Nzema land before 1822, was one solid kingdom with one strong paternal system of government and having a formidable defensive forces with on land military (infantry) force, navy protecting the seas stretching to the current far South East of Ivory Coast and bordered with Ahanta in the east of Nzema coast.
Various smaller paramount chiefs and sub chiefs were situated in the hinterlands to strictly protect the land against the external aggression, might be from Anyi at the north east stretched beyond River Tanoe, Wassa people at the extreme north and east. These tribes mentioned had a long time peaceful relationship with their kinsmen Nzema.
Every system fully ordered to forever keep the whole Nzema people under one great banner of Benyin as the seat of the old Nzema kingdom. Severally scary bulls from whites couldn’t withstand due to the formidable kingdom put in place. The Portuguese who were scared with the nature of the then Nzema kingdom quickly called them *APPOLONIANS*! The Portuguese upon their arrival in Ghana in 1471 before establishing *”Gulf of Guinea”* which was coincidentally called *Lord of Guinea*, in a far distance in the sea they saw the display of lights along the Nzema coast. These Portuguese were scared as they were approaching the shores of Nzema. The stricken picture that came into their mind was their scary god APPOLO of Portugal had already taken the lead to strike them should they come further to land the shore. Little did they know it was display of local touches planted along the shores of Nzema land to provide light made from coal collected along the shores. Amazing! Satisfying their curiosity, the Nzema people were named APPOLONIANS in the name of their god.
Strangely, due to the partitioning of Africa among the seven powerful European countries including the Great Britain, Germany, France, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark and Holland. Such partitioning affected the Nzema kingdom, land and its people. In 1822 France and the Great Britain amicably agreed to partition the land among themselves, without respecting the will of the indigenous tribe. The river Tanoe was officially use as the boundary to divide this great and thorny tribe among the Akan. The partitioning weakened the Nzema kingdom and its people. The artificial french Nzema and British Nzema were created. Those smaller Nzema kingdoms that then served the Benyin seat as the capital disassociated from the main stream of government.
Oh great Nzema was disintegrated due the partitioning of Africa. Nzema had been broken by the bull of the Europeans. The great Lion’s legs had been broken. Sheep (smaller kingdoms) were left to their fate. Tiapoum kingdom had been formed immediately after the disintegration. Bassam and its environs also formed its kingdom. Each kingdom became stranger to the other. That is the negative advent of Europeans in Nzema. The former could not be remembered. This strategy of the Europeans affected most tribes namely the Fantes, Ga and the Ewe.
Here, we come in 1840s. Awulae Kaku Ackah’s regime. He thought to unite Nzema people. He had heard the history. He needed to fix the broken vessel. He tried hard to put the pieces together within his human power. He needed support and time to execute his plans. Not for himself but for the future generations to come. The strategies were put in place to annex some Anyin land in the Gold Coast; for the greater part of the Anyin land fell under the French colony. He perceived to compensate the loss Nzema land in Ivory Coast. He succeeded to behead the king of Anyin.
Awulae Kaku Ackah’s regime troubled the George MacLean leadership. To penetrate to disintegrate our system would not happen. He fenced the Nzema land within Gold Coast with the able army to defend. His strict rule was not strange from Leopold II of Belgium and the likes.
In 1843 George MacLean’s leadership was outlawed by the British government. New governor was posted. Commander Hill assumed the leadership. He was briefed by George MacLean to be extra careful about the king of Nzema. The new commander strictly acted on the recommendation.
In 1844, cunningly, Commander Hill informed all nine coastal kingdoms to sign the Bond. Awulae Kaku Ackah alone stood firm by his principle not to allow foreign imperialism to dictate to him. He refused to sign the Bond. This is the typical display of an Akan king. Remember #Prempeh I in 1895 refused to succumb to the British offer which led to his arrest with entire family to Seychelles.
The rest of the eight (8) Coastal States betrayed him, despite his warning to them not to sign, particularly the Denkyira and Anomabo kings. Eight states signed the infamous Bond of 1844. African Kings had innocently and ignorantly entrapped themselves into the gloomy rule of the Europeans. British Nzema land stood alone as the enemy against the British. Dirty plan had to be pursued to silence the ‘stubborn’ king. Lies were told that he was _”engaging in slave trade against his people”_ due to his bold refusal to sign the Bond of 1844.
Great Awulae Kaku Ackah was unperturbed. He stood firm. He was the man of valour. He was a theocratic leader. He could foresee the bulls to come from the Europeans. He therefore strengthened and intensified his system of government. Military defense was arranged. But he encountered a problem within. Some of his people were betrayals!
Commander Hill strategically filled the Benyin Fort with troops. Remember, a history is told that during the 17th century, King Amakyi with the help of Komenle Anor Ekyi (corrupted to Komfo Anokye by the Denkyira people) fought against the Dutch who were inhumanely engaging themselves in slave trade by using the Benyin Fort. These Dutch were defeated and abandoned the Fort. This Fort was refilled with grenades to threaten the leadership of Awulae Kaku Ackah. Yet, still, this brave king was not perturbed with this militias.
He had to do something. He transferred the the capital town to #Adoa_Ne_Bo (Atoabo) to avoid any conflict and interference from the British troop.
All the kingship regalia were transferred to Atoabo with the support of his council of elders and his subjects. Probably, Commander Hill was informed by the Province Commissioner via the district Resident Commissioner. Amazingly, the seeds of espionage were planted within the Awulae Kaku Ackah’s reign at Atoabo. His activities were daily reported by his archenemies. He didn’t know. Until Ebanyele being a seed of spy, planted by the British, intentionally violated the traditional order. He was requested to appear before the king as the custom demanded to answer or faced the accorded justice. Awulae Kaku Ackah loved to engage with the accused person through the diplomatic dialogue to ascertain his fact before any judicial action taken. He was not cruel as purported. Since Ebanyele knew his being guilty, ran as a fugitive in Benyin to the west of Atoabo to report the lies about his king being so cruel.
The order of arrest of Awulae Kaku Ackah was hinted to the king by his beloved. Oh where were his faithfuls? Silenced! He fled to North of Nzema to hide. These same local enemies perpetuated lies to dent his image on his absence. Falsehood was quickly spread about him that he was a cruel king. He had no love for his people. He was not human being, but born of a god transformed into human form due to his hairy body throughout. That he was not democratic in his rule. Was Benito Mussolini of Italy fascis exceptional? A whole lot of lies were said about him through the British propaganda machinery. Nothing was said good about him. He became a sheep ready to be slaughtered without a speech. His enemies achieved. The kingdom was shared among themselves while in the exile. Nzema could not stand as one again as one kingdom. Now disintegrated.
Additionally, what is the status of Nzema today? Disintegrated! Not having one big voice to defend. The economic hardship created by the oil companies is adversely hurting the local Nzema people, particularly the fishermen. Which chief is recognized to speak on behalf of the Nzema people today? No one! They are divided and weak with different political affiliations. The oil revenue is now used to sponsor a tribe far away from Western Region. Would Awulae Kaku Ackah allow to be silent and be cheated? Who would replace him?
He was arrested in 1845. He poorly died in exile at the Cape Coast castle until these days. He died as a poor man. I salute his boldness as king to defend his people. He was not honoured until Nkrumah had nearly performed his funeral rite. He was not allowed. _”Had he incarnated?”_ Quizzed by the traditionalists. Did he (King Kaku Ackah) say somewhere he would incarnate? He and Nkrumah came from the same tribe and the same clan, Nvavile clan. Over century, Nkrumah alone was the only person who could enter the Kaku Ackah’s shrine and return without any immediate ailment. The mystery is not yet answered. Similar fate happened to Nkrumah; he died in exile.
Augustine Acquah-Quayson (Sir Force),
HASCO HISTORY TUTOR, 2019