YAMOA, a community on the northern fringes of the Birim North District (flanking Gyamasekese, Kwahu South Municipality) of the Eastern Region of Ghana, was founded by my great maternal granduncle, Yaw Amoa, of blessed memory. Yaw Amoa, aforementioned, hailed from Obo, Kwahu South Municipality, Eastern Region of Ghana.
Yaw Amoa, held a large portion of farm land in the Pankese kingdom following the inflow of Okwawu migrants from Adanse led by Osei Twum from the 1600s; other migrants were to follow from Denkyira, Nyanewase, Akwamu, etc later. The migration was caused by the incessant fratricidal and expansionist wars among the indigenous states of Adanse, Denkyira, Asante, Akwamu, etc.
After consolidating their settlements on the Okwawu scarp, the new settlers soon realised the land was unsuitable for any large-scale farming. They descended the Odweanoma Mountains onto the relatively level fields beneath to appropriate the vast expanse of virgin forests. They moved in groups of families, friends or neighbours from specific towns.
The local chief from whose domain his people had migrated gave political, defence and economic protection to those settlers and their settlements and asserted his dominion over them. It was with such practice that all the seventeen towns of the Okwawu State own lands in the Afram Plains and at the foot of the Odweanoma, sharing boundaries with Akyem Abuakwa, Akyem Kotoku, Asante and Bono East beyond the Afram River.
In view of such economic migration, Amoa procured farm lands from the Pankesehene at a site that was later curiously named as Abokyikrom. He built his hamlet there near a stream he named Ne-no-nsan-hwe, i.e. ‘link up for the effects’. He tilled the land for both food crop and cash crop. Cocoa cultivation was the trend in those days following its introduction in Ghana by Tetteh Quarshie in 1897.
‘Abokyikrom’ suggests a hamlet, village or town named after a persona called ‘Abokyi’. How then did the name ‘Abokyi’ come to be associated with Amoa’s hamlet? The answer is rather intriguing.
Amoa, having settled on his land, was later joined by his two friends, Kwame Dwamena and Kwame Kyere. (Amoa first began his farming business at Amanfrom and Miawani, near Nkawkaw in Kwahu West). They perched with Amoa on the latter’s land for company. Amoa, being the first settler, was their leader or chief; he made Dwamena his second in command, i.e. Krontihene and Kyere, the Akwamuhene – the third in order of seniority. (In chieftaincy circles, the Akwamuhene is credited with armed force or, if you like, the army commander).
In the course of time, Amoa paid a visit to Obo. He left the state of affairs in the hands of Dwamena, supported by Kyere. It was during that time that Amoa fell ill and died.
Dwamena, still living at Amoa’s hamlet, was said to have been famous for the production of cola nuts. He naturally attracted dealers or buyers from Hausa speakers from other territories. As those dealers trekked to Dwamena’s home to transact their cola nut trade, they continually announced their endpoint as Abokyi krom, i.e. Abokyi’s hamlet, village or town. (Abokyi in the Hausa language means ‘my friend’). While the cola nut trade boomed with Dwamena as the principal actor, the traders persisted in their use of Abokyi to identify their friend and chief supplier of their stock-in-trade at Amoa’s cottage. Soon, Abokyi and krom were fused together to become a household name; it developed beyond a hamlet into a town with that strange identity of a name!
Following the demise of Yaw Amoa, his cousin, Kwame Amankwaa, then living at Ahantanang close to Nkawkaw, succeeded him; he naively kept to the town’s queer name, unaware of looming difficulties and confusion that were likely to surface in the future among contesting parties, some bursting with misinformation, disinformation and mischief! Kwadwo Yiadom, alias Kwadwo Donkor, Amankwaa’s cousin and successor, did nothing about that name either.
I managed the affairs of the former Abokyikrom during the twilight years of Kwadwo Yiadom between 1990 and 1992; later, I did abdicate to engage in party politics: the new Ghanaian constitution of 1992 frowned on chiefs doing active party politics! Later still, I went back to the town to break the news - which they never were willing to accept - to them.
On my second re-entry to the throne in 2011, I sought counsel with the relevant bodies to alter the name of the town. On July 24, 2019 the relevant instruments for the town’s new name of YAMOA was approved in No. 109 of Government of Ghana gazette. (YAMOA, for ease of reference, is the shortened form of YAW AMOA of sacred memory).
I need to stress that even though I am the first-ever sworn-in Chief of Yamoa before Nana Pankesehene, I cannot discount the earlier groundwork or contributions made by my three forebears. Consequently, I hereby assume the position of the fourth occupant of the Yamoa Stool.