The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, is a rightful national celebrity who has not been celebrated for the illustrious contribution he has made to Ghana’s development. And the anomaly has remained for too long and should be corrected as soon as practicable.
This was the consensus from the National Conference of Presiding Members held in the Eastern Regional Capital, Koforidua on Thursday.
Among the leading proponent for a national decoration of the longest serving Parliamentarian in Ghana’s history and one of the longest serving Legislators in Africa was the National Dean of Presiding Members, Hon. Joseph Korto.
Delivering an address at the 2021 national conference of Presiding Members, Hon. Korto highlighted the distinguished track record of the Speaker. “Rt. Hon. Speaker of the 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic and the longest serving MP in the history of the country, Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who is also one of the greatest Parliamentarians in Africa, a leading member of Parliamentarians for Global Action and the father of Parliament in the 4th Republic.
“In fact, he deserves to be celebrated by the whole nation in a grand style,” Hon. Joseph Korto declared to thunderous claps from participants in Koforidua.
According to him, the fact that the man who has had the most impact on Ghana’s Fourth Republican Democracy is an indictment that shows that indeed the country does not celebrate its heroes.
He warned that a country that does not celebrate its heroes is not worth dying for.
Hon. Korto, who is also the Greater Accra Regional Dean of Presiding Members and the longest serving Assembly Member in the country said as Speaker, Hon. Bagbin is the father of all PMs.
“That is why on the 24th of February, 2021, we pleaded with the Rt. Hon. Speaker in our petition over our conditions of service,” he said appealing to Parliament to assist their father to bring improvement into their conditions of service.
Among other things, the PMs have appealed for their tenure which is just two years, to be extended to run at parallels with the tenures of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives whose tenure run for four years.
They also want government to furnish presiding members with vehicles instead of motorcycles for their mobility.
The well attended conference had been chaired by a Council of State Member, Professor Ato Essuman, who had stood in for the Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Daasebre Otuo Siriboe II.
Also in attendance were the President of NALAG, Bismark Baisie Inkum, the Greater Accra representative on the Council of State, Mr. E.T. Mensah.
Prof. Ato Essuman said he was in support of the suggestion by the National Dean of Presiding Members and his colleagues that Speaker Bagbin must be decorated for his outstanding contribution to Ghana’s democracy.
Later in an interview on the sidelines of the conference, he said the decoration should have been done a long time ago but that the institutions that Speaker Bagbin served on, especially Parliament, should have carried it out.
Mr. Michael Ahwireng, the Easstern Regional Dean and the national treasurer of PMs was unhappy that Speaker Bagbin could not make it to the conference due to circumstances beyond his control but was full of praise for him. So was Mr. Patrick Laweh Osanyonmor Atitiati, the Tema West Municipal Assembly Presiding Member.
The Presiding Members including Togbe Xadzi II, Volta regional Dean of PMs, Mr. Isaac Ohemeng Prempeh, the Ashanti regional Dean of PMs, Mr. Kweku Nyarkoh-Koomson, Central regional Dean of PMs, Pastor Ibrahim Sebiyam, North East regional Dean of PMs and Mr. Abdulai Mohammed, Northern regional Dean of PMs doffed-off their hats for Speaker Bagbin and used the occasion to bestow gift tokens to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of some former PMs who have been helpful to the cause of Assemblies, including Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.
They all received gift souvenirs. Mrs. Emelia Agyemfra Donkor, presiding member of Ablekuma West Municipal Assembly and Mrs. Beatrice Kyei, another Presiding Member, mesmerized the gathering with their brilliant speeches, likewise Professor Ato Essuman and Mrs. Eva Opoku, a representative of the communications minister.
Mr. Paa Kofi Ansong, the Eastern Regional representative of the Council of State, after donating GH¢ 20,000.00 on behalf of his colleagues Council of State members later said “if the whole nation honours Speaker Bagbin for his good works, it really makes sense and I support the PMs and Professor Ato Essuman for saying that the Speaker should be honoured by the whole nation”.
The General Secretary of Presiding Members, Mr. Fred Kwame Agbogbo, used the occasion to advise Presiding Members across the country to unite and promote the interest of the Association of PMs and Assembly members in general.
Columnist: Spike Consult, Contributor