The Honorable Member of Parliament (MP) for the Adansi Asokwa constituency, Kobina Tahir (K.T) Hammond last Wednesday stares up Parliament when members were paying tribute to their departed former colleague Lee Ocran.
This was when, after the MP for Ellembele, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah had paid a glowing tribute to the late MP via a statement.
Describing him as a very simple personality with a unique sense of humility, humour, and affability, Buah indicated that the late Lee Ocran was a very jovial and approachable character with attributes which endeared him to all persons who came into close contact with him.
“He was a man who spoke bluntly what he believed was right, thus representing the truth. He was a reasonable combination of tradition and flexibility, whose mind spanned issues with ease” the statement maintained.
Buah pointed out that the late MP’s association with governance in this country dates back to the third Republic when he was a deputy minister for the Western Region and later as deputy minister of trade.
However, after the overthrow of the Liman regime, he had to go into excite for safety. On his return from exile in the mid 80’s he became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Pepsi Cola Ghana Ltd and served as the longest-serving CEO for that company.
Buah stated that when Ghana returned to civilian rule he joined the ruling National Democratic Congress Party and became a very active player in the party rising at a later state to become the party’s vice chairman.
The late Lee Ocran, the statement went on, later became the Deputy Science and Environment Minister during the Rawlings civilian administration, and under the late President John Evans Atta Mills Hon. Lee Ocran was made Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa and later served as Ghana’s Education Minister. And under President John Dramani Mahama, he was appointed as board chairman of Volta River Authority, (VRA).
Hon. Buah recalled how nervous he was in announcing this appointment as Minister of Energy then. The reason, he said was simple. “How do I supervise this giant, who in fact, became a deputy minister when I was still in the elementary school?”, he queried.
The MP stated that Lee Ocran was so dedicated and so professional that he made it so easy to work with him and his achievements at VRA speak volumes for themselves. Hon. Buah pointed out that the late Lee Ocran’s dedication and hard work were on display in all the positions he held till his demise on February 21, 2019.
While on behalf of Parliament expressing his heartfelt condolences to the widow, children and the entire bereaved family, Hon. Buah pointed out that by Lee Ocran’s death, he had personally lost a mentor, a friend and an icon, in the development of the Western Region.
He noted that the late Lee Ocran was also a gender activist, especially when it came to the issue on Women-their freedom, happiness and genital mutilation, etc.
After this, Hon. K.T Hammond, the first to contribute to the statement, indicated that it was a sad moment for Parliament to pay tribute to their late colleague. He stated that the late Lee Ocran was affable and did not discriminate against members, simply describing them as “Members of this House” However, he was checky. He expressed his happiness at the fact that his political carrier could not be truncated by his defeat by Samia Nkrumah, who’s presence in Parliament did neither add to, nor subtract from the number of Parliamentarians in the House.
However, since in Ghana, nothing bad is said of the dead, he had something unpleasant to say about his departed colleague. At this juncture, the speaker, Rt. Hon. Aaron Mike Ocquaye intervened and asked K.T to say a different thing. But K.T was poised to vomit out his reservation about his departed colleague.
This brought about an interjection between him and the speaker and K.T had to end his contribution abruptly. Later, when K.T was contacted on what actually he wanted to say about his departed colleague, he postulated that much as nothing bad is said about the dead in Ghana, he had something unpleasant to say about his late colleague and that if even he were laid in state, and he K.T was asked to pay his tribute to him (Lee) he would say it without reservation, either to his hearing or otherwise.
Pressed further, K.T revealed that in 2007 when he was Deputy Minister of Energy to Hon. Paa Kwesi Nduom, and the NPP came by the Oil find, by bringing a sample to the house, it was the late Lee Ocran who stood up to proclaim that the sample brought to the house was not oil after all but “Adwongo” (Palm Kennel Oil). So it was from there that his proclamation of Adwongo gained grounds in the country especially, within the NDC circles.
This, he said if given the chance, he would say it as it is wherever and whenever the chance offers itself.
Other members such as Hon. Joseph Yideh Chireh, MP for Wa West, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader and Joseph Kofi Adda, MP for Navrongo Central, when given the chance to contribute to the tribute, whiles expressing their sadness at Lee Ocran’s death, and wishing the widow, the NDC and Ghanaians condolences, paid glowing tribute to their departed colleague, describing him as affable, jovial, hardworking but very frank, speaking his mind whenever the occasion offered itself.
Source: S.O. Ankamah