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16.07.2019 Feature Article

Bagbin's Exit, Tribute, The Void & His Political Life

Bagbin's Exit, Tribute, The Void & His Political Life

Many perch on this huge branch of Political Tree for so long. Some stay on, till eternity: Whereas others like to be humiliated or shot down like a bird.

I've seen them come and go.

I've seen them traffick the corridors of power. My naked eyes have seen them.

Those that behave like the symphony orchestra group. I've seen the fair-weather friends, the puppeteers, the bootlickers, the Yes-men and the Ahithophels. Those that will say you're prevailing when indeed you're failing.

But Bagbin is different.

Is he from Mars? No, he's opinionated and principled. He's a maverick, a non-conformist. And the likes of him (Bagbin) are few in our contemporary body- Politik. The "Kanawus" seem extinct just like the pink-eyed forest dweller-- Gerygone insularis in Ghana's politics.

Does anybody remember this?

"You're naked if Stan Dobge is your adviser," Hon. Babgin told former President John Mahama.

Perhaps, if the hawks in the NDC had listened to him things would have been different in the 2016 General Elections.The hawks rubbished his advice. They didn't take him serious.

The Exit

Wondering why It's hard for some to call it quits when they should quit?

Part of the reason could be attributed to the trappings that come with the position. Also, I think public office holders enjoy huge influence in society, particularly parliamentarians. In part, the reason, some never see the need to bow out even when they appear worn out and bereft of ideas.

After 27 years, Honourable Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin-- one of Ghana's longest legislators of the Fourth Republic in Parliament has decided to hang his huge-sized political boots.

His current term expires in January 2021.

According to local media reports, the 62-year -old lawmaker did not pick nomination forms to contest the Nadowli-Kaleo parliamentary seat at the close of nominations on Fiday 12, July 2019. And in case you didn't know Mr. Bagbin has been retaining that seat since 1992.

It's believed Bagbin's decision could have been triggered by pressure mounted by a youth group in his constituency. However, Mr. Bagbin hasn't given any reason yet.

The Tribute

You've honourably paid your dues. And I've no doubt in my mind that you've fought the good fight for the common good for humanity.

You're a trail blazer in the capacity you're serving by many standards and you deserve this glowing tribute for service to God, People and Country.

Oh, I couldn't be prouder, doing this for one of Ghana's finest and most hardworking politician. Again, I say, I couldn't be more impressed by your decision not to seek re-election after more than 27 years.

Bagbin's critics say the decision is long overdue, and his bow out was neccitated by the pressure from the youth.I beg to differ though.

I think his critics are focusing on numbers rather than the huge impact he's made thus far in the House of the Legislature and country.

So, that's misnomer to me because Bagbin didn't stay long as in doing-nothing or wasting state resources. He touched many lives and made tremendous impact in society.

I first met Hon. Bagbin, in 1996 during my stint with 'The Ghanaian Voice'. The occasion was a media workshop sponsored by the British High Commission in Ghana. A segment of the programme required that participants meet with Mr. Bagbin at his office in the Parliament.

And did you know this?

He once ruffled Konadu- Agyeman Rawlings' feathers. According to him the former First Lady had ambled her way into a cabinet meeting! Nobody had invited her. And nobody dared or could ask the Elephant in the room to leave. But guess what, Bagbin did.

He told the press at his office. And it was the impression he made at the time that had stuck with me to this day.

I say the 'Kanawus' are few.

Today, many tend to uphold the 'Vote for Mr. Nice Man" idea. And that idea, I think has cost this nation so much. We seem to be lagging behind in many things because the real leaders don't get elected. Individuals that have the temperament to lead the nation, aren't given the chance.

I hope this tribute will inspire other public office holders. That some one is watching their good deeds. And I think it's about time we acknowledged the selfless service rendered by some of these indiduals. Let's reward them now, for posthumous tributes are often riddled with flaws.

This tribute is an epitome of Political ethos, and its significance to me cannot be downplayed. "Mo ne yor Oseadeyor."!!!!

The Void

Indeed, Bagbin's exit will leave a huge void in the house of the Legislature. His experience is humongous. And his knack for excellence is remarkable.

"I've always counted on him and whenever we need to engage on matters relating to the rules and procedures of the house, he's one person that I count on to partner me in developing the competency of members of the Parliament," Osei Kyei Mensah-Bomsu speaks of Mr. Bagbin.

The Majority Leader & Minister for Parliamentary Affairs says the long-serving legislator will leave a huge void.

"...The House not me but the entire House will miss him and filling in the void is going to be very difficult for us as parliament and indeed as a country," he says.

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Political life

Bagbin is a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and represents the Nadowli West Constituency from the Upper West Region. Bagbin announced his intentions to run for president in 2008 on the NDC ticket, but he never stood for the primaries.

He became the Majority Leader in the Ghanaian parliament in 2009. Following a cabinet reshuffle in January 2010, he was appointed Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing by President Mills. He also been confirmed as Majority Leader of Parliament under President Mahama's tenure of office, he succeeded Dr Benjamin Kunbuor who was appointed as the Minister of Defence.

In wake of the #Drop That Chamber" controversy' the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament cautioned the public and his colleagues to be wary of negative criticisms and attacks on Members of Parliament (MPs) over the proposed new parliamentary chamber since the house was yet to take a decision on the motion. He noted that the negative criticisms on the project and the sheer attacks on MPs had dire consequences for the nation and urged the citizenry to desist from such bad comments.

Mr. Mensah-Bonsu, has described the decision of Alban Bagbin not to seek re-election as a colossal loss to the House and the country.

“I regret the situation he finds himself in, other than that he is one of the most experienced hands in building the capacity and competencies of the new members of parliament. He is one person that I have counted on in this dispensation and the 7th Parliament," the majority leader told Star News parliamentary correspondent.

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2019

This author has authored 284 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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