Members of Parliament Wednesday eulogised the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Alban Sumana Bagbin, for his 25 years dedicated service to the Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
They described him as a consummate politician and an astute legislator, who had contributed to the deepening of Parliamentary democracy in the country.
The legislators commended Mr Bagbin for winning the Nadowli/Kaleo Constituency seat for seven consecutive terms and serving in various capacities, including Majority Leader and Minority Leader.
They proposed the establishment of a symbolic item for the longest serving Legislator in the precincts of Parliament House to serve as a reminder of his contributions to the business of Parliament and the deepening democracy in the country. The occasion was also used to celebrate Mr Bagbin’s 60th anniversary birthday.
Mr Bagbin has been the MP for Nadowli/Kaleo since the beginning of the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic in 1993. He has been referred to occasionally as the Nadowli Mugabe for his durability in parliament.
The MP for Ho West, Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, set the tone for the eulogisation when he presented a statement on Mr Bagbin’s 25th anniversary in Parliament and 60th birthday. He said the manner in which Mr Bagbin was able to maintain his seat for seven consecutive terms and the able manner he assisted the work of Parliament in the last 25 years demanded commendation.
He proposed the establishment of a Second Chamber, as suggested in other quarters, to retain and benefit from the institutional memory of Mr Bagbin and other old and experienced MPs.
The Majority Leader, Mr Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, said often times when “we (MPs) ran into turbulence, we turn to Bagbin”.
He said Mr Bagbin entered Parliament as a back bencher but rose through the ranks to become a chairman of a committee, a Minority Leader and a Majority Leader, saying “he acquitted himself creditably.”
He said Mr Bagbin did well when it came to legislation, exercising his oversight functions, institutional memory, and the rules of procedure, and added that “he enriched the debate in the House.”
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu decried the attrition rate in Parliament and called for a system to ensure the retention of experienced MPs since the work in Parliament required a lot of experience in Parliamentary work.
For instance, he said, half of the 106 MPs on the Minority side in the current Parliament were new members while 87 of the 169 MPs on the Majority side were first timers.
The Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, said it was Mr Bagbin who encouraged him to contest the Parliamentary seat in his constituency, Asawase.
He said he held Mr Bagbin and Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in high esteem because of the guidance they gave him in Parliament.
Alhaji Muntaka urged MPs to rise above excessive partisanship by protecting their own at all cost.
He also called for a way to address the politics of patronage where constituents depended on their MPs for school fees, jobs and financial support for marriages.
The MP for Nalerigu/Gambaga and Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, commended Mr Bagbin for long service, and indicated that she continued to get guidance from him.
The MP for Wa Central, Mr Abdul-Rashi Pelpuo, suggested that something symbolic about Mr Bagbin be mounted “to tell the rest of the world when you give opportunity to people to serve it is not for material gains but to serve the nation.”
The First Deputy Minority Whip, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, proposed that persons with the rich experience of Mr Bagbin’s calibre be made to teach at the Parliamentary Training Institute to give a practical touch to the training.