OKYEMAN is a traditional area in the
Eastern Region of Ghana.
Historically, it has been attested that the AKYEMS were one of the
first Akan tribes to migrate southwards after the fall of the
ancient SONGHAI EMPIRE. The Akyem states, commonly known as "AKYEM
MANSA", consists of three main independent states, all grouped in
the Eastern Region, with common language, culture, customs and
historical background. The states are:
The Akyems, according to history were a
part of the then all powerful Adansi
first nation to build mud houses in
their kingdom at that time; hence the name "Adansi" (Builders). The
Ashanti Kingdom emerged and under the leadership of Nana Osei Tutu,
they fought and defeated the Adansis about the 14th Century and
absorbed the Adansi Kingdom into the growing
The Akyem nations which were then part of the
Adansi Kingdom, broke away and crossed the River Pra to settle on
its banks to avoid becoming subjects of the Ashantis. Nana Osei Tutu
decided to pursue them across the River Pra to teach them a lesson.
That was a great miscalculation! While
crossing the river with his army,
he was shot by the Akyems who were lying in ambush on the other side
of the river. He fell dead into the river. This was on a Thursday;
hence, the great oath of the Ashantis, ("Meka Yawada"- I swear by
Thursday). For this, the Akyems who carried out this defeat became
known as "Abuakwanfo" or "Abuakwafo", (Guerrilla Fighters). The
Ashantis retreated and this tragedy made it a taboo for any Ashanti
King up to the time of Nana Prempeh I (circa 1900) to cross the
River Pra to the south except their armies.
Akyem Abuakwa, like all Akan nation-states and
tribes, inherit properties and
stools through their Maternal clan,
except where a personal WILL, affecting the person's personally
acquired property has been made in the presence of
family and a form of customary rites have been performed, before
such a WILL is accepted as valid by the family. The practice
excludes Stools in any form in the Akan states. The clan which has
ruled and continues to rule in both Akyem Abuakwa and Akwapim
paramountcy is the ASONA clan of the ancestry of Nana Kuntunkununku
I, "Odiahene Kan" (first King) of Akyem Abuakwa.
The ODWIRA festival is celebrated yearly
in December or early January. The Odwira (purification) is a very
important festival during which the whole state, symbolized by the
stools, is purified of all its evils. The first stool to be purified
is the "Great Paramount Stool" followed by the other stools, one
after the other, until all the stools in the state have been
In Akyem Abuakwa, the Okyeman Council has
decided that the celebration of Odwira Kese should be at intervals
of 5 or 10 years as the Paramount stool and the Okyeman Council may
decide. However, theOkuapimhene and the Amanokromhene,
who took the Odwira festival to Akwapim, celebrate it annually in
Akwapim with the Okyenhene or his representative attending.
year, unless decided by the Okyenhene and the Okyeman Council to
celebrate it as "Odwira
Kese", the festival is
celebrated as an ordinary (Mpaegum) with no fanfare. However, when
it is declared as an "Odwira Kese", all the chiefs in Akyem Abuakwa
in their respective positions and paraphernalia, including the
Okuapimhene and the Amanokromhene, are invited to attend the
festival and pay homage to the Paramount Stool at Kyebi.
The term "Odwira" means
purification of the state at the end of the Akan calendar
year. During the celebration, digging and farming are prohibited.
The celebration takes a week with various activities taking place
each day, and on the final day, the Okyenhene sits in state to
receive homage from his chiefs and people, as well as from firms and
organizations in and outside Akyem Abuakwa state.
The Akyems give thanks to
God for the blessed land with natural resources. There is a
time of the year where the toil of the ancesstors is remembered to
make the Akyem land what it is. The festival celebrating this
is the Ohum Festival. The Ohum festival is celebrated in Akyem
Abuakwa in two parts; the Ohumkan and the Ohumkyire. they also
pledge allegiance to their chief.