Otiko approval: Speaker wasn’t biased – Majority

Speaker of parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye in Parliament

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The Speaker of parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, was fair in his handling of proceedings regarding the approval of Otiko Afisa Djaba as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Tuesday February 7, Mathew Nyindam, First Deputy Majority Chief Whip in Parliament, has said.

The Speaker of parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye, was fair in his handling of proceedings regarding the approval of Otiko Afisa Djaba as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection on Tuesday February 7, Mathew Nyindam, First Deputy Majority Chief Whip in Parliament, has said.

According to him, attempts by the Minority to debate Ms Djaba’s nomination Tuesday, was immaterial given that the debate had been exhausted on Friday February 3.

“Parliament was only to vote on her yesterday, not to debate,” he told Chief Jerry Forson, host of Ghana Yensom, on Accra100.5FM on Wednesday February 8.

His comments follow concerns by Ahmed Ibrahim, First Deputy Minority Chief Whip that the Speaker was biased during proceedings.

“We respected the Speaker by not walking out of parliament when the voting was going on, we could have done that. The Speaker decided not to call the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu for him to make known the concerns of the Minority. We were not happy with it and so you realise that after proceedings, when the Speaker called the Minority Leader, he turned and looked away.”

But Mr Nyindam explained: “If you listened to Ahmed Banda, he said they respected the Speaker by not walking out, but concluding, he said when the voting had been done and the Speaker asked the Minority Leader a question, he ignored him. Is that respect for the Speaker?

“If you look at Order 109 on Friday, the issues about Otiko Djaba were exhaustively debated. We debated up to a point and the Speaker ruled that we had to vote, so the issue about whether we were going to vote or not ended on Friday and so there was no need for any debate. What we needed to do was the voting. This Speaker by far has one of the friendliest Speakers in Ghana’s parliament. He listened to both Minority and Majority Leaders yesterday (Tuesday). Meanwhile, per Order 109, he could have declined listening to them because the debate ended on Friday.

“The only thing he could have done was to move straight to the voting but he allowed both sides to air their views, but at a point the debate was ongoing and he said he was not taking it any longer and that we had to move into voting.”