The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will today, hold a meeting to consider, among other things, possible names for government positions, including the Speaker of the next Parliament.
The names circulating for the position are Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye, a member of the NPP Council of Elders, Mr. Freddy Blay, the Acting Chairman of the party, and Mr. Joe Ghartey, Member of Parliament for Essikado-Ketan and Papa Owusu Ankomah, Member of Parliament for Sekondi.
Out of the four names, three have gained some experience in the chair as deputy speakers in previous parliaments.
Prof. Ocquaye, 72, served as the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament between 2009 and 2013, that is, the fifth Parliament under the Fourth Republic.
He is a former Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya from 2005 to 2015, and served as the country’s High Commissioner to India from 2001 to 2004. Prof Quaye was the Minister of Energy from 2005 to 2006 and Minister of Communications from 2006 to 2009.
Mr. Blay, who was instrumental in the party’s victory in last week’s polls, was the Second Deputy Speaker in the Second Parliament from 1997 to 2001, and the First Deputy Speaker in the third and fourth parliaments, which span from 2001 to 2009.
He is a former Member of Parliament of Ellembelle on the ticket of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and became the Acting Chairman of the NPP, following the suspension of the party’s Chairman, Paul Afoko.
Mr. Ghartey, born June 15, 1951, is the Second Deputy Speaker of the current Parliament, a position he has held since January 2013.
He has gained experience in the Chair and has supervised the consideration and approval of a number of government businesses in the House.
With his calm and witty disposition, Mr. Ghartey has supervised the consideration and approval of a number of government business in the House in the absence of the Speaker and his First Deputy.
He was appointed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in 2006 by former President John Agyekum Kufuor, after serving as the Deputy Attorney General.
Papa Owusu Ankomah, the MP of Sekondi, has not served in the chair before, but is seen as a main contender due to his vast experience in the House and his deep knowledge in parliamentary proceedings.
Having held the position of the Deputy Majority Leader and Majority Leader, Mr. Ankomah is considered as one of the most experienced legislators among the senior members in the current Parliament.
He is an inspiration to most of the young law makers and is admired by even members from the majority side of the House.
However, deep-rooted sources in the party claim that Prof. Mike Ocquaye stands tall among the other contenders for the position.
Members of the next Parliament are expected to select the next Speaker immediately the current Parliament is dissolved on mid-night, January 6, 2017.
In a related development, Parliament would, on Monday December 19, begin a registration exercise for members-elect to the seventh Parliament of the fourth Republic.
The members would be registered and issued with identification cards which will enable them vote for the selection of the next Speaker and other officials for the seventh Parliament.
A statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Parliament of Ghana, Kate Addo, urged all members-elect to participate in the exercise, which would take place at the New Administration Block, Committee Rooms 1 and 2 at Parliament
By Yaw Kyei