An adage says “bei ko kɛ afɔ Lakote” to wit there is definitely a day Lakote was born. This expression connotes that everything has a beginning and owner. Oral tradition asserts that nobody knows the beginning of Lakote neither where he originated from. Zimmerman corroborates that he and his family came from the sea to dwell on the coastal strip of Accra.
It is believed upon arriving the at the shore he stroked the ground with his rod and water gushed out of the ground. He named the place “dudɔ kwɛ” now corrupted as dodokwɛ because out of that ground came water to fill their pots. The water is there till this day. In ancient times Lakote Aduawushi used to perform his ŋmaadumo rites at Dodokwɛ or Osekannaa. The place used to be a landing beach. Abeo Kyerekwandah and all others who landed at the beach met Lakote Aduawushie. The construction of the James Town Harbor compelled him to relocate to the present day Nai Shiã Wulu/Osaamatsoshishi.
Many scholars agree that after the defeat of the Ayawaso, The Asɛrɛ and Tuŋma stocks came down to meet Lakote Aduawushi who settled them at the coast.
C.C Reindorf reiterates “The other earliest settlers were there the Les, as we find mentioned the family of Lakote Aduawushi, who is known to have been on the coast with his people before the Akras removed thither”. Johannes Zimmerman further elaborate that One day he saw a canoe at sea and those in were calling him. He went with his family to bring them to the coast. The people were Portuguese (Okɛsh blɔfomɛi). later the Dutch or Danes in Osu Christianborg (Kinka blɔfomɛi) and British (Nglɛshi blɔfomɛi) also arrived.
“ni amɛ fee amɛhãlɛ wolo, akɛ shikpɔŋ nɛɛ enɔŋ. Koni kɛ lɛlɛ fɛɛ lɛlɛ ni abadamɔ shi lɛ, ekɛ wolo atsɔɔ amɛ, koni amɛ ya wolɛ nyɔmɔ, edzaakɛ shikpɔŋ nɛɛ enɔŋ. Nakai mɛi mɛini yɔɔ sa lɛ hã le; ni ekɛɛ amɛ, akɛ wodzii nɛɛ aafite, shi amɛ fee lɛ yɛ shikatso he, koni ekɛ-ye odase, akɛ shikpɔŋ nɛɛ enɔŋ. Ni amɛfee nakai”
This means that they gave Lakote Aduawushi a document which indicates that he is owns the Land and any canoe that arrives at the coast should pay him. They disclosed to the whites, the document could be destroyed therefore requested for a golden rod which was given to Lakote Aduawushi as a witness that he was the true owner of the land and it was made so.
Irene Odotei notes that “in a significant sense Ga names give information about the history, social organization, beliefs, values and customs”. The Lakote Aduawushi family has the following nomenclature
Fathers: Lakote, Lateboi, Latekwei, Lateokai and Lateŋmai
Aunties: Larteley, Lartiokor (Anorkor), Lartekai, Lartetsoo, and Lartefoo
Sons: Larte, Lartei, Larlai, Larkai and Larko
Daughters: Larley, Larkor, Larkailey, Lartsoo, and Larfo
MEANING OF ADUAWUSHIE
According to Irene Odotei, any bearer of a particular name regardless of lineage is addressed by an appellation. A.A. Amartey corroborates, it is a common practice for a Ga to address himself with him appellation or sablã whenever his integrity is at stake. Aduawushi comes from “adu awu shi” to wit it spreads on the ground. Lakote been the chief priest plants nyanyra (hyssop) at his house (Dudɔkwe or Osekannaa) which he used in performing rites. Nyanra (hyssop) spreads on the ground (ekwɛɔ kɛ wuɔ shi) and people usually come to seek nyanyra from him in those days.
Eventually instead of saying mii ya Lakote jɛmɛ miya tse nyanra they rather say miiya “adu ewu shi jɛmɛ”. Adu ewu shi later corrupted as Aduawushi became his name as people no longer say miiya Lakote jɛmɛ but adu ewu shi jɛmɛ mi ya tse nyanyra (am going to Adu awu shi’s place for nyanyra).
This debunks the claim by usurpers that Aduawushi is a Fante name meaning “ɔdi ewusie” as fallacious.
Aduawushi oo, Beni Ga jo oshi ɛ, nyɛ hɛ Kɔɔle.
RELATIONSHIP WITH BORKETEY LAWEH
Zimmerman further asserts that Lakote Aduawushi shares boundary with Borketey Laweh. Their boundary is the Kpeeshi lagoon. Borketey Laweh owns from Kpeshi to Ada Shwilao while Lakote Aduawushi owns from Kpeeshi to langma to Awutu Apla. La people upon their arrival at Ajanɔte Hills (Aboasso Hills) saw a faint blue flame on the southern part of the hill signifying that there were inhabitants at the shores of the coast. Their scouts inform their war lord Sowah Gborbilor that the inhabitants were the Ga Mashi people led by Nii Lakote Aduawushi.
Oral tradition claim that Lakote Aduawushi is the senior brother of Borketey Laweh and Boi Tono is the son of Borketey Laweh. It is believed that Boi Tono left his father Borketey Laweh at Nungua after their arrival to stay with his uncle Lakote Aduawushi at Ga Mashi. Lakote Aduawushi then gave the Nyɔŋmɔ Tsaa deity to Boi Tono.
Reindolf notes that Lakote Aduawushi owns the Nai deity, He gave the Oyeeni deity Moi We group and Nyɔŋmɔ Tsaa deity to Boi Tono. Ashiaklɛ, Amugi, Oyeni, Abledede, Ablekɔkɔ, Tɔtrɔ, Osekan, Mamang, and Nyɔŋmɔ Tsaa all belongs to Lakote Aduawushi.
The Late Ashiaklɛ wulɔmɔ, Nuumo Lakote Aduawushi was the last wulɔmɔ to perform rites for all these deities.
NAI SHIÃ WULU AND FUNCTIONS
The Nai We (Temple) is the palace of the Nai wulɔmɔ not a family house. It is sacrilege for people to turn the Nai We (Temple) to be their home. Only the Nai wulɔmɔ who has the right to sleep there. The Nai Shiã Wulu is the family house of Lakote Aduawushi We. All rituals, family activities such as naming ceremony, funeral meetings, etc.
takes place at Nai Shiã Wulu. The place is also known as Dade We or Osaamatsoshishi. According to oral history, Lakote Aduawushi moved from Dodokwɛ to Osaamatsoshishi. It is believed that after prayer Lakote Aduawushi caught the thunderstone and planted it there. It became the meeting place of all chiefs and elders. Since time immemorial all Nai wulomɛi are out doored at Osaamatsoshishi while Ga maŋtsɛmɛi are outdoored at Amuginaa. It is the sole mandate of the Family head of Nai Shiã Wulu (Lakote Aduawushi We/Dade We) and his elders to install Nai wulɔmɔ.
All Ga traditional rites and customs commences and ends at Nai Shiã Wulu.
The following houses assist Lakote Aduawushi family in performing rites;
Boi Tono or Nyɔŋmɔ Tsaa We, Jaflo Otu We, Ɔmprakwa We, Anɛje We, Sɔŋmenaa We and Klokoto We.
WHY ASHIAKLE WULƆMƆ
It is believed that the choice of Nai wulɔmɔ from Lakote Aduawushi family is purely divine. Thus, when the gods and ancestors (kɔmiamlibii) don’t bring any, the caretakers (Nuumo Tete, Nuumo Yaote, and Nuumo Akwaa Mensah) takes over as Nai wulɔmɔ.
In the process of time, some elders of the caretakers family inorder to wipe out the Lakote Aduawushi bloodline from ascending to Nai wulɔmɔ position decided to poison them and put toxic substances in their food and drinks. Most of the Lakote descendants in order to save their lives run away from Nai Shia wulu never to have anything to do with Nai worship. Some also joined the Islamic faith. This diabolic attitude by the caretakers elders led to the regent Nai wulɔmɔ been plagued with ill health and short reign.
During the reign of Nuumo Akwaa Mensah II, he realized that just like his predecessors (Caretakers) he was suffering from the same fate so he desired to enquire from the ancestors (Kɔmiamlibii). The ancestors disclosed that the only remedy is to install Nai wulɔmɔ from the original owners (Lakote Aduawushi bloodline). Since Nuumo Akwaa Mensah II was recognized as Nai wulɔmɔ and couldn’t be destooled, he consulted the elders and they concluded that since Ashiaklɛ is the eldest of Nai deities, Ashiaklɛ should be named on the new wulɔmɔ. The Kɔmiiamlibii had then chosen Niifio (Lakote Chorkor) and was named Nuumo Larkote Aduawushi in 1950. He went through all the installation process of Nai wulɔmɔ because he is the rightful Nai wulɔmɔ and father to the regents.
Nuumo Akwaa Mensah II handed over the silver rod given by the Dutch to the Ashiaklɛ wulɔmɔ as the true owner of the land. As the rightful Nai wulɔmɔ, he wears ŋshɔkei kpawo and “afili”, prayed at Independence square yearly, performed ŋshɔbulemɔ, ŋmaadumɔ, performed rituals for the whale (Bonso which landed to the sea shore) etc. it should be noted the caretakers wear “banka” and do not enter the sea to perform ŋshɔbulemɔ (purification of the sea) because they are not the true owners of the Nai deity.
On the demise of Nuumo Akwaa Mensah II, instead of Nuumo Aduawushi officially assuming the Nai wulɔmɔ title, some of the “caretakers” elders objected and compulsory compel him to install a caretaker Nai wulɔmɔ to work with him. He was deceived that since Lakote Aduawushie family are fathers and the caretakers are their children, there is nothing wrong with both wulɔmɛi working together as it has been in the time of Nuumo Akwaa Mensah II. He compromised and installed Nuumo Yaote II as Nai wulɔmɔ. After Nuumo Yaote II expired, Nuumo Larkote Aduawushie installed his faithful “spiritual son” the late Nuumo Tete III as Nai wulɔmɔ in 1983. The Ashiaklɛ wulɔmɔ joined the ancestors in 2004 after 54 years of reign.
I wish to state unequivocally that since the time of Ashiaklɛ wulɔmɔ, the regent wulɔmɛi don’t hold the silver rod given by the Dutch and also don’t put on ŋshɔkei kpawo.
The Ga Kusumtsɛ, Nii Lakote Aduawushi testified that incase the Ashiaklɛ wulɔmɔ can’t go for ŋmaadumɔ, ŋmaafãa, ŋshɔbulemɔ or other important function as a result of his old age he gives the silver rod to him (Kusumtsɛ) to go with the late Nuumo Tete III and he (Kusumtsɛ) will perform the rites on behalf of Ashiaklɛ wulɔmɔ.
PAST NAI WULƆMƐI
BEFORE 1400: LAWƐTE LAWƐTƐ OR PRE-LAKOTE ADUAWUSHI ERA;
Some scholars assert that the Gas were at the coast by the 12th Century. Since we have no historically account of whom were the Nai Wulɔmɛi during those periods, I will call it Lawɛte Lawɛtɛ as ascribed by oral tradition.
1471-1734: LAKOTE ADUAWUSHIE ERA
Zimmerman recounts that the Portuguese who were first to arrive at the coastal strip of Accra met Lakote Aduawushie. The Dutch and British also came to meet Lakote Aduawushi. After the defeat of Ayawaso, the Asɛrɛ and Tuŋma stocks came down to meet Lakote Aduawushi who was considered owner of all the land at the coast being the High Priest of the Sea-god (Ŋshɔŋ Jemawɔŋ).
After the departure of Borketey Laweh into the sea in 1606, Lakote Aduawushi took charge of Nungua and brought Lumor Bortey from Peki to continue Borketey Laweh’s dynasty. The Otulohum people and others came to meet Lakote Aduawushie in 1700. Reindorf further states that Larteboi, the brother of Lakote was acknowledge as the king of Accra in 1734.
Thus, within a period of 263 years (1471-1734) one can be certain that there have been at least seven (7) Nai wulɔmɛi with the title Lakote Aduawushi.
1734-1777: THE EARLY REGENTS
During these periods, there was no Nai Wulɔmɔ from Lakote Aduawushi bloodline. Boi Tono the Nyɔŋmɔ Tsaa wulɔmɔ become the Nai Wulɔmɔ regent and in order to strengthen the relationship with the Dutch he gave his daughter Naa Borkai to the Dutch governor John Nickel Addy and was recognized as the king of Accra in 1734. Reindorf reiterates that his son Boi Borkwei succeeded him.
1779-1888 LAKOTE NUKPA AND LAKOTE LONA
During the struggle between Okaija I and Ayikai Siahene, Okaija installed Lakote Nukpa as Nai wulɔmɔ, sought his blessings and defeated Ayikai Siahene. Oral history affirms that the last Nai Wulɔmɔ from Lakote Aduawushi bloodline after Lakote Nukpa is Lakote Lona.
1891-2008: THE CARETAKERS REIGN
It is believed that the caretakers took over as Nai Wulɔmɛi from 1891. Though there are no specific dates of some of their reign, there have been Nuumo Tete I, Nuumo Akwaa Mensah I, Nuumo Yaote I, Nuumo Akwaa Klomor, Nuumo Oson Gbalor, Yaote Nortsɛ, Nuumo Tete II, Nuumo Akwaa Mensah II, Nuumo Yaote II and finally Nuumo Tete III.
2010: LAKOTE ADUAWUSHI- THE SUBSTANTIVE NAI WULƆMƆ
Before the demise of Nuumo Tete III, he had already disclosed to family members and close friends that after he joins the ancestors, the true owners (Lakote Aduawushi Family) will take the official position as Nai Wulɔmɔ. The Kɔmiamlibii had chosen one Abraham Larkotey Lartey who was by then a presiding Elder of the Healing Hand of God Mission, Bortianor and Pastor elect in Bible School. He was destined to be Nai Wulɔmɔ before his birth and disobedience to answer the call of his ancestors caused him to be bedridden for over one and half years. His deliverance came when accepted the call of his ancestors to be Nai Wulɔmɔ. He was installed by the accredited elders of Nai Shia Wulu on 7th September 2010. He went to Nungua and the late Gborbu Wulɔmɔ, Shitsɛ Nuumo Borketey Laweh Tsuru performed all the mandatory traditional and customary rites for him and was out doored on 26th October 2010 at Osaamatsoshishi.
Unfortunately, some chiefs and elders tagged Nuumo Lakote Aduawushi as New Patriotic Party member when refused to perform rites for George Tackie (Nii Adama Latse II) to be Ga maŋtsɛ. According to Nuumo Lakote Aduawushi, his predecessor Nuumo Tete III had performed rites for Nii Tackie Tawiah III (Dr. Joe Blankson) as Ga maŋtsɛ therefore he can’t perform rites for George Tackie. These so-called elders and chiefs vowed to install another Nai Wulɔmɔ. These usurpers repeated an abomination by Ayikai Siahene in 1830 by installing one Abraham Yartekwei Yartey as Nuumo Akwaa Mensah III in 2012.
The case was referred to Ga Traditional Council with the Panel constituting Nii Doodu Nsaki II (Otublohum Maŋtsɛ), Nii Kpobi Tetteh Tsuru III (La Maŋtsɛ) and Nii Ayikai III (Akanmajen Maŋtsɛ). They responded that they need to carefully examine the case before giving the final verdict. Unfortunately, due to the attack at the Ga Traditional Council on 13th June 2013, the panel was unable to give the final verdict till today.
Lakote Aduawushi owns the coastal strip of Accra and is the legitimate Nai wulɔmɔ. The Lakote Aduawushi We had graciously and patiently allowed the caretakers to reign peacefully. It is prudent the caretakers family reciprocates this same kindness to Lakote Aduawushi family by allowing them to reign in peace in order to move GaDaŋme forward.
Tswa omanye aba.
Zimmerman, Johannes, A Grammatical Sketch of the Akra- or the Ga –language (Stuggart: Basel Missionary Society. 1858).
Reindorf, C.C., History of the Gold Coast and Asante, Third Edition (Accra: Ghana Universities Press, 2007).
Odotei Irene, What Is n A Hame? The Social And Historical Significance Of Ga Names, Research Review Ns Vol.5 Mo.2 1989
Ga Nikasemo Asafo Lecture II, The Rise of Ayawaso, Accessed 13/05/2020
Field, M.J. Religion and Medicine of the Ga People. London: Oxford University Press. 1937
Nuumo Lakote Aduawushi, Interview at his residence in Bortianor,2020
Nii Lakote Aduawushi, Interview at Nai Shia Wulu, 2020
Ga Nikasemo Asafo Lecture II, The Rise of Ayawaso, Accessed 13/05/2020
History of Labone (Labadi) Now La with particular reference to Akornor We, Kowe AD. 1007 11th Century to 2006.
Credit to Aryerh Moomo Ayer