Alban Bagbin

Alban Bagbin Minority Leader In Parliament: Alban Bagbin

Relationship: Married but no child. God giveth he said.
Hobbies: reading, writing and watching football.
Nickname: Non, but he doesn’t mind if you called him "I’ll go after him".

The cockerel, they say, is identified the very day it is hatched and yet not even the diviners who abound in his home region or the priests could identify the marks of a public office holder on baby Alban's forehead when he was born at Sombo in the Upper West Region six months after Ghana gained independence. September 24, 1957.

BagbinThe celebrated professions within Alban’s ethnic group the Dagaaba, was and still remains farming and cattle rearing. The politician has always been a rare kind of breed among the Dagaaba.

Alban's public service origins cannot be traced to the genes of either his parents who were both illiterate were peasant farmers. For his polygamous father, the timid, coy and introverted Alban was just one of his several children to be groomed into inheriting the hoe and cutlass, or into taking up a cudgel to rear cattle. And Alban would certainly have ended up a farmer if, at the age of five, he did not whine and wail 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 inclining of an indication that he would one day rise to a public office. The schoolteachers instead, saw in him an Achebe, a Nuguchi, 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 unrecognized but for his academic exploits. At Wa Secondary School (WASEC) and Tamale Secondary School (TAMASCO) where he went through "0" 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 for him like the Abedi Pele of his Dagaaba tribe; he 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 rather 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 towards the altar of public service. It was not by chance that he turned down an offer to read Business Administration at Legon, for Law which baked him into the fearless, relentless and articulate statesman that he has turned out to be.

The wisdom in his choice of the legal profession became unmistakable when he started work at the Central Bureau of Statistics as Acting Secretary to the Statistical Services Board in 1980. As Personnel Manager of the State Hotel Corporation 1983, and his expertise in Law again came in handy.

The sharp legal brain which enhanced his instincts as a guardian 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 an 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 Advisory Committee on the Restructuring of water (1996-2000) and the Chairman of Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee among others. Outside of Parliament, he held membership to a number of boards like the Board of Directors of the Ghana Legal Aid Scheme in 1995,Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority (1994-2000).

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 frontbenchers to attend the Commonwealth Associations 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.

When Hon. Edward Salia, NDC MP for Jirapa Constituency and former Roads and Transport Minister applauds Bagbin as an "Eloquent and excellent material for the position (of Minority Leader)", you might call that political solidarity. But when a dog applauds the monkey's tree climbing prowess, can the hunter say otherwise?

"He is a very hardworking and brilliant young man who should long have been recognized by the former NDC Government with a ministerial position, I'm happy that at fast the NDC has recognized his worth and made him Minority Leader", Hon. Hawa Yakubu, MP for Bawku Central and former Minister for Tourism said of Bagbin, who threatened to go after the speaker.

"He's playing the role assigned him very well: taking the fight to the government. I give him A+ for his watchdog role", Hon. George Amoo, MP for Ayawaso West-Wuogon Constituency said.

Majority Members of Parliament applauded Bagbin's election as Minority Leader because as Hon Hawa Yakubu said, he is very objective. In both the Second and Third Parliaments of the Fourth Republic, Bagbin stood in the middle of a heavily politicized House and declared.” 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 NPP was very happy when I was elected as Minority Leader", Hon Bagbin said.

Indeed, as Chairman of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, he led the House to reject several NDC Government proposed constitutional amendments. One of such was a proposed amendment on the status of the Office of the Vice President. It is in the same spirit of objectivity and fair-mindedness that Bagbin is executing his role as Minority Leader: always cautioning government against pitfalls and rallying people to lend it support.

"Once we elect a party into power, we must support it to the hilt, so it can bring into fruition the vision it has for the country", he told members of the Kaleo Traditional Area Youth and Development Association soon after the New Patriotic Party Government assumed power in 2001.

However, it is not for his exploits within the House that his constituents have with a thunderous "yee yee", endorsed him on three consecutive occasions despite stiff opposition. The Nadowli North MP has paid his parliamentary dues to his people. Not only by going back to live and consult with his constituents anytime parliament went on recess. There are school buildings, some irrigation facilities and renovated feeder roads to show for his two previous tenures in Parliament. This time around, the MP fixes his gaze squarely on improving education and agriculture in his constituency.

But while attending to the needs of the constituents, he has to keep a watchful eye on the acts and omissions on the NPP government. For, in its political honeymoon days when every step of government was always hailed to the high heavens, Bagbin stands among few alert guardsmen at the gate of the banquet hall of political patronage and sycophancy. He points out government's flaws and indicates the road to progress.

For a man so frank and forthright, some are always going to find him arrogant, perhaps overbearing. Madam Hawa Yakubu says: "He gets a little stubborn sometimes". Hon. George Amoo also finds Bagbin "a little irritating sometimes".

Some say bluntness and fair-mindedness could spell political doom. Others prognosticate a higher political office for him. But Bagbin has other ideas. "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", He said on GTV programme, "Kwaku-One-On-One". Indeed, the political diviners see marks of a statesman on him. It is not too clear whether he will still go after the Speaker after he was given the chance to make his much-awaited and much publicized statement in response to allegations made against him by the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Peter Ala Adjetey.

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