Ghana, through the people’s representatives, on Wednesday hailed Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, Member of Parliament for Nadowli/ Kaleo, for rendering selfless service to the nation through the House in the last 25 years.

An apparently emotional but modest Bagbin who is also the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and  the “only surviving member of the first parliament of the Fourth Republic,” excused himself from his sat in the front, when praises poured in from both sides of the House.

He was being extolled for his affability, mentoring role and contributions to parliamentary democracy, national upliftment and development since he entered the House.

Contributions to support a statement by Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah, MP for Ho West, on the “launch of a 25 year celebration of parliamentary career and 60th birthday in honour of Mr Bagbin, began amidst thrill, with shouts of “Father, Father on Father oo Father,” by both sides.

And the House went on a standing ovation, to welcome Mr Bagin, a lawyer and linguist to the seat of the Speaker, when First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu eulogised him for his role, not only as a longest serving MP in the Fourth Republic, but also his contributions to the various committees on which he worked, and invited him to take the chair.

Mr Osei Owusu recognised the Nadowli/ Kaleo Lawmaker also for his contribution, as a member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, on the Property Rights, and the Right to Information Bill, which he said involved tedious work.

“Honourable Bagbin,” the First Deputy Speaker said, survived seven primaries, seven elections at emotional and financial costs, not only to himself alone, but also to wife and children, who bore the brunt of his absence.

And when he took the chair, an appreciative Mr Bagbin said: “I can’t resist the urge to thank all of you for your kind words.”

He gave glory to God and prayed him to grant him long life and strength for his stay in Parliament.

The Second Deputy Speaker, who served before Majority and Minority Leaders, observed that the strength of Parliament lies in experience, acknowledging that new Members of the House needed the time and space to learn.

He underlined the need to build up Parliament to strengthen democratic governance.

Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensa- Bonsu said “Mr Bagbin has not wasted his time” and “I am happy for Hon Bagbin.”

Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu restated the need for members to move private member’s bill.

Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Mubarak Muntaka, recounted how Mr Bagbin was instrumental in him becoming a legislator, saying “I owe my being here to Allah who created me, and Mr Bagbin,” and praised Mr Bagbin for engaging in deliberate grooming of new entrants into the House.

He reminded the House to go back and adopt the practice of honouring of members, who performed outstandingly with certificates.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, described Mr Bagbin as unassuming during their student days at both Legon and Law School, but was a “different Bagbin” when she met him in Parliament.

“I commend him for his service to the country,” she said.

In the statement, Mr Bedzrah urged the House to take steps to address the high attrition rate, which has weakened the strength of Parliament over the years.

He reiterated to the House to adopt the suggestion to recommend to the Executive to initiate the process of establishing a second chamber where experienced members both from parliament and other relevant institutions can put out their rich experiences to the use of the nation.

“It is about time Parliament creates institutional space to contain people like Hon Bagbin in order that even after their mandatory  terms of office  per our electoral arrangements , their accumulated expertise  could still be placed at the disposal of the country,” he said.

Mr Bedzrah recognised Mr Bagbin “as the only Ghanaian to have been consistently retained by the electorate for seven consecutive times not only in post colonial Ghana, but in the history of the Gold Coast and Ghana combined.

“It is in recognition of this that a proposal was made for a structure to be named after Hon A S K Bagbin within the Parliamentary complex.”

GNA