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Opinions of Saturday, 3 April 2021

Columnist: Dawda Eric

A hero to a villain - The story of Haruna Iddrisu

The chronology of events which characterized the swearing in of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on 7th January, 2021 will forever remain an indelible blot on the conscience of the Fourth Republic.

The annals of the Fourth Republic would not be written without the very event which nearly led to a total melt down of the Second Arm of Government.
On that faithful day, most eyes couldn't nictate because, the heat between the two caucasus in the house was so glaring that, even without an oven, a baker could use the same heat to bake.

The sad incident could not have happened but for the fact that, both caucasus went to the house with a fixated mindset. The fixation was all about the speakership position both caucasus wanted to snatch at all cost when it was even clear to them beforehand that, both were on level pegging in terms of numbers. ie[ 137:137 with one independent candidate from the Formena Constituency]

What actually appeared to have been the first shot fired by the NDC was an interim injunction on Hon. John Peter Amewu defectively procured from the Ho High Court. The purpose of the Ho High Court was to restrain Hon. John Peter Amewu from holding himself as an elected MP for the Hohoe Constituency on grounds that, the good people of SALL were not allowed to participate in the 2020 general elections.

The NPP upon being referred to this tactical display by the NDC decided to adopt strategies to safeguard their numbers. Hon. John Peter Amewu's entanglement was set aside through an action at the Supreme Court by the current Attorney General, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame. That historic victory was one which angered the NDC.

What broke the camel's back was the "late" injunction NPP procured from the Cape Coast High Court restraining the elected Assin North Member of Parliament from presenting himself to the house that night for the purposes of swearing in.

In fact when that injunction application was moved and granted, there was a complete sobriety in the camp of the National Democratic Congress. There was also a feeling of hopelessness on the part of the NDC because, the thing they failed to execute had been executed so nicely by their opponent. The resultant effect of the injunction reduced the NDC's number(s) by one. The 137 NDC had reduced regrettably to 136.

There was a complete joy on the part of the NPP obviously because, the reduction in the numbers NDC had previously presented a "cool chop" situation concerning the election of the speaker.

The Haruna Iddrisu led caucus was only left with one strategy at that crucial moment. On the back of their minds, they knew it was going to be more precarious for them to go with those tactics.

When the NPP MPs were comfortably taking some cool relaxation in their hotel in preparation for the swearing in ceremony, the Hon. Haruna Iddrisu led caucus had moved to Parliament with the injuncted Assin North MP to occupy the majority seat reserved for the NPP MPs.

That provocative move by the NDC was intended to delay the election of the speaker with its consequent effect on the swearing in of the President of the Republic of Ghana. When the the clerk of Parliament took over the chair, his attempt was to administer the oath to elected Members of Parliament was objected by the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin, MP for Effutu Constituency.

Hon. Alexander Kwamena Afenyo-Markin raised the objection on the back of the injunction against the Assin North and insisted that, once the clerk of Parliament had confirmed service of the injuction order on him, allowing the injuncted member on the NDC side to participate in the election of the speaker was going set in motion a dangerous collision between the two most important organs of government.

Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader who was not happy with the formidable argument put forward by the Deputy Majority Leader got up with a rebuttable argument which argument only demanded proof of service from the clerk. In fact, how absurd his demand was as a lawyer who ought to have known better with his twenty years experience at the Bar didn't matter to Hon. Haruna Iddrisu.

When the Deputy Majority Leader drew his attention to the fact that, since it was a bailiff who effected the services, the proof of same could only be done by the one who effected the service and not the person who was served, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu rejected that education and went ahead to place same demand before the clerk of Parliament.

That posture of the Minority Leader didn't appear as though he was ignorant of the law. He knew that, since the atmosphere was charged with a lot of sentiments, requesting the clerk to produce the proof of service was the only way he could adopt to prevent the clerk from discharging his mandate so far as the Assin North MP was going to be excluded from the swearing in.

Counter arguments on whether or not the injunction order was valid and effective lasted for more than five hours. When the NPP MPs realized that, insisting on their earlier position was going to cause an undue delay of the swearing in of the President the following morning, they surrendered to pave way for the swearing in of all Members of Parliament to allow the election of the Speaker to start.

When ballot boxes were set up eventually, the NPP leadership in Parliament had indicated to their Members that, voting was not going to be by secret. The strategy was to get all members whipped in line to ensure that, all the 137 votes including that of the independent candidate goes in their favour in order to be able to carry the day.

The Haruna Iddrisu led caucus dissatisfied with the above rejected the first ballot paper which was issued to the first member on the NPP side. A scuffle which led to an unfortunate kicking of ballot boxes ensued. Parliament was on tenterhooks throughout the night because, the Minority went to the chamber with a "do or die" mindset.

That "do or die" was a well calculated agenda to hurt the swearing in of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. As the saying goes," when men elect to shoot without missing, the bird will also learn to fly without perching."

It must be noted however that, when NDC MPs were moving up and down ostensibly to delay the swearing in of the President, NPP MPs on the otherhand were also moving forces to avoid any forms of delay.

Finally, Hon. Alban Kinsford Sumana Bagbin was elected as the Speaker of the 8th Parliament. The history dawn was set For the first time. Hon. Iddrisu's leadership delivered the first ever victory to the NDC after they were defeated in the 2020 general elections. The NDC and John Mahama organized a party to celebrate that historic moment as a form of appreciation to the Haruna led caucus.

NDC activists flooded social media with thunderous celebration of their men led by Hon. Haruna Iddrisu. How NDC footsoldiers celebrated the said victory could only be linked to how cheerful Chelsea supporters were when they won the champions league for the first time in 2012.

NDC footsoldiers were made to believe that, having the Speaker on their side was enough to frustrate Akufo Addo's government. When the appointment committee was constituted, they raised their hands in the sky and chanted" let the disqualification of nominees flow".

When the first batch of nominees were vetted and approved by the appointment committee, Sammy Gyamfi took to his facebook wall to express his revulsion. He attacked the Speaker and the entire NDC members on the appointment committee for approving the likes of Hon. Dominic Ntiwul who according to them had questions to answer in respect of the skirmishes which characterized the 2020 general elections.

For people like Hon. Ursula Owusu, NDC wanted her disqualified because of the shut down of radio stations by the National Communication Authority for non compliance. According to the lame Sammy Gyamfi, that exercise was carried out under her auspices as the sector Minister and so, her approval only goes to confirm how cheap NDC Members on the appointment Committee have become.

Some National officers of the NDC have even suggested that, NDC leadership in Parliament be reconstituted with immediatcy. Their reason for the call is that, the Hon. Haruna Iddrisu led caucus has lost its relevance and credibility in the eyes of the right thinking footsoldier.

It is surprising to note that, the very person whose astute leadership brought a resounding victory to the NDC is being hounded today on the basis of a common approval of nominees by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo.

Even with 137 Members, it appears the NDC is no longer interested in knowing how one of their own became a Speaker of Parliament even in opposition. They have soon forgotten that, an NPP MP made it possible for Hon. Alban Bagbin to be elected as the Speaker against the party's preferred choice.

This kind of backward appreciation can only come from the NDC.

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