The customs and traditions of Simpa established by Osimpam followed those of their Guan ancestry. They practiced patrilineal succession to Stools and other traditional offices. The people of ancient Simpa practiced this until around the late 1850s when Princess Ayensuah’s son, Kwesi Eguase (also a grandson of King Bortse Komfo Amu), was accepted by the Otuano House and enstooled as King Acquah I in 1858.
This was nearly 500 years after the establishment of Simpa. Unfortunately, this development had the blessing of Kwamena Akyeampong, son of Gyarteh III, then heir apparent. He was said to have approved Kwesi Eguase to act in his stead while he (Kwamena Akyeampong) attended to his thriving business across Anomabo and Takoradi. At this time in the history of the Effutu people, Akan culture of matrilineal succession was creeping into the coastal patriachial communities; from Eguafo to Senya. It was later that the adoption of the ebusua (clan) custom among a section of the people gave a different interpretation to the enstoolment of Kwesi Eguase as King Acquah I to mean matrilineal inheritance for Simpa. Contrary to the false claims by some modern-day revisionists, a dual system of succession was never the case for Simpa but entirely alien to it.
Kwesi Eguase was the nephew of King Ayirebi whose sister was Princess Ayensua. These royals; King Ayirebi and Princess Ayensua were the offspring of King Bortse Komfo Amu and Adom Congo, with Adom Congo being a slave in the King’s household. As a slave girl she was not one of the Effutu people and had no relations aamong them because she was brought in by the King who owned her. When Acquah I died, Kwamena Akyeampong, son of Gyarteh Kuma (Ghartey III), took up his rightful place as King Ghartey IV and also reigned successfully till his death in 1897.
Then it so happened that after the death of King Ghartey IV, notwithstanding his request put before the colonial administrators to permit succession traditionally along the male line, confusion ensued as to who was rightful to inherit the stool. His son, Robert Johnson Ghartey Jnr. lost the opportunity to inherit his father. With a taste of what was inherent in the ebusua custom, the family of Acquah I believed that Simpa should also inherit matrilineally just as the Fantes around them with the ebusua playing the key role as kingmakers. The embattled Gomoa Assin chief, Nana Kojo Nkum with strong influence within the colonial administration managed and had the nephew of Acuah I, Kojo Abeka Robertson to be enstooled instead. Kojo Abeka Robertson as the next king became King Acquah II. This was achieved through the connivance of Frederick Hodgson, then Acting Governor of the Gold Coast. (Nana Kojo Nkum,’s role in all this scheming was to compensate the Acquahs for the support they gave him in getting Winneba on the side of Gomoa Assin in a case against Gomoa Ajumako.) By that coup, the proponents of matrilineal succession succeeded, once again, to outwit the Otuano House which was preparing to enstool Robert Johnson Ghartey Jnr, the eldest son of King Ghartey IV.
The proponents of matrilineal succession in Simpa held sway for some time and ensured the reign of Acquah II. He was deposed in 1905 for financial impropriety but was reinstated in 1909, following the intervention of Commissioner Elliot of the Central Province. King Acquah II eventually died in 1914. It is crucial at this juncture to dilate on the relationship between the two kings supposedly nominated through matrilineal succession. Kojo Abeka’s mother was Madam Adjoa Obema; a step-daughter to the father of Acqauh I, and therefore, his (Eguase’s) step-sister. She was hence not the biological daughter of Princess Ayensua. Also of importance to rebuff the argument of matrilineal succession in Simpa was the fact that Kojo Abeka did not have a sister and so did not have a nephew who would have succeeded him in the female line of succession through his mother, Adjoa Obema. It is this fact that heightened the struggle to enstool Kow Embir Sackey (a.k.a. Albert Mould Sackey) as King Ayirebi Acquah III following the demise of Acquah II. Again, with support of King Kojo Nkum of Gomoa Assin, his collaborators used the ebusua factor to great effect. This time, Sackey’s scheming involved some Asafo (local militia) heads as well as some divisional chiefs, notably the Chief of Nsuekyir which was matrilineal because they were Fantes who had migrated into Simpa from Anokyi. Sackey’s manoeuvring included the claim that there was a second stool house by name “Ayirebi” house established by King Ayirebi which linked his matrilineal lineage to the Paramount Stool of Simpa. The colonial government put together a team of arbitrators to look at the problem but their finding was unambiguous; “that there was only one stool which was the one at Otuano”.
Notwithstanding these developments, the usual scheming spearheaded by Nana Kojo Nkum, succeeded in getting the colonial authorities to consent to the out-dooring of Sackey as King Ayirebi Acquah III. Of course, Sackey and his family had to accept conditions set by the colonial authorities before ascending the stool on 22nd May 1919. Strangely enough, the Otuano/Ghartey family was left out of that deal. Nevertheless, these developments do not in any way fit the tradition of matrilineal succession as practiced by Akan communities. In practice, an eligible candidate for matrilineal succession traces his ancestry through the mother to the matriarch who founded that settlement or state. Simpa was not founded by any woman known in history. The proponents of matrilineal succession to the Simpa stool have failed woefully over the years to establish who that woman was that founded Simpa. It was not Princess Ayensua; by the time King Bortse komfo Amu impregnated the slave girl, Adom Congo to give birth to Princess Ayensua, Simpa had long been founded and several kings enthroned onto that stool.
King Ayirebi never had children of his own but one of his wives, Fosuwa, had a child named Akosua Kwaaba prior to the marriage. It was one of Akosua Kwaaba’s three children, Madam Essuon, who gave birth to Kow Embir Sackey. Akosua Kwaaba was, thus, a step-daughter, not of Otuano descent nor were her daughters. It is obvious that there was no consanguineous relationship between the three women, i.e. Ayensua, Adjoa Obema and Madam Essuon who gave birth to the three Acquahs. And none of the three women originated from Simpa! Not unexpectedly, soon after his entsoolment, King Ayirebi Acquah III started dismantling the patrilineal structures which had existed centuries before him; that was a deliberate attempt to create his own dynasty with matrilineal succession as its basis. Among others, he set out to appoint a new line of kingmakers for the Effutu State. Fortunately, this time around, the hierarchy of Otuano Royal House saw through his machinations and took a decisive step which ensured that his plans never saw the light of day. Sackey’s new set of king makers was never gazetted! In their petition published below, the Otuano Elders successfully argued their case: