akaboba Apirigab (dismissed by the British)
Allan Asangalisa (appointed Jan. 10th, 1926; enskinned in February (March?) 1927)
Apirime: rival chief of Asangalisa
Joseph Adakula (1995-July 2006): rival chief of Francis, abdicated in July 2006
Francis Asangalisa (rival chief since August 1995; sole chief since July 2006)
and on his genealogical chart (p. 282).
The first Chuchuliga chief mentioned by him was Gonab Apirigab, who was succeeded by Amaachana. According to an entry in the Navrongo Station Diary (ADM 63/5/3 for October 16th, 1913), Amachenna (sic) was Bago’ (Bagao’s) slave seller, who had deposed Semigha (= Gonab Apirigab?) and replaced him with Amachenna on December 30th, 1907 (Awedoba, p. 114, footnote 92).
Although Atuchiga, Amaachana’s son and successor, had initially been approved by the British, he was eventually
dismissed. The same happened to Akapoba Apiriga, whom the British had installed for Atuchiga and who was dismissed because he "failed to report the outbreak of an epidemic early enough to the Regional Commissioner" (Awedoba, p. 114).
In March 1927, Allan Asangalisa was appointed chief of Chuchuliga. His election and enskinment was done in Chuchuliga but witnessed by Afoko, then the chief of Sandema. From that point on, Chuchuliga came under Sandema (ibd.). Under chief Allan Asangalisa, the conflict with the Sandemnaab escalated. During that time, Azantilow dismissed Asangalisa and "single-handed[ly] enskinned Apirime as chief of Chuchuliga. Apirime’s enskinment, however, was declared null and void by a committee setup by the Governor to look into the case" (p. 114).
After Asangalisa’s death a dispute arose about whether the new chief was to be elected: in Sandema or Chuchuliga. As Asangalisa’s son Francis Asangalisa, one of the contestants, refused to go to Sandema, Joseph Adakula Amaachana, the other contestant, was elected and installed as Chuchuliga chief in Sandema, while Francis Asangalisa "was duly enskinned by the kingmakers in Chuchuliga in August 1995" (p. 115). After a violent confrontation between the two parties, Adakula Amaachana abdicated and made peace with Francis Asangalisa in July 2006.
My present knowledge about the Doninga chiefs is still very poor. By name I know only Akaachie, who, according to Francis Afoko, lived around 1912. Atong was one of his successors. His son Awuudum Atong (born in 1943) was elected chief on March 27th, 1972.
Leaders and Chiefs of Fumbisi
Afim: legendary leader and founder of F.
Awuuba: Afim’s son and founder of Yerinsa
Anyiamjutee: deposed by the British
Ayaajik: installed April 13th, 1915
Ampusiba: around 1912
Aburin Akambonnaab (Akambong)
Akanko: died 1978 or 1979
Clement Anyatiuk: since February 20th, 1979
Fumbisi (Fimbisi, Simbisa) was founded by the legendary Afim, who, together with his father Akanyanga, came from a river called Kanyanga, which is situated between Wiaga/Kadema and Kologu. According to another tradition, the founders came from Gambaga in the Mamprusi area (cf. R. Schott, Oral History...). Afim’s son, Awuuba, was the founding ancestor of Fumbisi-Yerinsa, a section from which chiefs are still elected today.
When the British occupied the Northern Territories of the Gold Coast, the then current chief Anyiamjutee was disposed and replaced by Ayaajik on April 13th, 1915 (Akankyalabey, p. 34).
F. Afoko (p. 8) mentions a Fumbisi chief called Ampusiba who reigned about 1912.
While Fumbisi was growing in size and in the number of inhabitants, its main market was still held at Naadema, some miles east of Fumbisi. It was Chief Aburini Akambonnaab (Akambong) who displaced the market to Yerinsa, the centre of Fumbisi. After his death, he was succeeded by his brother, Akanko, whom I met in 1973. According to Baptist, my informant, Akanko died in 1978 or 1979 by poisoning.
Akanko’s son and successor, Clement Anyatiuk, was elected on February 20th, 1979, after he graduated from Fumbisi Middle School.
In Gbedema there are two dynasties living in separate sections who have been the source of the chiefs of the village. One big compound, close to the Wiaga-Fumbisi road, is called Nakpakyeri (Old Chief’s Compound) and belongs to the Goluk section, while the previous chiefs of Gbedema have belonged to Nayeri in the Gbinaansa section. A detailed description about the Gbedema chiefs and the relation between the chiefs of Nakpakyeri and Gbinaansa has been given by Ghanatta Ayaric in this issue of BULUK (no. 6).
Chiefs of Gbedema
Amboru (around 1912)
Ayaric (Gbinaansa)mid 1920s - 1970
Apagrimchang Ayaric: July 10th, 1971-September 6th, 2001
Nkrumah: since 2001 or 2002
According to Pauline Akankyalabey (p. 11), "Atong, the first traditional chief of Gbedema, went to Tongo and brought some fetish (boghluk), and everyone in the village used to go to him to supplicate for its blessing. Atong became so important that people soon recognised him as a chief." Since then a group of Tallensi have come to the descendants of Atong in Nakpayeri to perform sacrifices to the Tongo shrine every year. Atong, whose ancestors (in contrast to many other Bulsa villages) did not come from the Mamprusi chiefdom, lived in the early colonial time, i.e. soon after 1901.
I was not able to make out the section of chief Amboru (around 1912), mentioned by Francis Afoko (p. 8).
Chief Ayaric, who reigned before 1971, and all his successors have been members of the Gbinaansa section. After Ayaric’s death, Apagrimchang Ayaric, Ayaric’s son, and two rival contestants from Goluk (Nakpayeri) and Dabomsa stood for the new election. Apagrimchang, the winner, reigned from July 10th, 1971, until September 6th, 2001, and was followed by his son Nkrumah, the current chief.
Apagrimchang Ayaric (d. 2001)
According to informants of the chief’s compound, Gbedembilisi had no chiefs before the arrival of the British, who installed Atengboro as the first chief. He probably reigned in the first decade of the 20th century. His (immediate?) successor was Akannuemiena, who, according to Francis Afoko (p. 7-8), reigned around 1912 and was Gbedembilisi Chief when the first resistance against the colonial rule arose. If this is true, his reign must have been extraordinarily long.
Amoabil Atirikpie, who was installed on March 3rd, 1976, is the current chief of Gbedembilisi.
Akomwob (deposed by the British)
Adaangabe (Atigbiiro’s son): April 28th,1974
Edward Felix Ayuekanbe Adaangabe:
September 16th, 1974 - September 21st, 1995
Akisikanbe Ayuekanbe: elected February 2nd, 2001
The first Kademnaab known to me by name is Akomwob. Like many of his colleagues in other Bulsa villages, he was deposed by British colonial officers (Akankyalabey, p. 51) and then replaced by Atigbiiro (Atigbuir, Atibiro, Atiguiro?), who was installed by the Sandemnaab Ayieta (P. Akankyalabey, p. 51). Edward Ayuekanbe Adaangabe, his son, was enskinned by Akansugaasa, then the Paramount Chief of the Bulsa on September 16th, 1974, and he held the chiefly office until his death on September 21st, 1995. When Ayuekanbe’s son Akisikanbe stood for the election in Sandema on February 2nd, 2001, he had two fellow contestants: Anbangpuringnaab, the late chief’s father’s son and Ajeuk, son of Anangaasa from Kadema-Kpikpaluk. During the election, when it became quite clear that Akisikanbe was the winner by a large majority, Anbangpuringnaab and all his adherents joined Akisikanbe, who won the election by an overwhelming majority of 131 votes; 23 yeri nyam (heads of compounds) voted for Ajeuk.
Akisikanbe, who was born in Mansia (Kumasi) in 1965, attended a secondary school and was a teacher before becoming a chief (cf. also BULUK 2001, no. 2, pp. 19-20).
According to Rattray (1932: 400-401), the present inhabitants of Kanjaga are the descendants of two primordial ancestors: Akana, a Kasena blacksmith who immigrated from Kurugu (now Burkina Faso) and after whom Kanjaga was named, and Anyala from Konyon, a now abandoned village between Wiaga and
(without consideration of Rattray)
Akanchoruk: contemporary of Babatu
Adachoruk: around 1912
Atibil: deposed by the British
Akinkangnaab: installed by the British
Akansianaab Akanfela: November 18th, 1975 - 2000?
Akanjievari Akanfela: since February 14th, 2001
Kologu. Anyala was the forefather of six Kanjaga clans, among them the Nyakpere (Nyakpensa), the chiefly clan today. The late Sandemnaab Azanlilow, however, told R. Schott that the Nyakpensa clan immigrated from Sandema-Nyansa.
In the course of history there were fights between the descendants of Akana and Anyala in which the Konyon people were able to obtain chieftaincy for their own lineage. Rattray mentions the following men as early leaders and, later, chiefs of the Konyon: Apiu, who died in a battle with Akana’s people, his son Abatwaa and, after him, Anwun, who died of smallpox. His successor Acholo (Acholuk) died at Navaro (Navrongo) and was succeeded by Akanab and then by Anyatua, the incumbent chief in the time of Rattray’s fieldwork. He may be F. Afoko’s Anyemtuik, the man "who, backed by ex-service men, tried to break away from Sandema several times" (p. 8).
Rattray’s list of Kanjaga chiefs does not always correspond to information from other sources. Akanbongnaab (Fumbisi) told R. Schott about one Akanchoruk, who co-operated with Babatu and was deposed after the slave-raider’s defeat (probably after the battle of Kanjaga on March 14th, 1897). F. Afoko (p. 8) mentions a Kanjaga chief called Adachoruk who lived around 1912 and might be the same person as Rattray’s Acholo. Likewise, according to P. Akankyalabey (p. 51-52) the British colonialists deposed a Kanjaga chief called Atibil and replaced him with Akinkangnaab (Akangnaab), a man who may be identical to Rattray’s Ankanab. Some of the discrepancies with Rattray’s list may perhaps be explained by the fact that chiefs often adopt different names after their installation or are known by different names to different groups.
Complete proof of knowledge exists only about the last three chiefs: Akanfela (whom I visited in 1973), his son Akansianaab Akanfela (November 11th, 1975 until 2000 or 2001) and Akanjievari Akanfela (since February 24th, 2001). According to James Agalic, the rival contestants of Akanfela and his son, Akanjievari, came from Ameria Yeri, a compound in which the descendants of Ameria, originally one of Babatu’s high-ranking officers but later a mutineering adversary, are living.
Anchar: around 1912, perhaps until 1925
Aninlik: in the 1950s
Amoaning (Azue Yeri):
in the time of Nkrumah
Awienboa (Nakpak Yeri)
Abukari (Nakpak Yeri)
Atumani Alimba (Azue Yeri): informant 2011
From the early history of Kategra, the names of two chiefs are mentioned by F. Afoko: Chief Anchar, who reigned around 1912 (p. 8) and was probably chief until 1925 when Aninlik was elected on April 20th. As many people of Kategra had moved to Jadema, Aninlik resided in Jadema, too (They all returned to Kategra in September of 1933). According to F. Afoko, Aninlik was chief in the time when Sandemnaab Azantilow filed a lawsuit against the Mamprusi Nayeri (1951-1952) in order to regain the villages Kunkwa, Kategra and Jadema. Aninlik probably reigned before Amoaning, the first chief mentioned by Atumani Alimba, my informant in 2011.
In Kategra there are two dynasties competing for chieftaincy: one is associated with Azue Yeri (the present chief’s house) and the other with Nakpayeri (Old Chief’s house). After Amoaning (Azue Yeri), who lived in the time of Kwame Nkrumah, the following two chiefs, Awienboa and Abukari, came from Nakpak Yeri and the present chief, Atumani Alimba (whom I visited in February 2011), lives in Azue Yeri.
I was given the following account on Kunkwa chiefs by Richard Yidaana Yakubu, the present regent of Kunkwa, who has an excellent knowledge of the history of his village.
Kunkwa Chiefs and Leaders
Asavie: (no real chief) immigrated from Nalerigu
Akpabil (Abili?, ): in the time of Babatu
Asaponing: elected on May 26th, 1906
Akwabil: elected on November 25th, 1920
Akumboti: first "real" chief of Kunkwa, conflict with Afoko
Apanga: (= Akparanga?) deposed by the British
Akurukpabil: after 7 years deposed and reinstalled
Anabil: Azantilow’s lawsuit 1951-52 during his reign
Awienkoa: not recognized as a chief by some people
Ayuekanbe Yakubu Hamza: high-ranking police officer in Accra
Regent: Richard Yidaana Yakubu (informant)
The first "big man" and "leader" known to the Kunkwa people was Asavie, although he didn’t, as Richard confirms, have the status of a chief. Like Atuga, the first known ancestor of the Bulsa villages of Sandema, Kadema, Wiaga and Siniensi, he immigrated from Nalerigu, though not together with Atuga. Rather, he accompanied the chief of Wulugu, a Mamprusiman, who settled in Kpasinkpe and became chief of that village.
The first Kunkwa chief mentioned in the N.A.G. files (Accra and Tamale) was Abili (Abile). In 1909 the British D.C. was told that Abili "died several years ago. It is reported that he died of wounds received whilst fighting with Babatu and his raiders". On May 26th, 1906 "one Asaponing was unanimously elected" by the Kunkwa headmen. He died on August 9th, 1909. Probably in the same year Aparinga, an old man, was elected. He reigned until 1920.
On November 25th, 1920, Akwabil, son of a former chief named Akume (??) won the chiefly election against Natorma, his rival contestant (with 292 to 237 votes), although the D.C. had favoured Natorma. On November 14th, 1926 Akwabil was suspended and after the decision of the C.C.N.T. removed from office. According to the N.A.G. (Accra), his successor was Anabil, who was elected (with 83 votes) on August 8th, 1927. His competitors were Ating (with 64 votes), Agang (regent after Akwabil; with 55 votes) and Anuya (with 39 votes). After the election Anabil declared himself to be a follower of the Sandema Headchief.
|Richard Yidaana (Regent)|
According to Regent Robert Yidaana, the first real chief of Kunkwa was Akumboti. He was in conflict with Afoko, the Paramount Chief of Sandema, who, under pressure from the British, made people of Kunkwa carry wooden logs from the bushlands to Navrongo. This resulted in the separation of Kunkwa from the paramountcy of Sandema (see separate article in this journal).
Akumboti was followed by Apanga (=Akparanga of the Tamale archive?), one of Richard’s ancestors who was removed from office by the British. They gave the chiefdom to Akurukpabil, who, after a reign of seven years, was deposed by Afoko, the Sandemnaab, but was reinstalled after some time. During the reign of Anabil, Akurukpabil’s successor, the Sandemnaab Azantilow conducted an unsuccessful lawsuit in Zuarungu and Accra to regain Kunkwa for the Bulsa District (see separate article).
Anabil was succeeded by Awienkoa, but he was not recognized by Richard’s family because he became chief before the funeral of his predecessor had been performed.
After Awienkoa’s death in 1968, Richard’s father, Yakubu Ayisiyeling, was installed as a chief (Yakubu’s father, Azaala, had never been chief).
Ayuekanbe Yakubu Hamsa, who followed his father Yakubu, was a high-ranking police officer in Accra at the time of his election and could not give up this office. Therefore he installed Richard Yidaana Yakubu, his younger brother, as regent of Kunkwa. Richard had been a teacher before and speaks good English; thus, the interview could be conducted in English.
Today Kunkwa is a chiefdom under Nabila, the divisional chief of Kpasinkpe, who is at the same time professor of geography at the University of Ghana (Legon).
My research in the archive of Tamale and Accra (N.A.G.) approved most of Richard’s information, but there are also some differences. Therefore these data are treated here separately.
see long article in Buluk 6: Franz Kröger: Extracts from Bulsa History: Sandema Chiefs before Azantilow
The destiny of the Siniensi chiefdom in the colonial period resembles that of other chiefdoms of that time.
Chief Abagyi (Abaji) from the section of Yikpenyeri was deposed, and Abadiin Akpiok (Abaduin) from Siniensi-Akpiokyeri was installed as chief (Akankyalabey p. 51-52).
He was succeeded by his son Anisomyaansa, who was followed by his son Afulang Anisomyaansa on July 4th, 1963. Afulang was one of the first chiefs with a thorough school education. He continued to teach at Siniensi Primary School after he had become a chief.
After his death, his son Gilbert Afulang was installed on February 28th, 1995.
Abaagyi (Yikpenyeri): deposed by the British
Abadin Akpiok (Akpiokyeri)
Afulang: July 4th, 1963- 1994?
Gilbert A. Afulang: since February 2nd, 1995
Leaders and Chiefs of Uwasi
Jugon: before 1850
Awudiok: only a leader in the time of Babatu
Ambowen: installed by the British (= Anbiwa? documented for for 1917)
Abiako Apasukpe: swearing-in 1973
Akuku: present chief
Ollivant (1933, p. 3) mentions a Uwasi chief called Jugon who died "about fifty years before the British arrived." Because of financial problems, no chief was elected after him for a long time.
Chief Akuku, my informant in 2011, told me that during the time of the slave-raider Babatu, a certain Awudiok was the leader of the Uwasi people, but he was no real chief. Awudiok’s successors were, again using Akuku’s information, Akobil and then Apasukpe. Ambowen, Apasukpe’s son, was installed by the British, probably in the early years of the 20th century and, according F. Afoko (p. 8), he was still ruling in 1912. When I attended the swearing-in of the Bulsa chiefs on June 23rd, 1973, Abiako Apasukpe was chief of Uwasi.
I was able to interview Akuku, the present chief, in January 2011. He was proud of the new developments accomplished within Uwasi in the preceding years: In the centre of Uwasi, near the chief’s compound, there were several Christian churches, a clinic and two primary schools. A junior secondary school was under construction.
I know only three chiefs’ names of the now abandoned village, namely Awenboleni Adebugu, (installed on March 3rd, 1947), Amakum (enstooled on June 17th, 1925) and his successor, Adibug (installed on June 21st, 1937), who died in July of 1943.
In the British files these Vare "chiefs" are referred to as headmen (of the Vari Section).
The small remainder of the ever-decreasing population of Vare migrated to Bachonsa where they constitute one clan-section today.
Before the colonial period, Wiaga Yimonsa provided the Wiaganaaab (Chief of Wiaga). According to my informant, Leander Amoak,
Wiaga Chiefs and Contestants:
Akadiri: first chief according to L. Amoak
Ayega: son of Afichoa, whose bogluk is in Nakpak Yeri, was the first chief according to Angmeenbil.
Awuumi (last chief of the dynasty)
Ateng (Yisobsa, d. 1909), contestant: Abasing (Yimonsa)
Azenaab (1909- September 17th, 1947); contestants: Abasing, (Afichoa’s son, Yimonsa) et. al.
Asiuk ( April 4th, 1948 - 1988), contestants: Akanpaginaab (Awumi’s son, Yimonsa) et. al.
Assibi Aloys Asiuk (March 13th, 1989); contestants: Angmeenbil et.al.
chieftaincy was brought to Yimonsa by Akadiri, who had left the Bulsa area as a young man and returned with the symbols of chieftaincy (a cowhide and a red cap). On my visit to Nakpakyeri (Old Chief’s Compound) in 2002,
|Angmeenbil in 2002|
Angmeenbil, one of the elders, enumerated a long list of former chiefs from his family (see box), but not all of them were probably chiefs in the modern sense. Perhaps they were rather leaders (e.g. in war) or just "big men" (dobreba, ‘wealthy men’ or pagreba, ‘strong or brave men’; Akankyalabey p. 18). P. Akankyalabey also mentions a Yimsonsa chief called Anankasa whom I could not place in Angmeenbil’s list. She notes in her thesis that, "...the first British who visited the town [Wiaga] called on the chief (Awuumi) to provide him with carriers. Awuumi, however, refused to do this and a young man from the Yisobsa section came forward and organised members of his household to help the Whiteman. When the ‘Whiteman’ got to his destination [Gambaga?] he gave instructions that any official who visits Wiaga should contact Ateng [the young man] as a chief. In this way, the chieftainship was transferred from the Yimonsa section to Yisobsa section of Wiaga" (p. 51).
Although chieftaincy never returned to Yimonsa, candidates from this section contested candidates of the new dynasty in every election (see box).
After Ateng’s death, Azenaab (1909 - September 17th, 1947) followed his father. Their family had lived in Wiaga-Chandonsa, but after Azenaab’s election he and his family moved from their traditional compound to the central crossroads (Goansa), where they built a compound, which, in spite of many renovations and architectural changes, is still used by the chiefly family. Azenaab was the first chief to profit from the new British strategy of "indirect rule," which gave the chiefs great power, greater perhaps than before British rule. In the rituals of the Sandemnaab Azantilow’s instalment, Azenaab was the most senior of all the Bulsa chiefs and had to perform many ritual and administrative tasks. The village of Kunkwa even wanted Azenaab to become Paramount Chief (Akankyalabey, p. 55), but he refused. Under pressure from the British, Azenaab sent some of the boys from his family to Navrongo school. One of these was Asiuk, another son of Ateng, who became Wiaganaab on April 4th, 1948. After Asiuk’s death in 1988, the election of a new chief took place in Sandema on March 13th, 1989. Assibi Aloys Asiuk was elected new chief out of the following contestants:
Assibi Aloys Asiuk: 287 votes
Akantoganya: 93 votes
Angmeenbil (Yimonsa): 66 votes
Kwame Atongdem: 20 votes
other candidates included: Aburinya Agoldem, Azuedem Azenaab, Aguumi Herbert, Anayang Peter, Akaboko Thomas, Apiini Thomas, Akanjaganaab Agoldem Albert.
|Azenaab||Asiuk||Assibi Aloys Asiuk|
The first Wiesi chief known to me by name was Apasungbe / Apasube, who, after Francis Afoko, reigned around 1912 and according to an N.A.G. document died in January of 1925.
The election of a new chief was held on November 17th, 1925. Anankwen, a son of the late chief garnered 225, his contestant Abotempo received 81. Chief Anankwen died in the beginning of December of 1933. Akamba, an old man and elder brother of the late chief was acting. The British D.C. was in favour of Akamba as the new chief, but Abotempo was installed as chief on December 16th and died in 1937.
On July 22nd, 1939 Abuntore, regent for the preceding 15 months, was elected Chief in the presence of the D.C. and the Chief of Sandema. Ayedana, youngest son of Apasube (who died in 1926) had 30 votes to Abuntore’s 33. Abazerimi also stood but had no following. Aywenkegli of Ipala Section wished to stand but was ruled out, because he wasn’t part of the chief’s family.
Roland Leo Amoabil (Sept. 27th, 1969 - April 11th, 2000) was a primary school teacher before his instalment and was one of the first Bulsa chiefs who confessed his Christian belief publicly. At his death in Sandema hospital, he was a member of the Bible Church of Africa. His successor is Raphael Abuntori.
Leo Amoabil 1978
Raphael Abuntori 2011