President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has promised the good people of Ghana to have confidence in the current political dispensation since both sides, New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) will chart new territory in the governance and politics of the 4th Republic.
He took into cognizance the fact that, for the first time in the life of the 4th Republic a President is elected from one party, saying that he will be “obliged, by the exigencies of the moment and the will of the people, to work, in all sincerity and co-operation, with a Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin coming from another party.”
Nana Akufo-Addo expressed confidence that both of them will be guided in their relationship by the supreme interest of the people in ensuring good governance in the ordering of the affairs of state.
“I want to assure you of my wholehearted determination to work with you to advance the peace, progress and prosperity of the Ghanaian people. Once again, many congratulations to you and the re-elected and new Members of Parliament,” the President said.
He thus promised to work with the newly-elected Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban Bagbin to advance the peace, progress and prosperity of the Ghanaian people.
In his inaugural address after taking the oath of office for his second term as President yesterday, Thursday, 7 December 2020, Nana Akufo-Addo congratulated Mr. Bagbin, who had been his colleague lawmaker for years, on his elevation to the position of Speaker.
President Akufo-Addo also pledged before Parliament and the good people of Ghana that all he will do will be for the common good, and, with the firm foundation laid in his first term of office take a significant step towards reducing the infrastructure deficit that has plagued the country throughout their nationhood.
Nana Akufo-Addo said: “I must, at the outset, express my warm congratulations to my good friend and colleague of many years in this House, the Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, on his assumption of office as the Speaker of the Eighth Parliament of the 4th Republic. Nearly three decades of devoted service to Parliament by you has culminated in this moment, which has seen your elevation to the third great office of state of our nation.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also declared 2021 as another year of roads to complete some developmental projects his administration began during his first term in office.
The president further indicated that the declaration of 2021 as the year of roads is aimed at solving the issue of poor road networks in the country.
President Nana Akufo-Addo said, “Our roads are being constructed at a faster pace than before, and yes, there are still many more kilometres to construct. We defined last year as the year of roads. This year will be the second year of roads as we continue with our focus on dealing with the deficits of our road infrastructure.”
As part of measures put in place for the country to witness infrastructural development, President Akufo-Addo pledged to revamp the railway sector.
“The development of our rail sector on which considerable resources and energies are being devoted will open up the country and also help realise the goal of regional and continental integration.”
He also promised to make sure Ghanaians without potable water are provided same.
“The percentage of Ghanaians without access to potable water is said to be reduced significantly, following the commencement of water projects across the country. The majority of Ghanaians live in unacceptable housing, and we shall tackle the problem with vigour,” he added.
He also announced plans by his administration to extend electricity to communities without electricity in his second term, promising to extend access to portable drinking water to communities that lack good drinking water.
He further pledged to serve and build on the firm of his first term.
“I pledge before this august House and the good people of Ghana that all I do will be for the common good, and, with the firm foundation laid in my first term of office, we shall take a significant step towards reducing the infrastructure deficit that has plagued us all throughout our nationhood.”
Alban Bagbin Elected As Speaker
Ghana has recorded yet another historic moment in the life of Parliament with both sides; Majority and Minority electing a member from the Minority as Speaker of the House.
Although the election of a Speaker of Parliament was initially characterised by high hopes of the Majority NPP making a Speaker of Parliament from their side, things suddenly took a different turn when results from the votes between Aaron Mike Oquaye and Alban Sumana Bagbin were declared.
One would have thought that the 8th Parliament which consists of 137 members on each side would find it difficult settling on a Speaker whilst other school of thought had it that the NPP’s choice of Mike Oquaye would pull through or even with them unable to make a decision considering the same number of votes they have in Parliament.
It emerged however that Alban Bagbin secured 138 of the votes whilst Mike Oquaye got 136 of the votes which meant that one of the NPP MPs voted for Bagbin as MP.
Interestingly, this is historic in the annals of Ghana to see a ruling government or party working with a Minority as Speaker of Parliament.
Many people however indicated that Alban Bagbin has the character of fairness and firmness over his seven-term period in parliament as an MP and as a Second Deputy Speaker which made him a suitable candidate for the Speaker position.
Others also see Alban Bagbin as a principled person, a very fair and firm person who have won the hearts and votes of his party’s MPs and even members of the NPP who may have voted for him in the closely contested elections based on his history.
The 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic Inaugurated
The 8th Parliament of the Fourth Republic, made up of 275 MPs, was, on Thursday morning, 7 January 2020, sworn into office per Article 100(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
This was after the 7th Parliament of the Fourth Republic was dissolved at midnight, in accordance with Article 113(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
The Clerk to Parliament, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsiah, acted as Chairman of the House to supervise the election of the Speaker.
In accordance with Article 95 of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Order 85, the Member of Parliament for Tamale South, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, proposed Mr Alban Bagbin to be the new Speaker for the 8th Parliament when the Clerk called on members to propose a new Speaker at 12:07 am.
NPP MP-elect for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, proposed Prof Aaron Mike Oquaye for a second term.
The Speaker then swore in the members of parliament-elect to officially birth the eighth Parliament.
He administered the oath of allegiance and the oath of a member of parliament to the lawmakers.
Before the Speaker was elected, the MP-elect for Effutu, Mr Alexander Afenyo Markin, sought to find out who qualifies to partake in voting for a new Speaker because the court had placed an injunction on the MP-elect for Assin North, Mr James Gyakye Quayson from holding himself as MP and from partaking in the swearing-in ceremony.
This generated a heated argument between the NDC and NPP lawmakers.
The Clerk ruled that he was duly served the court notice, and, therefore, could not recognise the presence of the Assin North MP-elect in the house.
He also restrained him from partaking in the vote for the Speaker but that was fiercely challenged by the NDC lawmakers.
The Clerk ruled that Parliament will not be responsible for the actions of the Assin North MP-elect who defied the court order and participated in the voting exercise.
He later took part in the voting.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the 8th Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has pledged to serve the House and the country “wholeheartedly”.
Meanwhile, Joseph Osei-Owusu has been elected by both sides of the house as First Deputy Speaker of the 8th parliament.
He will be assisted by Andrew Asiamah Amoako as the Second Deputy Speaker in the newly instituted parliament.
Joseph Osei-Owusu was nominated by Majority Leader in the 7th Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu and seconded by Minority Leader in the 7th Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu. He is a lawyer and Member of Parliament for Ashanti Bekwai.
By Prosper Agbenyega