Hundreds of members of the Sakpare Clan of the Gonja Kingdom including Clerics, Academicians, Professionals and others will converge at Buipe in the Central Gonja District of the Savannah Region to offer prayers for the Gonja Kingdom at the premises of the Mausoleum of the founder of the Gonja Ndewura Jakpa as well as the Grave of Fatigi- Morukpe, a Muslim Spiritualist of Ndewura Jakpa and the father of the Gonja Sakpare Clan and Imamate.

Later in the day the Sakpares from Buipe, Kafaba, Mankpan, Deber, Mpaha, Busunu, Damongo, Kpembe, Wasipe, Bole, Tuluwe Mankpan, Mpaha, Kong, Kusawgu, Kulaw, Kpanshiegu etc led by the Yagbon Imam (Supreme Chief Imam of Gonjaland/Savannah Region and the Custodian of Gonja Islamic Spirituality) and the Buipe Imam (leader of the capital of Sakpares) are expected to be at the Central Gonja District Assembly Hall for a conference on Sakpare issues.

Buipe Chief Imam Alhaji Seidu Saaka (left) and Yagbon Imam Sheik Abdulai Kassim (right)

Bole based Nkilgi Fm on its morning show on Friday 18th May, 2023 spoke to Imam Salue Yussif Kamagtey, a Sakpare man and one of the organizers of the Sakpare Conference and he said the conference will start with prayers for the new King and Overlord of Gonja Yagbonwura Bii-Kunuto (I) and the Gonja Kingdom as a whole.

Giving a brief background of Sakpare affairs in the Gonja Kingdom, Imam Salue said the formation of the Gonja state was synonymous with the introduction of Islam and that the Sakpare Imamate of Gonja was founded by Isma’il Kamagtey a renowned Faqih (an Islamic Jurist) and his son Muhammad Al-Abyad otherwise known as Fatigi- Morukpe.

He said the religion of Islam was established in the Gonja Kingdom as far back as the 17th Century and Islam has been articulated in the Gonja societies and was made a state religion through the creation of the Sakpare Imamate.

Imam Salue Yussif Kamagtey explained that the relationship between the royal class and the Clerical group crystallised into a blend of tradition with Islam which has co-existed for centuries now.

He further said the Sakpares of Gonja in the past enjoyed religious legitimacy in the Gonja state for centuries but of late the Sakpares who are the guardians of Islam in Gonja Islam have complained about marginalization and belittling of their ascribed role in Gonja since the days of Ndewura Jakpa.

According to Imam Salue Sakpares are agitating to still maintain their monopoly over socio-religious affairs and ensure the preservation of the ideals of Islam in Gonja.

Brief History of Gonja Sakpares

The Gonja Sakpares are descendants of
Fatigi-  Murkpe (Mallam Mohammed Labayiru), a companion of Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa who led Gonjas from 1675 to 1697 to establish the Gonja Kingdom which mostly falls on the geographical boundaries of the Savannah Region today.

It is narrated that from Mande or Gizi Sumaila Ndewura Jakpa and his army, on reaching Jah, the first port of call, came into contact with Fatigi- Morukpe, a very powerful Mallam, and made friends with him.

Jakpa solicited Fatigi- Morukpe’s company for his impending adventures, so that he would be an intermediary to offer prayers to God, so as to divert mishaps and evil in his exploits.

Jakpa promised to pay a tribute of a hundred pairs of every domestic animal including one hundred slaves, cattle, horses, and gowns.

In the ensuing friendship that developed, anywhere Jakpa conquered and left behind a son Fatigi- Morukpe also replicated with a son.

Fati Morukpe’s descendants now form the Sakpare (Traditional Gonja Muslim) section in every division of Gonja.

The Gonja Sakpares can therefore be found in most of the divisions of the Gonja Kingdom.

Sakpares are mostly spiritually versed in the Quran and are the Imams and Islamic spiritual leaders who offer prayers and supplicating for Gonja Chiefs from the lowest level to the Gonja King.
The Gonja Sakpare are also mostly responsible for the Traditional religious affairs of the Kingdom especially during weddings, funerals, Outdoorings etc.

The Sakpare Imamate of the Gonja Kingdom of which the Yagbon Imam is the Supreme Chief Imam, has been well established in the Gonja traditional arrangement over centuries.

The Yagbon Imam is the Supreme Chief Imam of the Gonja Kingdom (Savannah Region).

The Yagbon Imam is the Custodian of the Gonja Islamic spirituality and is attached to the Yagbonwura’s Palace or Jakpa Palace (Palace of the King and Overlord of Gonja) and seve as the grand Mufti and the Supreme Chief Imam of the Gonja state.