Chieftaincy is a traditional system of ruling by a chief. The history of the chieftaincy institution dates as far back as the creation of the land. In the old days, when people settle at a particular place, there is always the need to have a leader among them, who will always lead them. And this has lived with us till date. Normally, the person who becomes the chief is the leader from the first family. Chiefs in the Bulsa land are no exception to the above statement, they rule their areas with a council of elders who advise them as well as help make laws and pass judgments.
Chiefs in Bulsa land are elected before enskinned. The election of a chief in the Bulsa culture follows a routine ritual of fixed rules and a time-honored procedure. Bulsa paramount chief election is unique. The Nab is the title for a chief among the Bulsa. Sandema Nab is the paramount chief who has traditional and executive powers of installing chiefs for the towns in the Bulsa district. The paramountcy refers to the topmost chief of an area thus the Sandema Nab.
The Bulsas, administratively occupy two districts (Bulsa North and Bulsa South Districts) in the Upper East region of Ghana, according to oral narrations, descended from the Mamprugu Kingdom.
Sandema became the most important town following their ability to mobilize the others in the area in defending and protecting the whole kingdom, especially from slave raiders. Reigning over important towns like Wiaga, Siniesi, Doninga, Kanjaga, Kadema, Gbedema, Uasi, Fumbisi, Bachansi, Chuchuliga and Gbedemblisi, Sandema happens to be the royal capital of Bulsa land.
The mode of selecting a chief in the Bulsa traditional area follows “who has the majority” of heads of house owners (Yeri-nyam). Basically, only Yeri-nyam can vote. So, take for instance Sandema, only Yeri-nyams from communities that makeup Sandema are permitted to vote and elect a Naab for Sandema. Before voting commence, candidates have the volition to go for a door-to-door campaign to make their intentions known to the various households. The system is run such that the electorates (Yeri-nyam) stand by the candidate of their choice and the candidate with the majority of Yeri-nyam is declared the winner. Candidates must be from the royal family of Abil-yeri and their lineage must have at least been a chief.
The Bulsa Traditional Area has remained relatively peaceful with a very stable and powerful chieftaincy system that has existed for more than a century. They have had powerful chiefs like Abil, who was the first chief of Sandema, he was succeeded by nine other chiefs before Azantilow, late Nab Dr Ayieta Azantinlow 1st was the tenth Bulsa King and Paramount Chief of Buluk.
The ascension of Nab Dr. Ayieta Azantinlow to the Buluk paramountcy in December 1931, who succeeded his elder brother Nab Agaasa Ayieta, has helped to make the area peaceful and he subsequently reigned for seventy-five years. At the time of his death on the 14th November 2006, he was one of the longest reigning Paramount Chiefs in Ghana. He had many wives, children, and several grand and great grandchildren.
The last time an election was organized was in June 2012 of which Azagsuk Azantilow the second was elected as the Sandema Nab, making him the eleventh Bulsa king.