President John Evans Atta Mills, at the weekend joined scores of mourners at Chiana, near Bolgatanga in the Upper East region for the final funeral rites of the late Chiana-Pio, Pe Rowland Adiali Ayagitam, an illustrious son of the nation.
President Mills, who together with the chiefs and people of the area, defied a heavy downpour to grace the funeral, paid glowing tribute to the memory of the late Paramount Chief of Chiana who he said contributed a lot to the development of the country.
“He served his nation well and distinguished himself as a true patriot,” said President Mills who was accompanied by the Chief of Staff, John Henry Martey-Newman, ministers of state and other government functionaries to the funeral.
Delivering his tribute in honour of the late Chiana-Pio, who was the first literate chief of the region and Speaker of the Consultative Assembly that drafted the 1992 constitution, President Mills lauded the exploits of the late paramount chief who ruled from 1950 to 2006, saying “he was a role model and a trail blazer.”
According to the President, part of the credit for Ghana ’s democratic credentials should go to the late Chiana-Pio for the role he played in the Consultative Assembly that built the foundation for Ghana ’s democracy.
“This was someone who was selfless and prepared to serve his country,” he said, adding that he did his best to ensure peace in the Upper East region.
He appealed to the kingmakers to let the truth guide them in choosing a successor to the skin saying the best honour the royal family could bestow on him was to ensure a peaceful succession.
The funeral, which was characterised by traditional drumming, dancing and firing of musketry, was also attended by Members of Parliament, representatives of the opposition, heads of institutions in the region and foreign dignitaries.
Born in 1932, Pe Ayagitam was installed Chiano-Pio in 1950 and rose to become the President of the National House of Chiefs, after presiding over the Upper East Regional House of Chiefs for many years.
In 1974, the Chiana-Pio, who was a member of the Council of State, was awarded the Grand Medal for his contribution to national development, and again honoured with the Order of the Volta in 2000 for promoting peace in his region.
Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister, reading a tribute on behalf of the region, said the late chief who held various regional and national positions, was very instrumental in developing various initiatives that contributed to enhanced governance and the progress of the chieftaincy institution.
He described the death of the chief as a great loss to the nation, and urged the people of Chiana and the bereaved family to take solace in the fact that they were associated with a chief who gave of his best for the nation.
The Regent of Chiana Traditional Area, Innocent Kwaratugu Ayagetem, in his tribute, said the people of Chiana were sincerely proud of their late chief.
He called for government’s support to complete projects initiated by the late Chiana-Pio including the building of an irrigation dam.