Like many other Ghanaians and especially constituents of the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency, I read with shock and awe a certain supposed mass campaign set in motion to stop Ghana's Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the Veritable RT Hon Alban Bagbin from seeking another parliamentary term in office come 2020.
Not only am I shocked and outraged, I feel so sad that such an action is being taken by a group of people who are abreast and well-versed in democracy and rule of law. These are supposed to be responsible young men and women who themselves have responsibilities to discharge to their families and communities mostly within the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency. In the view of this group called 'Operation Movement For Positive Change' , the RT Hon Alban Bagbin's long stay in parliament does not commensurate with the level and standard of development in the constituency. And as such, it is their considered opinion that he should give way for fresh blood.
It is only prudent to find out from this group what their appreciation of development is. And it has been said by very notable personalities including our own Dr Kwame Nkrumah that “we can only appreciate the heights we have reached by recounting the depth we came from”. In this sense, the group should first do a thorough and realistic assessment of the outlook of the constituency before the commencement of Hon Bagbin’s tenure in office. This should then be compared fairly with his interventions and performance as a member of parliament. Only then can we as constituents get a fair idea of what the Hon Alban Bagbin has done or not done.
In any case when the group talks about development, what kind of development are they talking about? Let’s remember that development has been a very debatable concept to define. Are they merely talking about Nadowli-Kaleo taking the shape of cosmopolitan cities with asphalted roads, high-rise buildings and magnificent edifices? Or they are talking about basic social infrastructure and amenities? Yet still, are they talking about human-resource development?
Indeed, development of any kind is supposed to improve people’s well-being. It could be the facilitation of access to affordable healthcare services, access to education, accessible and motorable roads, access to portable drinking water among others. It is a fact that Hon Alban Bagbin’s vision has touched on all of these basic social infrastructure and amenities. It is possible that the elitists in these group are unable to appreciate the work that the Honourable Member of Parliament has done for the Constituency because of their orientation, background and expectations. But there is solace in the fact that the ordinary people of the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency highly appreciate the tools and efforts of the Honourable Member of Parliament; the more reason why they keep returning him to Parliament.
It must be put on record that every stakeholder in the Constituency whether an individual or a group has the right to criticize and hold the MP accountable for his stewardship as their Member of Parliament. And in any honest or fair assessment of the standard of the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency and the performance of the Hon Alban Bagbin in comparison to other constituencies nationwide, the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency cannot be said to be doing badly. It is not in doubt that our constituency was a rural one from 1992 and so it required enormous interventions and ingenuity to reach the level it has reached so far. Suffice me to add that the Constituency is no paradise now and there is still work to be done.
While the group cannot be held to ransom for taking this kind of step in expressing their freedom and rights, it is important to point out that in a democratic environment as we have now, they might have pressed the wrong button. There are laid down procedures and processes to elect a parliamentary candidate at the party level before the entire constituency would also elect an MP amongst the lot. With all of these opportunities available to party members as well as constituents, why would it take a mass movement such as this to hound Hon Alban Bagbin from Parliament? This probably vindicated the popular saying that “prophets are vilified in their own backyards”? No one can deny the fact that Hon Alban Bagbin’s name, image and public disposition has endeared greatly to the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency. The popularity of the Constituency has surged and brought about unquantifiable dividends that cannot be overlooked. That Hon Alban Bagbin has sponsored scores of students to attain education of all manner cannot be discounted including most of the members of the group calling for his ouster. That Hon Alban Bagbin has managed to make the District Hospital in Nadowli, a health facility of choice in the Upper West Region cannot be lost on the constituents. That Hon Alban Bagbin has connected a lot of homes with electricity to ease their domestic life cannot be downplayed. That Hon Alban Bagbin has linked most of the settlements and communities in the constituency by road is a fact. That most communities have access to portable water through the considerable number of boreholes that have been sunk vindicates the MP and cannot support any claims of non-performance.
Hon Alban Bagbin is no Saint or angel. He cannot do it all or meet the expectations of everyone in the Constituency. But truth be told, if the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency was to be compared to the national average in terms of these social amenities and infrastructure, the performance of the MP falls nothing short of commendable. It is no sin for anyone to want to take over from him or simply get him out of Parliament. But it must not be done surreptitiously on the basis of underdevelopment in the Constituency. As for the claim of longevity, it cannot hold and there are a lot of examples in developed and well-established democracies that shoots down that claim outright. The 2020 elections are still far in sight and the NDC Party is yet to open nominations for parliamentary primaries. So there is still time for Hon Alban Bagbin to be allowed the free mind and focus to discharge his responsibility to the Nadowli-Kaleo Constituency as the incumbent MP. Let us wait and see what decisions would be taken when the time comes. Merely proceeding to launch a campaign to get the MP out at this point in time is simply premature and misinformed.
Hon Alban Bagbin took a decision to contest for the NDC Flagbearer because he believed in his sterling qualities and his proven track record as a legislator and senior member of the NDC party. Going forward, he knows what decision is best for him, his constituency, the NDC Party and Ghana at large.
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