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General News
Bagbin Saves Day At Night Sitting 3/8/2007
The Minority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, saved the nation from what would have been an embarrassing situation at Monday’s special commemorative sitting of Parliament in the night, when he made a timely acknowledgement of the presence of the immediate past Secretary General of the United Nations, Busumuru Kofi Annan and his wife in the House.

All dignitaries, including Hon. Dr. Gertrude Mongella, Speaker of the Pan African Parliament, Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Special Guest of Honour of the Ghana @50 independence anniversary and President John Kufuor of Ghana had finished addressing the House without acknowledging the former UN leader, who was seated at a rather conspicuous point in the House.

The House was about to rise, and Majority Leader, Felix Owusu Agyapong had moved the motion for the adjournment of proceedings. The TV cameras had zoomed in on Mr. Annan a number of times and it was time for the Minority Leader to second the motion for the adjournment of the House to tomorrow. Then came the extraordinary intervention of Hon. Bagbin: “Mr. Speaker, in seconding the motion, I wish to acknowledge with deep sense of appreciation, the presence of our illustrious son, Busumuru Kofi Annan, the immediate past Secretary General of the UN and his wife,” the eloquent Minority Leader stated amidst cheers from the floor of the house.

As sober as he has always been, Mr. Annan responded to the acknowledgement by rising up on his feet, taking a bow and waving at the crowd and dignitaries gathered. The TV cameras were quick to pick him for the screens. But for Bagbin’s intervention, many would have been shocked about the non-extension of protocol recognition to the former world leader and his wife, Nanny, who had joined foreign and local dignitaries for the commemorative sitting, which started at around 11p.m.

After the Minority Leader’s acknowledgement, he went on to point out to the House that after the ‘Motion of Destiny’ (motion on independence) had been passed exactly 50 years earlier in Parliament, it was seconded by S. G. Dombo. He then went on to second the motion for the House to be adjourned till Thursday. Earlier, President Kufuor told the House that the constitution of the 4th Republic placed limitations on the powers of all organs of state, which makes it impossible for all concerned to commit excesses.

“Now the Constitution is supreme and its oracle is the Supreme Court, which oracle must be respected across board,” the President declared. He added that, “we must work towards a united, strong and harmonious nation in which respect for human rights, good governance and the rule of law will be the paradigm for our nation’s development.” “Mutual trust, tolerance, happy co-existence, fellow feeling among the religions, ethnic groups and various generations should be articles of faith,” he admonished.

According to the President, our success in sustaining the constitution with its checks and balances should be the highest aspiration of each organ of state as well as the entire citizenry of Ghana. The Guest of Honour of the anniversary celebrations, President Olusegun Obasanjo, said the commemoration of Ghana''s Golden Jubilee was an opportunity to remind all about the gallant sacrifices of the founding fathers who fought for freedom.

The President of the Pan African Parliament, Dr. Gertrude Mongella, who spoke on behalf of Speakers of African Parliaments, said Ghana played a critical role in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which has now been changed to the African Union (AU). This, she said, manifests in the election of President Kufuor as Chairman of the AU at a time when the nation turns 50. She called for increased cooperation among African countries, saying it was a united front that was needed to deal with the myriads of socio-economic problems facing the continent.

The Duke of Kent, Prince Philip, who represented Her Royal Highness the Queen of England, said the hospitality of Ghanaians made the nation stand out, adding that respect for human rights, democracy and unity had been the watch words for the country. He added that Ghana had gathered strength to overcome her reverses and moved towards domestic stability, freedom and good governance. The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes, paid tribute to great Ghanaian legislators and his predecessors from independence to date, saying that they have all contributed to the building of a strong legislature for the country.

The Chronicle

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