Indigenes of Dagbon from the Northern Region, who are domiciled in the United Kingdom (UK), have come together to form an association to promote unity towards the development of Dagbon, as well as promote unity and cohesion within the Dagbon community in the UK.
According to the executives, “although DUUK is called Dagbon Union, membership is open to all descendants of Naa Gbewa the Great: Mamprugu Nanug and of course our “slaves” the Moshies. Non Dagombas born and bred in Dagbon are also eligible to join”.
The association, which is non-political and non-religious, was originally formed in 2012, and christened the Dagbon Union UK (DUUK).
The association, which started with few members who used to meet at each other homes, currently, has about 200 members, including adults and children
Addressing the Union at the official inauguration ceremony, the Chairman, Alhaji Alhassan Mbalba said, “DUUK is non- political, non- religious non- sectarian and any other artificial division we have imposed on ourselves as a tribe.”
He stated that, the aims and objectives of the union was also to “Inculcate our cultural beliefs, practices and values into our children. We are mindful that cultural 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.”
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].
According to the Chairman, “as an infant union we have had and continue to have our fair share of teething problems: Some of 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 and we have chalked some successes eg 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 branches in every big town and city in the UK”.
He said, “Notwithstanding our financial constraints we have been able to make book donations to University for Development Studies and Tamale central library and welfare service to our members.
Alhaji Mbalba mentioned, “Mr Guest speaker and all invited guest our short -term goal is to be organizing Damba festival every year and medium to long term goal : is to sell the idea of DUUK’s model as a template to all Dagombas- especially those living in diaspora -ie 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 event: Home-Coming or Dagbon Diaspora Conference for Joined up thinking or brainstorming the developmental needs and goals of Dagbon”.
He indicated that “DUUK 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”. `
The well-organized event was also graced by Dr. Abdul Nasir Issahaku, the Governor of Bank of Ghana, as 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 High Commission also represented Ambassador Victor Smith.
Meanwhile, in a short statement read on his behalf, Dr. Ibn Chambas commended the union executives for reviving the association.
He said, “Hearty congratulations 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.”
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 “Only the other day, I came across the name Bonaboto, which is an organization of people from the Upper East Region. I used to think that Bonaboto stood for Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Bongo and Tongo”.
“I am told the true meaning of the words Bona Boto 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 herlp 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.