July 31, 2013

The Member of Parliament for Nadowli South, Alban Kingsford Sumane Bagbin has cleared the air on a statement he made on the floor of Ghana’s legislative House sometime back that seems to suggest that he is not a “wise man”.

According to the former health minister under the late President Mills administration, he uttered those words in reaction to a derisive reference to him as “a wise man” by a colleague member of the House on the floor of parliament.

He said, per parliamentary practice and the standing orders of parliament, MPs are called by either their names or their constituencies, “so when my colleague Dr. Mark Assibey referred to me as my colleague ‘wise man’ on the floor, I drew the speaker’s attention to it that the member was out of order, that is not to say that in general am not a wise man.”

“I made that statement to correct my colleague that we don’t use such designations on the floor of Parliament…certainly, I wouldn’t have said I’m not a wise man if my colleague had referred to me as such outside parliament…if I’m not a wise man, then what am I” he amusingly quizzed.

Reacting to a front page publication of The Al-Hajj on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 with the headline “I’m not wiseman…Bagbin breaks silence” the Nadwoli South MP, who has also served as a Majority leader under the administration of the late President Mills, explained that his statement on the floor was not to express his indignation at the “wise man” tag bestowed on him together with two others by President John Mahama.

Hon. Bagbin, Hon. E.T. Mensah, former Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing and Hon. Cletus Apul Avoka, also a former Majority Leader, were appointed by President John Dramani Mahama to superintend over the implementation of his government’s priority projects including the building of 200 Senior High schools and healthcare centers.

Considering the rich experience of the three legislators in politics and governance, they were nicknamed “three wise men” apparently in reference to the enormity of the task the president had given them.

The three wise men tag since it was bestowed on them had relatively become their second name to the extent anytime their names are mentioned, their accolade come to mind, a name they have not declined to respond to.

Hon. Bagbin’s public resistance to the name was when the MP for New Juabeng South, Dr. Mark Assibey Yeboah during a debate on a loan agreement on the floor of the House, referred to him as “my colleague wise man,” a situation the Nadowli South MP drew the Speaker of Parliament’s attention to as a title that falls outside the standing orders of the House.

Clarifying his position on the matter further, Hon. Alban Bagbin stated that “maybe the journalist did not get the full import of what I was trying to put across that day, as I said; parliamentary practice is guided by the standing orders, if you have ever been to the house, anytime a member makes a statement that is not in conformity with the orders, other members of the house draw the speaker’s attention to it in order for the member to be ruled out, and in my case that was what I did… that does not mean am not a wise man.”

The Al- Hajj