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General News of Friday, 5 April 2019


Lee Ocran was a true State functionary - Kofi Buah

Parliamentarians on Wednesday honoured the late Lee Ocran, a former member, with a glowing tribute that extolled his virtues as a statesman, recalling his jovial and affable nature that endeared him to all manner of people who came close to him.

“He was a true State functionary who was not just concerned about socio-economic and infrastructural development of Ghana, “Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembele Constituency, said in a statement.

He added: “Lee Ocran also related to issues on global threats to the development of the country including environmental pollution, desertification, climate change and global warming.”

The late Lee Tandoh Ocran, former MP for the Jomoro Constituency, died on Thursday, 21st February 2019.

Mr Buah, described him as a personal mentor, “a friend and an icon for the development of the Western Region and indeed Ghana.”

The statement went down memory lane, recalling the performance of the late scientist and politician, adding “the late Lee Ocran, a native of Nawule in the Jomoro District of the Western Region, became associated with the Parliament of Ghana on the 7th of January, 2005, having won the elections on 7th December 2004, to represent the good people of Jomoro.

“Although one term Member of Parliament, he dutifully served the good people of Jomoro and the nation till his tenure ended on the 6th of January 2008.

Lee Ocran who was also a former High Commissioner to South Africa, a National Democratic Congress (NDC) stalwart, was said to have taken ill days earlier, leading to his passing away.

Ocran was appointed Minister by President John Atta Mills in February 2012 after a cabinet reshuffle follow.

Ocran, was a former Vice Chairman of the NDC; and his association with the governance of Ghana dated back to the Third Republic when he was the Deputy Minister for the Western Region and later as the Deputy Minister of Trade.

On return from exile in the mid-80s, he became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PEPSI COLA and served as the longest CEO of PEPSI COLA Ghana.

Mr Buah said he became nervous in announcing his appointment as Board Chairman of the Volta River Authority (VRA), for the simple reason that the late Ocran had been a deputy minister, when he (Buah) was still in elementary school.

He noted that the late Ocran was so dedicated and so professional that he made it easy to work with him and his achievements at VRA speaks volumes.

“His dedication and hardwork were on display in all positions he held,” Mr Buah said, adding, ” as the Vice Chairman of the NDC, he is credited for his steadfast commitment to the ideals of social democracy and his role in ensuring that those ideals reflected in the NDC’s manifesto and governance.”

The eulogy said the late Ocran, in his deliberations in the House emphasised national unity as a necessary ingredient for building strong democracy, and further advocated strongly on women’s issues, condemning female genital mutilation as a very cruel and dehumanising practice.

He was also very passionate about issues of the Western Region, and impressed upon government to implement measures to address the infrastructural gaps in the Western Region.

The statement recognised the late Ocran as “indeed very jovial and affable in character, which enabled him to endear himself to all persons who came into contact with him.

“He was a man who bluntly spoke what he believed was right or represented the truth. He was a reasonable combination of tradition and flexibility. His mind spanned issues with ease. Admittedly, he was a very simple personality with unique sense of humour and very approachable.

“As I mourn his sudden departure to glory, I on behalf of Parliament extend a heartfelt condolence to the widow, children and bereaved family,” Mr Buah said.

Members’ contributions praised the former and late colleague for being a team builder, who not discriminatory; frank and sometimes cheeky.

MP for Adansi Asokwa K T Hammond of the Majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) remembered the late MP for continuing his service to the nation, even when he lost his seat, by agreeing to serve as Ghana’s High Commissioner in Pretoria.

Just as Mr Hammond was about to explain why he said the late Ocran was cheeky, Speaker Aaron Oquaye advised he went on a different tangent, to which Mr Hammond recalled, later in a conversation with journalists that the late MP had described the oil discovery during the NPP administration as 'dirty oil from Suame, Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

That matter was however laid to rest during the vetting of the deceased for the Education Ministry portfolio.

Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, Minister for Aviation, who at the time of late Ocran’s dismissive comment in Parliament was Energy Minister, said as a young MP then, he learned a lot from the deceased, who was ready to share his experience with him.

Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South described the late Ocran as a “Great Statesman”, and a man of diversity.