Prez. Mills with family members of the late Salia PRESIDENT JOHN Mills has accepted a proposal by Members of Parliament (MPs) to honour their late colleague Edward Salia, MP for Jirapa, with a State burial.
The president described him as a man who had “served and sacrificed for his country, and we believe the least we can do is to accord him a befitting burial.”
President Mills made the remarks when he received a delegation from late MP's family to the Osu Castle. Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin led the bereaved family to formally inform the President of his death and also officially invite him to the funeral scheduled for March 20, at Jirapa in the Upper West region.
The President paid glowing tribute to Mr. Salia and described him as a hero who contributed immensely to national development, adding, “a nation that does not honour its heroes is not worth dying for.”
The death of the MP, according to the President, had saddened the NDC family and people of Ghana, saying he was a man who contributed greatly to the government's electoral victory but did not live long enough to enjoy it.
President Mills recounted how the late Salia actively participated in rallies in the Upper East Region even in a frail state of health, stressing that that the deceased gave off his best for his motherland.
President Mills traced his relationship with Mr. Salia to the 1970s when he taught him at the University of Ghana, adding that he was one of people on his mind for consideration as running mate for the 2000 election.
He consoled the bereaved family, especially his widow and children, and urged them to take heart since the Lord knew why he called Mr. Salia to eternity.
For his part, Vice President John Mahama, described the late Salia as “the father of deregulation of the telecom industry in Ghana,” saying his work in the telecommunications sector laid the foundation for its expansion across the country.
He also consoled the family and said Mr. Salia battled his illness bravely and would be remembered for the various sacrifices he made for the country.
Mr. Bagbin, making the request for a state burial, informed the President that both the Majority and Minority sides jointly agreed with the consent of the Speaker of Parliament, Mrs. Banford-Addo, to request for State support to honour their departed colleague with a befitting burial.
He acknowledged the deceased's contribution to the enhancement of the work of the House, adding that even during ill health, he declined requests from colleagues to take a break from the House, maintaining that he was prepared to die on his seat.
Prof. Bruce Yakubu, the family spokesman, in his remarks, described Mr. Salia as a diligent and resourceful person whom the family remained proud of.
Among the delegation were Alhaji Dauda, Head of family, the widow, Mrs. Mary Asunta Salia, the children, family elders and some chiefs from the Jirapa Traditional Area.
Meanwhile a delegation from Iran, led by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Africa, Mohammed Reza Baghert, was at the Castle to deliver a special goodwill message from the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Mills.
In the message Iran expressed its commitment towards improving the cordial relations and bilateral ties between the two countries.
As part of the goodwill message, the Iranian leader extended an invitation to President Mills to visit Iran to enable the two of them to explore opportunities for development in both countries.