Profile Of Ghana's New Speaker Of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin
Twenty eight years of diligent service to Parliament was rewarded with full honours on January 7, 2021 when Alban Sumana Bagbin was elected Speaker of Parliament by his peers albeit, in an acrimonious atmosphere. Our research department dug Into the archives and came up with the following profile of the statesman, slightly edited to accord with the times. It was written by Journalist, DAMASUS TUUROSONG and first published In the Daily Graphic of 14,September,2001.
The Cockerel, they say, is identified the very day it hatches. But not even the diviners, prophets or priests identified the marks of a public office holder on baby Alban's forehead
when he was born at Sombo in the Upper west Region on September 24, 1957.
The celebrated professions within Alban's ethnic group, the Dagaaba, were and still remain farming and cattle rearing. The politician has always been a rare breed among the Dagaaba.
Alban's public service origins cannot be traced to the genes of his parents either. Both were peasant farmers. For his polygamous father, the timid, coy and introverted Alban was just one of his several children who needed to to be groomed to inherit the hoe and cutlass, or take up cattle herdsman's cudgel. And Alban would certainly have ended up a farmer, if, at the age of five, he had not whined and wailed to be enrolled at the Sombo Catholic primary school.
You need no diviner's eye to make out the budding politician among school children. You always identified them by their notoriety, by their outgoing., outspoken manner and their vivacity, which usually leads to school prefecture.
At the elementary school, Alban was the very opposite: sullen, unassuming and extremely studious. As he tottered barefoot to and from school, everyday, not even his teachers got any inkling of an indication that he would one day rise to public office. The school teachers instead saw in him an Achebe, an Ngugi Wa Thiango, an Ayi Kwei Armah or a Wole Soyinka. Alban took a keen interest in creative writing, especially poetry.
Alban would have stridden through secondary school unnoticed, Unrecognised but for his academic exploits. At Wa secondary school, (WASEC) and Tamale Secondary school, (TAMASCO), Where he went through "O" Level and "A" Level education respectively, he picked up many academic awards. At TAMASCO, he was 1977 best "A" Level Arts student.
A bright start to what might have become a prosperous football career was however scuttled at Wa secondary school when a goalkeeper injured him on the chest. After that serious chest injury, which left him unconscious for a while, Bagbin quit soccer and focused on his books.
Though he never worked consciously towards political office, a divine hand, call it Yahweh, if you will, was directing the steps of this staunch Catholic toward the altar of public service. It was not by chance that he turned down an offer to read Business Administration at Legon, for Law. Law baked him into the fearless, articulate statesman that he has turned out to be.
The wisdom in his choice of the legal profession became manifest when he started work at the Central Bureau of statistics as acting Secretary to the statistical services Board in 1981. As personnel Manager of the state Hotel Corporation In 1983, his expertise in Law again came in
The sharp legal brain which enhanced his instincts as a guardsman of people's rights was however honed at Akyem Chambers where he worked as a partner between 1986 and 1992, at the credit Unions Association where he was External solicitor from 1989 to 1992 and at Law Trust Company which he co-founded in 1993.
Any wonder then that in Parliament he carried membership cards to a number of boards and committees? He was a member of the National Media commission,(1997-2000), the Chairman of the subsidiary Legislation committee (1994-1996), and the Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee , among others. Outside Parliament, he has also held membership of a number of boards, namely the Board of Directors of the Ghana Legal Aid scheme in 1995, and the Ghana ports and Harbours Authority between 1994 and 2001.
Between 1996 and the year 2000, Hon Bagbin was Chairman of the Advisory committee on the Restructuring of the water sector.
His portfolio of experience is also stocked with membership to some solid international bodies. When erudite politicians and diplomats went under the umbrella of the United Nations to observe the First Non Racial Elections in South Africa, Bagbin answered the roll call. When
Ghana's Parliament selected its front benchers to attend the commonwealth Association's Regional Conference in ports Moresby, Papua New Guinea, he could not be left out. He was also a member of the United Nations conference on Eradicating Global poverty, and a Member of the parliamentarians for Global Action among other positions.
In the Third parliament of the Fourth Republic, the NDC elevated Hon. Bagbin to the hot
saddle of Minority Leader, partly for these shining credentials, but also for his youthful exuberance.
A few quotes by the Bagbin to win up this detailed profile gives one an Insight into the philosophy guiding his steps in public service:
"I was always impartial in Parliament. Where our people, (NDC) were wrong and I thought so but could not say it, I just kept quiet and rather supported the opposition with points... so the NN was very happy when I was elected as Minority Leader"
"I prefer being a statesman. I want to be in a position where I can speak to all sectors of the society, all parties...to chart out a path to progress"
PARLIAMENT, BEHOLD, YOUR PEAKER, MR SPEAKER, BEHOLD, YOUR PARLIAMENT!
Credit: Rodney Tsenuokpor