Asanteman stood still, when undeniably almost all the top brass of the country showed up, in Juaben, amidst pomp and pageantry, to mark the 50 years of traditional leadership by Nana Otuo Siriboe II, Omanhene of Juaben Traditional Area, and Chairman of the Council of State.
Characteristically of Asanteman, in such a time, cultural display takes the centre stage of all activities. This signifies the relevance and reverence of the customs and traditions of the Asante people, in spite of acculturation. It is also a manifestation of the significance of the occasion on the traditional calendar of the people.
Traditionally, a chief is the custodian of culture. It is no wonder, the extent to which the culture of the people is highlighted in all manner and forms when the need arises. But more importantly, this also shows that Asanteman indisputably remains the cultural epicenter and the epitome of the truly rich and unblemished Ghanaian cultures.
The anniversary celebrations on Tuesday commenced with a durbar of chiefs and dignitaries. Nana Otuo Siriboe II led a procession amidst traditional songs and drums; the apintim, nwomkor) and fontomfrom.
Indeed, the ceremony was a relive of Nana Otuo Siriboe II’s enstoolment in 1971. He sat in state to receive homage from Juabenman and dignitaries present, the moment other traditional rites were performed when a paramount chief of his status sit in the open.
With the Juaben township clad in Asanteman colours, the traditional green, yellow and black colour identity, every bit of happenings among the people, at the time, was expressive of the historic moment being observed.
The choice of ‘black and white’ colours woven into different patterns of the popular Kente clothes, and donned in varied forms and shapes by the royalty, was accordingly selected in the symbolism of the ancestors of the Juaben people and the commemorative period.
The Omanhene, in special hand-woven clothes to match the occasion, led a procession of chiefs, queen mothers and elders of the Juaben area amidst drumming and dancing, to sit in state at the ceremonial grounds.
From the dignitaries – diplomats, politicians, elderly statesmen, security heads, academicians, clergy, bankers, business executives – to the locals and first-time visitors and other guests, all were enchanted by the animated rich cultural display. The culture of the people is not limited to dancing, drumming and singing alone but every aspect of life; entertainment, law, mannerisms, etiquette, different institutions among others.
The incredible display on Tuesday signals what is to come during the Grand Durbar, which the King of Asanteman, Opemsuo! Otumfuo Osei Tutu II will grace the ceremony along with the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, as the Special Guest of Honour on December 4, 2021.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II was enstooled as the Omanhene of Juaben Traditional Area on August 31, 1971, at the age of 26 years, taking over from his late uncle, Nana Yaw Sarpong II.
In the words of the Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi, Dr. Peter Akwasi Sarpong, Nana Otuo Siriboe II is the epitome of the best in chieftaincy; the model chief who prefers to serve his people rather than being served by them. “I describe him easily as the pacesetter par excellence for the traditional rule.”
By his exemplary leadership, chieftaincy as an institution has been clothed with its fitting linen. His good works have refuted critics of the age-long notion and mentality that the institution of chieftaincy is outmoded and has outlived its usefulness.
The Omanhene has, through his exemplary leadership, demonstrated to the whole world that the institution of chieftaincy, if properly resourced, can be a useful partner to the central government in national development.
Having spent 50 years as the Juabenhene is no mean achievement. It is the hope and prayer of his subject, kinsmen and people that he continues to prevail to further develop the Juaben Traditional area which has become a great attraction.