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Rebuttal to Numo Otu Akwaaba (Tsawe Wulomo) and rejoinder to the article by Boye Otu titled "The distortion of Nungua history"

By Solomon Appian-Sego
Tsawe Wulomo being initiated by the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse (Overlord of the Gadangme State)
Tsawe Wulomo being initiated by the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse (Overlord of the Gadangme State)
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The youth wing of the descendants of the Legendary Nuumo Borkete Larweh, the Leader of Ga Wor and Founder of Nungua, bring you festive greetings from the holy Temple of Gborbu, the Spiritual Headquarters of the Ga Dangmes.

It is unfortunate that some elements including Nuumo Otu Akwaaba chose this period to cast aspersions on the office of the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse and Overlord of the Ga Dangmes. We will do our generation and the ones yet unborn a great disservice if we should allow his unfounded attacks on the Gborbu Stool to go unchallenged.

In an interview granted by the online TV called Urban Ga TV, which was shared on some social media platforms, Nuumo Akwaaba was heard saying amongst other things that the Gborbu Wulomo is not the senior wulomo of Nungua. He stated that the Oshwe Wulomo, who calls himself the Nungua Mantse, is senior to the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse.

Also, in an article written by one Boye Otu and published by the Ghanaweb on Wednesday 7th July 2021, the writer also made the attempt to denigrate the office of the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse with deliberate fabrications which are not in consonance with Nungua Kusum. We the descendants of Nuumo Borkete Larweh want to state on record that these deliberate distortions are palpable lies spoken out of malice. It is a deliberate ignorance of the history and Kusum (customs, traditions and practices) of the Nungua (Ga Wor) people of Ga Dangmes.

In responding to them we will want to rely on our earlier article titled “REJOINDER: NUMO GBORBU WULOMO IS NOT OVERLORD OF GÁDANGME STATE BY NUMO AKWAA MENSAH, NUMO OGBAAMEY AND NUMO GBELENFO BY THE LEGENDARY BORKETE LARWEH DECENDANTS” which was published by the Ghana Crusader, Modern Ghana and Tinkoogbee news portals in December 2020 and April 2021. In the said article, we gave vivid accounts on why the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse is the Overlord of the Ga Dangmes, citing oral and written histories as well as Kusum (traditions, customs and practices of the Ga Dangmes).

The Wor Borbor (Amanfa) Stock of Nungua are the direct descendants of Nuumo Borkete Larweh Tsuru, the leader of the Ga Wor migratory Ga Dagnme group and the founder of Nu Nma (corrupted as Nungua).

History has it that the major last stop of the Ga Dangmes before settling here in present day Ghana was in the Bene Kingdom of present day Nigeria. Although the Legendary Borkete Larweh and his descendants were the last to leave Bene, he and his descendant were the first to cross the Volta and occupied the coastal territory stretching from the Cook’s Loaf or Langma to the Volta or Shwilao due to his supernatural powers and good omen. The departure from Bene is what has been commemorated as Wor Bene Shimor (our departure from Bene) corrupted as Obeneshimor, which the people of Nungua observe on the first Saturday in July.

It is worthy of note that Konor Borkete Larweh, the leader of Ga Wor, founded the famous seven city states of the Ga Dangme people namely Worborbor, Worshiagba, Wordoku, Wordode, Workple, Wortinya and Worlai. Other towns founded by him were Wor Akwamu, Wor Kpatsakole, Wor Koko-Nyaga, etc with Wordoku as the capital (Refer: The History of the Gold Coast and the Asantes by Rev. CC Reindolf 1895; Prof.Irene Odotei – the history of the Ga people)

The deity the legendary Borkete Larweh brought with him was the Nuumo Bormawu (Gborbu Deity). However, Nuumo Borkete Larweh overpowered and absorbed the aboriginal deities from Langma to Swhilao into his Kpele worship, and planted them in the Gborbu Temple, making the Gborbu Temple the leading religious temple in Ga Dangme (Ref: Dr. Josiah Aryeh King Taki Tawia memorial lectures V). This makes Numo Gborbu Wulomo Shitse the Head of the Kple Cult.

In her book titled the Religion and Medicine of the Ga People, 1937, MJ Fields stated that the first Priest and Ruler of the town Nungua was the Legendary Numo Borkete Larweh. This was affirmed by Thomas Laryea from Sanshie in the Crowther Report of 1905. Fields also stated categorically that Gborbu is the head of the 99 deities of Nungua which include Oofu, Oshwe, Tsawe and Osabu. Page 28 of the Medicine of the Ga people, MJ Fields stated that the chief deity, Nuumo Gborbu, was brought from Tetetutu in a drum which was treated as a deity.

This deity is the Tele-mi which is used for the Kplejoo worship. This is the reason the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse owns the Tele drums (Kplemi) meant for Kplejoo. And this is the reason why during the Oshwe Kple (Tuesday), Osabu Kple (Wednesday) and Abli & Tsawe Kple (Friday & Saturday), those minor wulomei of these deities come to the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse with rum and money to beg for the Kplemi for their Kple and return them to the Gborbu Wulomo before 6pm for purification before sending them into the Tele piam for keeps.

In her book The Social Organisation of the Ga people, 1940, MJ Fields stated that Oshwe is a minor war deity of Numo Gborbu Deity. Page 49 of the said book state that the Gborbu wulomo of Nungua is the Chief Priest of the town and too sacred to go to war. But the Oshwe wulomo of Nungua is a minor wulomo. It is interesting to note here that the fetish Oshwe Stool was given to Adzin Webii after the stool was desecrated with human blood in a war.

The position of the historians on the lordship of the Gborbu Wulomo is perfectly affirmed in Nungua kusum. During the celebration of the Nungua festival, all the rites from Dudormli nu woo (filing of the sacred pots with water), abele womor ke shwamor (bringing and sprinkling of the sacred corn), Manjwramor (purification of the town), Gbemlilaa (ban on noisemaking and drumming), Gbejee jufor (clearing of ancient paths which is the day the Gborbu wulomo is carried shoulder high from the Gborbu Koomli to Ablorkor Jaanor), Awhitsemor Soo (placing of curfew and invocation of Ahwi), Obeneshimor (the dancing of Obene) etc are all done by the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse. He alone has the sole prerogative to perform all the rites. This attest to the lordship of the Gborbu wulomo Shitse.

Also, it is only the Gborbu wulomo who has the right to sprinkle the sacred meal (Djenten nishwamor) and the holy corn (abele shwamor) at all the sacred places, shrines and temples in Nungua including the shrines of Oshwe, Tsawe and Osabu. No other wulomo in Nungua has the authority to move beyond their shrines in the performance of their rites except the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse and Overlord. Nuumo Akwaaba should have told us what particular rite the Oshwe wulomo or he the Tsawe Wulomo performs during the Nungua Kplejoo festival instead of making those childish statements which doesn’t bring unity but hatred and division.
Numo Otu Akwaaba should know the reason why Tsawe was given to the Odarteitse We people of Nungua. First of all the name is Odarteitse webii. They were part of the Asere Stock and bears names like Ayi, Ayite, Adama, Armah, Ayele, Ayorkor, etc.

They stayed with Nuumo Borkete Larweh and he settled them just behind the Borte We people. Anyone who knows the traditional boundary between Amanfa and Sanshie will attest to the fact that where the Tsawe, Ablie,Onyai and Kanton deities are situated presently is within the territories of Borte Webii of Nungua. This Odarteitse Webii of Asere were later joined by some Mantse We stock led by Odaitsile, Leayea Kokoshiokoo, etc. This Mantse We stock bears names like Odai, Afotey, Afoley, Momo, etc. They were also joined by some stock of Abootse Webii of Tema. This stock bears names like Commey, Tetei, Mante, Abo, Tordi, Abokwe, Abotsoo, etc.

The Tsawe deity was given to the Asere stock of Odarteitse Webii by the Borte Webii when Borle was given to one of their men for marriage. This is the reason why till date when Tsawe is given his annual ram, the head and legs of the ram are taken to Borte webii as an acknowledgment of their ownership of the Tsawe deity.

There are some things we will have to lay bare for all Ga Dangmes to know. First of all our Sanshie brothers are yet to tell us who their leader was. Nii Odai Welentsi III in an interview with Obodai Ashong stated that their leader who brought them was Odai Welentsi and the deity they brought with them was the Angmu (Meridian Rock) whereas some of them maintain that their leader was Odai Akoto and their deity being Oshwe. It is interesting to note here that none of these people including Boye Otu (the one who wrote the article published by the GhanaWeb) was able to cite any authority in their fabricated narration. First of all we want to refer to MJ Fields social organization which stated that the leader of the Akwamu people who came to sought refuge with Nuumo Borkete Larweh, after he has founded and relocated to Nungua, was Odei Koto with his two sons Kwei and Otu and one daughter Momo. According to page 122 of the said book, these Akwamus were refugees who came to seek refuge with Nuumo Borkete Larweh after the defeat and breakup of the Akwamu Kingdom.

Momo’s lineage founded Adzin We after Adzire, Momo’s husband, who was given the Oshwe Stool when it was desecrated with human blood in war. The two sons of Odei Koto founded the present day Kwei We and Ayiku We. This is the reason the Oshwe wulomo became the preserve of the Sanshie people, specifically, the Akwamu refugees. The other Sanshie stock are Moi We (who came from Sempe in Ga Mashie) and Odarteitse We people. (Refer to MJ Fields Social Organisation).

Oshwe is a minor war deity after the Oofu war deity. Oofu is the senior war deity and the leader of the military company of Nuumo Gborbu. This is the reason why during the curfew and Awhitsemor during the Nungua Kplejoo, the leader for that rite is the Oofu Wulomo. It is interesting to know that during the installation of the Oshwe wulomo, he does not sit on the original Oshwe Stool which was given to them (Refer to Nii Odai Ayiku IV interview on Nii ke Naa Krowor TV).

The reason being that the Oshwe wulomo is used as sacrifice to worship the Angmu (Meridian Rock). The Angmu is owned and worshipped by the Lengendary Nuumo Borkete Larweh. He was described as the Priest of the Angmu by MJ Fields (Medicine and religion of the Ga people) and CC Reindolf (History of the Gold Coast and the Asantes). Konor Borkete Larweh was mentioned as the Priest of Angmu te (meridian rock) which worship involved human sacrifice. In the worship of the Angmu, Nuumo Borkete Larweh parts the sea for his contingents including the Oshwe wulomo to enter the sea. After the worship, however, the Oshwe wulomo is left behind as sacrifice for the Angmu (See: Kane Mormi Okwe3 book 3 page 44 Chapter 21). The Kple lala “Ni ahwili Akwamu awo nshormli, ni edu loo ni edu Commey” attest to the Akwamu sacrifice at the Angmu.

We believe Nuumo Akwaaba has allowed himself to be used by some power mongers within the Sanshi quarters whose stock in trade has always been to foment trouble whenever the Nungua festival is on for the mere fact that they have no rite or role to play in the festival. We want to remind our Sanshi brothers of the declaration they made in 1997 in which they declared amongst other things that “we resolve that we shall under no circumstances interfere with the Gborbu Wulomo’s right in organizing and celebrating the Nungua Kplejoo festival”.

We want to petition the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse, who is the custodian of the heritage of the Legendary Borkete Larweh to be mindful of these fabrications and distortions aimed at denigrating our legend and his heritage. We want to entreat the Gborbu Wulomo Shitse to start applying customary sanction to those minor wulomei who have made it their business to attack and disrespect the Nuumo Gborbu Stool.