Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, has paid tribute to the late Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, a former Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament.
In his tribute copied to Ghana News Agency, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu eulogised the late Mr Owusu-Adjapong for his immeasurable contributions towards the socioeconomic development of the nation and the consolidation of its democratic governance.
He noted that the first week in October 2023, had been one of anguish.
He said the week was full of thorns and thistles for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the nation.
He noted that the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the world-wide body of Parliaments in countries that in the past had come under the rule of Great Britain was to have its Annual Conference in Accra from 30th September to 6th October 2023.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Ghana branch had sent invitations to former Speakers of the Ghanaian Parliament as well as former Leaders of the House.
He said Mr Owusu-Adjapong, a three-term Member of Parliament for Akim Swedru was a Majority Leader after the brief leadership of Mr Papa Owusu Ankomah, and, as such, had been invited to the inaugural event.
“Speaker Alban Bagbin, the host Speaker, enquired from me whether the Speakers and leaders could make it. That was in the evening of Tuesday, October 3,” he stated.
“I informed him that I had met both Professor Mike Oquaye and Right Honourable Sakyi Hughes at President John Agyekum Kufuor’s residence and the former had confirmed he would be coming.
“I indicated that I had not heard from Hon Felix Owusu-Adjapong for a while, but I thought he might be in good shape as he was doing very well the last time I visited.”
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the following day, Wednesday, October 4, 2023, just the day after that conversation with Speaker Bagbin, the transition of Mr Owusu-Adjapong came through.
He said showing the communication to the Speaker in the evening at the Conference Centre at the dinner for the conference catapulted him from his chair.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said Mr Owusu-Adjapong, as a Leader of the House was one who was always looking for results.
He said Mr Owusu-Adjapong would not allow anything to stand in his way; declaring that as the Leader of Government Business, his attitude was that a government was elected to fulfil its social contract, encapsulated in its manifesto, with the people.
The Majority Leader said that regarding the work programme of the elected administration must be duly implemented, and Parliament must provide effective partnership.
He said if the people, the ultimate beneficiaries, felt short-changed, they were clothed with the authority to vote out the government.
He explained in other words, in his considered view, the Minority must have their say, but the Majority would have their way.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said some in the Minority group in Parliament considered that Mr Owusu-Adjapong was uncompromising and gave him the accolade, “Great Leader.”
He said paradoxically, Mr Owusu-Adjapong came to love the title and signed letters with the “honour” bestowed.
He said the surveyor and lawyer that Mr Owusu-Adjapong was, he was thorough in his activities.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu recalled that in 1997 when the NPP first entered Parliament, the number for the Parliamentary group was just 61 in the 200-member chamber.
He said the Caucus was complemented by four Convention People’s Party (CPP) members and two People’s National Convention (PNC) which brought the Minority up to 67 denying the NDC the watershed two-thirds, which would have given them absolute majority.
He said the conduct of activities in Parliament in those times engendered desperation especially, when the then Speaker, Justice Daniel Francis Annan insisted that because the ratio in the House was 2:1, he would, on any subject matter of debate or comment in plenary, accord the NDC two speaking turns and one for the Minority Caucus.
This, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said, compelled the NPP group to begin a frantic exercise to expand their numbers.
He said Mr Owusu-Adjapong provided the group space at his office; declaring that the group was populated by back-benchers.
He said that meeting birthed “Mission 2000” which was the fund-raising vehicle which was used to support the orphan constituencies.
He reiterated that each MP adopted one orphan constituency.
The Majority Leader said the upshot of it all, entering January 2021, was the dramatic overnight increase in the numbers of the NPP to 103 from 61.
He said Mr Owusu-Adjapong was very instrumental in the mobilisation of the funds: at least 20 per cent of the funds raised came directly from his contacts.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the resources came to be placed at the disposal of the Party.
He said Mr Owusu-Adjapong served under two Speakers, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey and Mr Bagyina Sakyi Hughes, the latter of whose election he, Mr Owusu-Adjapong, was very instrumental in.
He said the Majority Leader, Leader of the House, and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Owusu Adjapong was one of the 17 people who put in their hat in the NPP’s Presidential primaries to succeed President Kufuor.
He noted that after the abortive attempt, he was brought back into the Executive as the Minister for Energy from where he exited the Executive and Parliament on January 6, 2009; stating that since then he had led a quiet life.
The Majority Leader said there could not be any doubt that he fought a good fight for the cause and the Party, the NPP, that he believed so much in.
“Senior Felix! May your soul rest in perfect peace,” the Majority Leader prayed.