ASANTE KINGDOM UNDER
NANA OSEI AGYEMAN PREMPEH II. ( 1931 – 1970 )
Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II ascended the Golden Stool in May 1931 . His stool name was Osei Tutu II , but this name changed to Osei Agyeman Prempeh II . When he added the name of his late uncle , Prempeh to the Stool name.
Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II was enstooled at a time when the Asante Kingdom had disintegrated . This disintegration had been caused by
A) . The defeat of the Kingdom in the Sagrenti War of 1874.
B). The arrest and deportation of Nana Prempeh I in 1896
C). The Yaa Asantewaa war of 1900.
These three events led to the breakdown of the first Asante Confederacy established during the reign of Nana Osei Tutu I . The events again led to the declaration of the independence of each States by the British Government, a divide a nod rule method . Some of the chiefs serving under some of the established states were given elevated in status, resulting in the creation of new states and helping to disunite the Asante Kingdom no more. However, the candle of unity had also started to light , because the individual independent Asante states realised that although they had been given independence , they all owed allegiance to the Golden Stool which bound them together spiritually and which they all had to protect . Because of that when Seniagya and his gang desecrated the Golden Stool, the Chiefs of all the states which formed the first Confederacy , forgot their new status as independent states and met as a unit to try them . Again when Nana Prempeh I was freed and was brought back to Kumase , the whole Asante Kimgdom met to welcome him as their King who had returned from exile, with jubilation.
Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II ascended the Golden Stool officially as Kumasehene and not Asantehene . Like his great grand uncle Nana Osei Tutu, he made the restoration of the Asante Confederacy his prime concern. He therefore petitioned the government on the issue. According to oral tradition, other prominent citizens of the Gold Coast , e.g. Members of the Aborigines’ Right Protection Society of the Gold Coast , also added their voice to it and debated on it . Therefore the Government referred the issue to the individual Asante States for their option .
They were either to opt the restoration of the Confederacy with Kumasehene as the Asantehehe or remain as individual states. It was difficult option because those states which had been elevated by the Government would have to reduced to their former status and those reduced in status ,e.g. Asumegya , would have to raised , if they opted to the restoration. However , according to reports in the booklet, ” Papers relating to the Restorarion Of Asante Confederation ” , out of the twenty – seven states of Asante at that time, seventeen agreed to the confederacy proposal . Eight disagreed while two sat on the fence. The states which opted for the Asante Confederacy with Kumasehene as Asantehene were: Kumase , Mampong , Dwaben , Bekwai , Asumegya , Kokofu , Nsuta , Adanse , Offinso ,Agona , Banda , Obogu , Denyaase , Ahafo , Manso-Nkwanta , Bompata , Wankyi and Moh .
States which disagreed with the Confederacy proposal were : Kumawu , Edweso , Wam- Paamu( Dormaa) , Takyiman , Atebubu , Gyaman , Abease and Berekum. Nkoranza and Akyem Banka sat on the fence. The result was that the majority of these States wanted to see United Asante States with Kumasehene as Asantehene , therefore the British government restored the Asante Confederacy on 13st January 1935 with Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II as the Asantehene. Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II took the oath of allegiance to the government and the Asante Kingdom at the restoration of the Asante Confederacy on 31st January 1935. The chiefs assembled also took the oath of allegiance to the Asantehene one after the other on 1st February 1935 and the csubsequent days . Those who took the oath of allegiance on the first day were about one hundred and eighty – four.
These are the Paramount chiefs among them:
1. Nana Kwaku Dua Chief of Mampong
2. Nana Yaw Sarpong Chief of Dwaben
3. Nana Kwame Poku Chief of Bekwai
4. Nana Kofi Adu Chief of Kokofu
5. Nana Kwabena Kakari Chief of Asumegya
6. Nana Kwame Afram Chief of Kumawu
7. Nana Kwabena Wusu Chief of Edweso
8. Nana Kwadwo Appau Chief of Agona
9. Nana Kyei Mensa Chief of Agogo
10. Nana Yaw Gyima Chief of Asokore
11. Nana Kofi Wiafe Chief of Nkoranza
12. Nana Kwasi Aduomin Chief of Denyase
13. Nana Fosu Gyeabour II Chief of Takyiman
14. Nana Kwasi Boakye Chief of Wankyi
15. Nana Kwame Agyeman Chief of Moh ( Rep.)
16. Nana Kwabena Awua IV Chief of Bantama
17. Nana Kwabena Bour Chief of Banda
18. Nana Gyeabour Afari II Chief of Dormaa
19. Nana Kwadwo Wusu Chief of Tepa
20. Nana Atta Hyeaman Chief of Obogu ( Rep )
21. Nana Kwabena Boaten Chief of Berekum
22. Nana K .K . Kwaaten Chief of Banka
23. Nana Kwaku Adaaku Chief of Hwidiem
24. Nana Kwaku Dua Chief of Akyempem
The rest of the Paramount chiefs and the other chiefs took the oath of allegiance on subsequent days. To commemorate the restoration of the second Confederacy , Nana Osei Agyeman Permpeh II created the Nkabom Stool. The Confederacy continued to be strong for some time until the agitation of self – government for the Gold Coast started . The first party formed to fight for independence for the Gold Coast was the United Gold Coast Convention ( UGCC) . Leaders of the party were: Dr. J.B. Dankwa , William Ofore Atta , Obetsebi Lamptey , Arko Adjei , Akuffo Addo and Paa Grant with Kwame Nkrumah as the General Secretary.
The leaders of the party were made up of royals like Dr. J.B. Dankwa as well as commoners like Dr. Kwame Nkrumah , a healthy composition . Then came a division when Dr. Kwame Nkrumah broke away to form his party , the Convention People,s Party(CPP) . C.P.P was formed on June 12, 1949. It was inaugurated on 7th of August , 1949 at Saltpond. The new party was made up of commoners who nicknamed themselves as Verandah Boys, and were mostly opposed to the ruling class . The new party had a popular slogan , ” Chiefs would run away and leave their sandals behind”. This slogan made the Chiefs believe that the new party was hostile to the chieftaincy institutions, therefore most of them rallied behind the opposing party to the C.P.P.
This marked the beginning of disunity in the second Asante Confederacy under Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II. The ruled were conflict with the rulers so also were brothers and sisters at logger heads with each other in the Asante Kingdom. But in all these , Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II stood the test of the time and kept the Asante Kingdom united, even though states like , Takyiman , Dormaa and Atebubu which came under Asantehene during the Asante wars of conquest and annexation threatened to break away from the confederation . As time went on , the C.P.P. which was the party for commoners , gained the upper hand in government while the U.G.C.C grew weaker and weaker. Other parties sprang up in place of the U.G.C.C .
Among them were the Northern People’s Party in the Northern Territories and the National Liberation Movement (NLM) in Asante Region . N.L.M was led by Baffour Osei Akoto , a senior linguist of Asantehene. It therefore implied that Asantehene had a hand in it.
For this reason, when the CPP government saw that a United Asante stood behind NLM , she capitalised on the issue and divided the Asante Kingdom by creating Brong/ Ahafo Region.
The creation of the Region gave the states which wanted to break away from Asante Confederation the chance to do so . Secession could have brought civil war into the Kingdom but Nana Osei Agyeman Permpeh II used diplomacy to retain the chiefs who still owed allegiance to the Golden Stool even though they were in a different region. Another important phenomenon in the region of Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II was the shifting of power from kings to political parties. From the beginning of the Nation,s history Asante had all along been ruled by kings chosen from the Oyoko clan in Kumase. Each state also had her royal clan from which she chose her chief. However , the emergence of political parties in a new order, the nation was divided into constituencies .
These constituencies were set up without strict regard to traditional affiliation but purely on population consideration . This meant people under paramount chiefs could be made to join people of another traditional area and elect someone to represent them in parliament . Political parties were formed and the party which won majority seats in parliament became the ruling party, and exercised power over and above that of the king. The new change could have brought conflict in the nation but Nana Osei Agyeman Permpeh II recognised the new change as the new order and adjusted his pattern of government to suit the new order.
The new role chiefs played in the new set up was to be the custodians of their customs and tradition. Only cases involving tradition and land disputes were referred to his courts , but in all these , Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II was tactful and gave in to the wind of change thus helping to preserve the old order and marrying it to the new. Guided by the aims of Asante Kotoko Society of which he was founding member , his first effort was centred on education . He had western type of education himself and had found it to be the cornerstone of a nation,s development, so he encouraged the missionaries and other groups interested in education to establish schools throughout his Kingdom . His time saw the establishment of state schools like State Primary and Senior Schools in Kumase, many mission schools and many private schools owned by individuals.
Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II also gave lands for establishment of many second cycle schools e.g. Prempeh College , Opoku Ware Secondary School , Osei Kyeretwie Secondary School , T.I . Ahmadiyya Secondary School , Kumase Academy and many others. Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II also took interest in the education of women a don therefore he gave lands to the missionaries to establish , St. Monica,s Secondary School , and Training College at Mampong , purely female institutions . Other girls second cycle institutions established in his Kingdom during his reign included, St. Louis Secondary School and Training College ,
Yaa Asantewaa Secondary School and Kumase Girl,s Secondary School all in Kumase. He also encouraged the establishment of Girl,s Vocational Institutes ,e.g Mancell,s Vocational Institute . Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II did not only see the establishment of the schools alone but the personally took interest in paying regular visits to the schools. Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II , after establishing many second cycle schools in his Kingdom, made establishment of a tertiary institutions in his Kingdom his next target. The King therefore led Asanteman to fight for the establishment of University in Kumase. Asanteman therefore helped a lot financially in the establishment of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
With the establishment of many schools ,Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II encouraged royals to go to school and even went to the extent of establishing a scholarship scheme for the education of every promising citizen of Asante Kingdom. Another area in which Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II showed much concern was public health . He first addressed himself to modern Town Planning . As such , Kumase had his modern outlook during his reign. He established the Kumase Public Board and he himself served on the Board as Chairman. The capital attained the status of Kumase Town Council ,
Kumase Municipal Council and Kumase City Council under his administration . With the growth of population , Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II fought for the establishment of a first class hospital with modern facilities . In doing the he drew the attention of the government to a place at Bantama where Okomfo Anokye prophesied that , that place would be a place where people would be healed. It is for this reason that when the government built a modern hospital at the site , it was named ” Okomfo Anokye Hospital” . Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II contributed to the social life of the people too.
Asante Kotoko Football Club was formed during his reign and he was the Life Patron of the club. His interest in sports led to the construction of Kumase Sports Stadium which is classified among the Morden sports stadia of the continent. He also gave land for the establishment of Turf Club in the Asante Capital which is Kumase. One of the aims of Asante Kotoko Society was to educate the people to love their culture. As such during his reign, Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II saw to the establishment of National Cultural Centre in Kumase. The aim of its establishment was to treasure the culture of the Kingdom and prevent it from adulteration. Another achievement to the King,s credit was the designing of Asante National Flag and Crest. The Crest known as Busummuru Cap was made as a memorial emblem to Nana Osei Tutu , the founder of Asante Kingdom. The colours of the Flag were” Green , Yellow , and Black”. The Green stood for vegetation of the Kingdom, the Yellow stood for the wealth of the Kingdom and the Black stood for the sovereignty of the Asante Kingdom.
Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II,s reign saw the economic growth of the Asante Kingdom. The cocoa industry which was started in the Asante territory at the beginning of the 20th Century got to its peak during his reign. Oral tradition attributes the sharp rise of the price of cocoa in 1936, a year after the second Asante Confederacy started to his good omen. This rise in price brought prosperity to the Kingdom and changed the outlook of Kumase in a twinkle of an eye. Many of the houses in Kumase sprang up at that time. Modern roads expansion network in the region started during his reign. It also saw the electrification of Kumase and the provision of pipe- borne water in the city. Kumase Airport was constructed during his reign . Peace also prevailed in his time. There was a civil war in the state. The peaceful atmosphere was one of the reasons why foreigners came in their numbers to trade in Asante.
” The old order changed , yielding place to new” could be said of Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II,s reign because it was during his time that the old order of warfare stopped and the energies of the Asante people were used for productive labour, progress and peace.
At last , Nana Osei Agyeman Prempeh II was called to eternity , and was succeeded by his nephew , Nana Opoku Ware II, in private life , called Mr. Mathew Poku, a lawyer and career diplomat in 1970.
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