President John Evans Atta Mills has announced a state funeral for Mr Edward Kojo Salia, MP for Jirapa, who died earlier this month, describing him as a person who left a legacy for the nation.
"We received the news (of his death) with great sadness. We knew for quite some time now he was not well, but we did not expect the good Lord will call him soon," the President said, when a delegation of the family, Members Parliament and chiefs from the Jirapa Traditional Area, in the Upper West called on him at the Castle, Osu in Accra, to formally inform him of the death and funeral of the late legsislator, who also served once as Minister of Transport and Communication in the late 1990's.
The funeral of the late MP would be held on March 20 and 21, 2009 at Chepuri, near Jirapa in the Upper West Region, family Spokesman Prof. Bruce Banoeng-Yakubu, announced.
President Mills traced his links with the late Mr Salia to the 1970s when the late legislator happened to be his student, adding that, they both later served in 1997 under the then Rawlings Administration.
President Mills said Mr Salia was one of the people he considered for Running Mate in the 2000 elections, and recalled the unflinching support he had from the late Mr Salia in the run-up to the 2008 elections.
The President expressed regret at the death of Mr Salia, and extended his condolence to the widow, Mrs Mary Asunta Salia, the family, the Jirapa Na and the people of Jirapa Area.
President Mills said he had agreed jointly with the leadership of Parliament to give a State Burial to the late Mr Salia, who he described as a good friend and good patriot, who sacrificed his life for the progress of Ghana.
"Edward was a hero, and we will mourn him, and give him a fitting funeral," the President said.
Vice President Dramani Mahama eulogised Mr Salia for his pioneering role in the deregulation of telecommunication in Ghana, saying he would be remembered as the "father of modern telecommunication in Ghana."
He said the late MP came under a lot of attack during the pioneering days of telecommunication deregulation exercise, but the presence of cell phones even in rural areas was as a result of the efforts of Mr Salia.
On his human relations, the Vice President said Mr Salia bore no malice against anyone.