Former Member of Parliament for Nadowli/Kaleo Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has been elected the Speaker of the Eighth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Bagbin polled 138 votes while Professor Mike Oquaye obtained 135 with one spoiled ballot in a tempestuous election that lasting almost 11 hours.
He made history as the first Speaker from an opposition party in the country’s parliamentary democracy.
The new Speaker who served as Second Deputy Speaker in the Seventh Parliament will be ably supported in the chair by First Deputy Speaker and member for Bekwai, Joseph Osei Owusu who retained his previous position by consensus.
Independent candidate for Fomena, Andrew Asiamah was also elected by consensus as the Speaker Deputy Speaker.
The processes leading to the election of the Speaker were, however, bizarre as they were dramatic.
During nomination of the candidates for the Speakership, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) attempted to have MP for Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson evicted from the Chamber and prevented from participating in the swearing-in ceremony.
MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin made an application to the Clerk who served as Chair for the House of an injunction issued against Gyakye Quayson by a Cape Coast High Court and the need to apply the law.
However, Members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) protested vehemently and the leader of the side, Haruna Iddrisu, pointed to the Chair that the MP has not been served and could therefore not be denied taking the oath of office.
The voting process generated another standoff when NPP members continued to display their ballots to their side of the House, which drew sharp criticism from the NDC who insisted the ballot should be secret.
An outlandish attempt to dump an illegal paper into the ballot box saw NDC MPs rush on the culprit leading to fisticuffs and the destruction of the voting screen.
The highlight of the morning was, however, when heavily armed soldiers numbering over 20 invaded the Chamber of Parliament after the standoff and attempted to whisk some NDC MPs away.
The side, however, put up fierce resistance and continued to sing the national anthem and some solidarity songs until the military men gradually sauntered away eventually.
The appearance and eventual departure of the soldiers, however, did not end the drama as another weird incident was recorded when MP for Tema West, Carlos Ahenkorah, snatched the ballot papers during the counting and took to his heels.
MP for Asawase, Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak gave a hot chase and accosted the former Deputy Trade Minister before he rushed out of the Chamber.
This brought the counting to an abrupt end and the Table Office, which supervised the election exited the Chamber.