Citizens of Dagbon in the Northern Region of Ghana living in the United Kingdom (UK), have come together to form an association in order to promote unity towards development of the Dagbon land, as well as promote unity and cohesion within the Dagbon community in the UK.
Named the Dagbon Union of UK (DUUK), the association, which is non-religio-political in nature, was originally formed in 2012, with aims of bringing brothers and sisters living in the UK together.
Addressing the Union at its official inaugural ceremony, the Chairman, Alhaji Alhassan Mbalba, disclosed that DUUK is non-political, non- religious, non-sectarian and any other artificial division his people have imposed on themselves, as a tribe.
“Although DUUK is called the Dagbon Union, membership is open to all descendants of Naa Gbewaa the Great: Mamprugu Nanung and, of course, the Moshies. Non-Dagombas born and bred in Dagbon are also eligible to join”; he said.
The association, which started with few members who used to meet at each other homes, currently has about 200 members, including adults and children.
Alhaji Alhassan Mbalba stated that the aims and objectives of the Union were chosen to inculcate cultural values in their children.
“Our aims and objectives were also to inculcate our cultural beliefs, practices and values into our children. We are mindful that culture is not static, it is dynamic, so we are seeking to blend our culture with western culture, to make Dagbon’s culture attractive to our children;” he explained.
“It is also aimed at Provision of welfare services to our members, which is why our motto and slogan is Mabilgu which means [brothers and sisters],” he added.
The Chairman noted that “as an infant union, we have had and continue to have our fair share of teething problems: Some of the problems are finance, differences in opinions regarding the strategic direction of DUUK and other logistical problems.”
Narrating the achievements chalked by the Union, the Chairman said; “despite our DUUK’s challenges, we have chalked some successes e.g. promoting unity and cohesion within Dagbon Community in the UK; our continuous existence and growing number is great achievement and, new branches being set up. An example is the Birmingham branch. It’s our hope next year, this time, DUUK will have branches in every big town and city in the UK”.
He said, notwithstanding their financial constraints they have been able to make book donations to University for Development Studies and Tamale Central Library and Welfare Service to their members.
He said their short -term goal is to be organizing Damba festival every year; and medium to long-term goal as to sell the idea of DUUK’s model as a template to all Dagombas, especially those living in the diasporas -i.e. we can put aside our personal and group interest, in the collective interest of Dagbon”.
For the long-term goal, the Union will “team up with other Dagbon Unions in diaspora so that we can be staging regular Big events like, Homecoming or Dagbon Diaspora Conferences for Joint-up thinking or brainstorming the developmental needs and goals of Dagbon”.
He indicated that “DUUK is in partnership with relevant stakeholders to devise and carry out outreach programs in the areas of health, education and social protection in the deprived communities in Dagbon.
The Chairman continued that; “DUUK cannot achieve these noble goals without the support of distinguished sons and daughters and other stakeholders. And DUUK will be knocking at doors seeking your advice, guidance and other forms of support, to help us achieve our goals”; he disclosed.
The well-organized event was also graced by Dr. Abdul Nasir Issahaku, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, as a special guest of Honour, while Madam Adama Chambas Annan, stood in as Guest Speaker on behalf of Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa.
Likewise, Madam Zuwera Ibrahim, Head of Information at Ghana’s High Commission also represented Ambassador Victor Smith.
In a short statement read on his behalf, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas commended the Union Executives for reviving the association. He heartily congratulated them “on the auspicious occasion of the launching of the Dagomba Union of the United Kingdom (DUUK)”.
“As some of you may know, this is not the first time that people from the Guinea Savannah zones of northern Ghana have come together to find common solutions to the wide range of challenges facing them in the UK and back home;” he reminded them.
According to him, “The renewal and or revival of any drive to work together for the good of your communities, and for that matter development of Ghana, is as pressing as ever in these very uncertain times; and is a most laudable idea. Well done for your commendable efforts”.
He recalled that only the other day, he came across the name Bonaboto, which is an organisation of people from the Upper East Region, and he used to think that Bonaboto stood for Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Bongo and Tongo”.
“I am told the true meaning of the words BonaBoto in the Nabdam language means ‘find or seek (wealth, knowledge, skills, etc.) and bring back home’. In the Dagbani, Mampruli and Nanung this is equivalent to “Bomkulsiyingna!”
On his part, Dr. Nasir Issahaku also thanked and praised the leadership of Dagbon Union, UK, for the initiative and thus encouraged them to sell and promote the ideals of DUUK to all Dagombas.
The Bank of Ghana Governor indicated that he was inspired by what he has witnessed and will help DUUK in his small capacity to achieve its aim and goals. He, however, reiterated the call for all Dagombas to unite and work together for the development of Dagbon.
By: Alfred Dogbe