The title of Agbotadua is imperative and inherent in EƲE chieftaincy, cultural and traditional practices especially the Anlos. Agbotadua is mainly a man from maternal side of the chief’s family which was specially and carefully screened and selected for his courage and valour at the chief’s election and nomination (Mamattah, 1976).
Family property sharing is guided largely by gender identity and traditional belief systems by the people of Anlos. For example, gender identity pointing to paternal members of every family of Anlos inherit the lion shares and the most important properties of the family, whereas, maternal members receive nothing or less based on special circumstances. The idea was that female or maternal members of one family will automatically form a new union or marry to another paternal family elsewhere to protect their interest, family and properties. This situation played out in almost of every facet of Anlos’ way of life including leadership, belief systems, traditions and culture.
Unlike, lands, cars, houses, etc which are physical properties that can be shared based on the gender identity mentioned above among other circumstances, leadership positions such King (head of clan(s), tribe(s), family(ies), town(s), kingdom(s)) (Encyclopedia, 2021), Agbotadua (assistant chief or deputy chief), Stool father (Zikpuitor), family heads (council of elders or kingmakers; made up of both paternal and maternal members), royal gate or principal heads/members (i.e nominators), Tsiami (Chief Linguist), Hlortator (specific clan head) (Mamattah, 1976) are intangibles roles (Asafokla, 2019).
According to Ewe legends, there are two types of regents i.e “𝑭𝒊𝒂𝒅𝒐𝒎𝒆𝒈𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒍𝒂” (literally means the bearer of king’s identity). This type of regent completely holds the position of a deceased chief or king until a new one has been installed. The second type of regent is called “𝑭𝒊𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒇𝒆𝒏𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒂” (literally means the chief or king’s position holder). In this kind, the regent is appointed to hold the position of a king or chief who is indisposed, sick, travelled, too young to rule immediately, or any other circumstances that could hold or delay the performance of the king.
Even though Agbotadua was described as a deputy chief, he cannot act as a chief or king when the king dies. Regent is always the best replacer of the king. This is because Agbotadua is maternally related to the throne and therefore cannot assume the headship of the paternal family.
Some of these positions are absolutely inherited either to paternal or maternal lines. These are;
- King – Paternal only
- Agbotadua – Maternal only
- Regent – Paternal (Fiatefenorla could vary, depending on the king’s choice)
- Stoolfather (Zikpuitor) – Paternal only
- Council of Elders or Kingmakers – Both Paternal and Maternal
- Hlortator (specific clan head) – Both Paternal and Maternal
- Family Heads – Paternal only (Kludze, 1987; Onakoya, 2015)
- Royal gate or principal heads/members (nominators) – Paternal only (Onakoya, 2015)
- Tsiami (Chief Linguist) – Paternal (Research Directorate, 2003) (may vary only on limited reasons)
The popular Agbotadua is called Agbotadua Kumassah, who was born at Anyako, in the Keta Municipality of the Volta Region of Ghana in 1943. Agbotadua Kumassah held and holds many positions in religious, educational, social and political arches in his community and outside. He is the current Secretary of Anlo Agbotaduawo Traditional Council and the Agave Clan Union of Anlo. Agbotadua Kumassah was installed Agbotadua to Togbi Tay Abgozo stool in 1979. He combines his traditional responsibilities and Christian duties well to the admiration of many.
𝙉𝙤𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣, 𝙎𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙤𝙛 𝘼𝙜𝙗𝙤𝙩𝙖𝙙𝙪𝙖
The kingmakers or council of elders as earlier stated are made up of both paternal and maternal families. During the nomination, the nominators of the principal members (paternal only) are permitted to bring out their candidates for the kingship whilst the maternal families are also requested to bring forward their candidates for the position of Agbotadua. This process is sometimes carried out with other allied positions such as Tsiami (Chief Linguist), Mama (queenmother), etc.
After the nomination and selection, installation follow suit by confining the candidates for seven days. A lots of rituals and prayers are performed to the throne, gods and the king and agbotadua to-be. One significant ritual perform for Agbotadua is the picking of the head of the ram slaughtered for the stool and the king (Asafokla, 2019). Furthermore, the head of the ram when used to prepare food (i.e Dzemkple), only maternal members of such family are allowed to eat it. According to EƲE legends, Agbotadua is the main logistic officer in charge of supply and replenishment such as aminations, armory and food to the warrior king during the times of war. It was further explained that this role of assisting the warrior kings are reserved for maternal family members only. This insight coupled with the introductory paragraphs which demonstrated the dual existence of spiritual or supreme beings are much intimate.
𝙁𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨, 𝙧𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙥𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙞𝙗𝙞𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝘼𝙜𝙗𝙤𝙩𝙖𝙙𝙪𝙖
The role of Agbotadua is to proceed before the chief in battle. However, with the era of development, functions of Agbotadua is to assist the chief in dispute settlement, codification of customary law, arrangement of ceremonies and festivals, organisation of communal labour and promotion of socioeconomic development (Morton, 2016; Augustine, 2016). Chiefs have been involved in the development of their areas since precolonial times (KLEIST, 2011; Rozalska, 2016). They are the custodians of the lands. Agbotadua is to assist the king to execute their functions successfully.
By: Torgbuiga Akpo Ashiakpor VI, Paramount Chief of WETA TRADITIONAL AREA