New Speaker pledges level playing field
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon. Aaron Mike Oquaye, has emphasised the need to give equal opportunity to both members of Parliament and also urged the experienced ones to mentor the upcoming ones.
In his acceptance address after taking the oath of office administered by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood on January 7,2017, Prof Oquaye said.
"It is a unique opportunity to serve our dear nation. I look forward to maximizing the opportunities for every member to contribute. I trust the experienced ones will mentor the up-coming. Those who sit in front should please learn to look behind them to allow others to contribute and remember that whereas they cannot normally see from the back of their heads I have been placed on this platform so that everyone can catch my eye. I intend to be fair to all and therefore seek your understanding in advance."
According to him the current conditions of service of Members of Parliament was not the best, and is calling on the public to seriously consider improving it.
He said the salaries of the Members of Parliament must be reviewed and he will help to achieve that.
Prof Mike Oquaye added that, Parliament needed a new chamber as well as a good library to facilitate its work.
“I want to use this opportunity to convey to our country men and women – we should seriously better the lot of our MPs. Why can’t MPs be given official vehicles for their work as pertains in other places? Then they can get loans for other vehicles for other uses.”he added.
PROFILE OF HON. PROFESSOR AARON MICHAEL OQUAYE
Professor Michael Aaron Oquaye was born on 4th April 1944 to Mr. E.G.N. Oquaye of Osu, Accra (a cocoa merchant) and Mrs. Felicia Awusiki Oquaye, (nee Azu) of Odumase-Krobo – the third of 7 children. He was brought up at Asamankese in the Eastern Region where he attended the Catholic and Presbyterian Schools before proceeding to Presec., Odumase-Krobo (O’Level) and Apam Secondary School (A’ Level), the University of Ghana , University of London and Lincoln ’s Inn, London . He holds B.A. Hons. (Political Science); LL.B. Hons., B.L. and Ph.D degrees.
His working life has been mainly a combination of private legal practice, lecturing in political science, doing active politics and pastoral work.
A barrister of the Supreme Court of England and Wales, he is also a senior member of the Ghana Bar. As an academic, Prof. Michael Aaron Oquaye achieved the singular distinction of winning within four years, the coveted International Rockefeller Senior Scholar Award (1993) and the Senior Fulbright Scholar Award (1997) is considered the highest award in Academia. He was a Visiting Scholar in connection with these in London (SOAS), and Virginia (George Mason), USA, respectively. He was Head of the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon (Oct. 1999-Jan. 2002.). He was Vice-President of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), with headquarters in Zimbabwe (1997-1999). He won the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences Silver Award for his published doctoral thesis, among several awards.
He has researched and written extensively, on good governance, conflict, political education, decentralization and development, human rights, military intervention in politics, NGOs, rural development and gender issues. He is a keen advocate of the rights of women including affirmative action. He is one man who has regularly featured in conferences on gender in this country. Above all, he has researched widely on parliamentary democracy. His books and articles have been published in England, Canada, USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ghana.
Prof. Oquaye’s rich experience in African politics has been tapped by many institutions in Ghana and abroad.
Hon. Prof. Oquaye was a diplomat, legislator, and politician. He served as Ghana ’s High Commissioner to India (2002-04); Member of Parliament for Dome-Kwabenya (2005 to 2013); Minister of Energy (2005-06); Minister of Communications (2006-07); The Second Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana (2009-2013).
His tenure as High Commissioner to India was a period of significant in Indo-Ghana Relations which include:
- Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre for Excellence in IT, a show-piece in the whole of Africa;
- Ghana’s Presidential Palace and Offices
- Tractors on concessionary terms to revamp agriculture;
- Uniforms, boots, motorbikes, bicycles and Mahindra vehicles on concessionary terms for the Security Service;
- Finally, one hundred and two million dollars facility to Ghana, which had forty eight percent grant element, twenty five years to repay, five years moratorium and 0.5 percent interest.
In Energy, he presided over the
- Deregulation exercise;
- Expansion and maximum application of TOR;
- Petroleum exploration. He signed the Agreement with Tullow which led to the first discovery of oil in Ghana;
- The recapitalization needs of VRA and ECG were identified and steps intensified to resolve same;
- The Amendment of the VRA Act which he introduced in this House brought about Independent Power Producers (IPP) in Ghana. This allowed Asogli and others to operate;
- The West Africa Gas Pipeline was commissioned by President Kufuor in his time;
- The Bui Dam MOU with Sino Hydro of China was signed in China by Hon. Prof. Oquaye in September, 2005, after lengthy negotiations.
As Minister of Communications, achievements included the following:
- Ghana and China signed a $30 million agreement for the national backbone project;
- The World Bank gave Ghana $40 million concessionary facility after all the relevant benchmarks had been satisfied in record time;
- The Ghana Society for the Blind was provided with the Braille computer system with the help of India;
- He was in charge of the initial steps for the divestiture of Westel and Ghana Telecom;
- Ghana attained record teledensity and rural telephony began with Chinese assistance.
In Parliament, Prof. took very keen interest in legislation and made meticulous endeavours in detecting minute slips. He made brilliant statements and contributions rich in depth. Committees he served on included Committee on Members Holding Office of Profit, Standing Orders Committee, Committee on Defence and Interior, Committee on Local Government and Committee on Communication.
And when he presided over the House his evenness and equanimity, pleased both sides of the House.
Prof. Michael Aaron Oquaye is currently the Executive Director of Africa Public Policy Institute (APPI) – a research Think Tank which he founded.
A Baptist Pastor, Prof. Oquaye is married to Mrs. Alberta Oquaye (nee Asafu-Adjaye) (Major Rtd.) with children. His hobbies include soccer, table tennis, reading, writing and music.