Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make one or two comments on this Statement that has been made, as part of the celebration of the life of Mr P.V. Obeng by the Hon Member for Tamale South Mr Haruna Iddrisu.
Since the death of P.V. Obeng till today, I have listened to the tributes that people have paid to him. Sometimes you would wish that people could ask the good Lord after death, to let them come back for a week just to come and see how things have changed suddenly.
When Justice Annan died, that was the first time I started thinking deeply about
public life. I think that thought became deeper when I heard of the death of Mr P.V. Obeng. For those of us, as other colleagues have said, who have had the opportunity of working closely with Comrade P.V. Obeng, can attest to the fact that we are the better for having had that experience.
I certainly do not intend to belabour the point. This is because, as we say in my village, no matter how many words you use, the price of a horse is always fixed; the length of time you talk, would not reduce the price of a horse.
One of the greatest things we should do, as ably said by a number of Hon Members here, is that, the best way to celebrate the life of P.V. Obeng is to continue with the type of political astuteness and the legacy that he has left behind.
But Mr Speaker, Mr P.V. Obeng was not just unique in the sense of being a consensus builder. He had a number of very unique human qualities that has kept this country together for many years, and the only way one can appreciate this, in my view, is to share just one or two with you.
Mr Speaker, P.V. Obeng was the first person who made me make a distinction between a clever person and an intelligent person, because he combined both. Quite often, you have a lot and many more clever people but certainly, you do not have many intelligent people, and if an individual combines both being clever and intelligent, he indeed, always becomes an icon.
P.V. had a way of turning very serious and irritating circumstances into very light environments for those who encountered him.
I remember at a funeral one day, I was standing with him when one of his contemporaries came, and the first statement was, “P.V. are you still a
socialist? You know what he said? He said when you are twenty-one years and you are not a socialist, then you have a problem and that when you are forty and you are still a socialist, then you have a problem.
P.V. Obeng's response was, “being a socialist at forty is not a problem because you would then be a matured socialist.”
Another experience that I had was when there was an interview being conducted to send students to the Isle of Youth in Cuba. Any time I meet the one who made that statement, my mind always went back to P.V. Just to convince P.V. why his son must be given a place to go to the Isle of Youth, he said:
“P.V., you do not know that the very day they delivered this son of mine, he was speaking like Che Guevara.”
And what I remember P.V. say was: “Was it in English or Spanish? It became clear that, this person noticed that P.V. in a very shy way, would have recognized his exaggeration just to give the son an advantage.
There are so many of these instances normally associated with P.V. One uniqueness of his that I found was his ability to listen to very divergent, irritating and opposing views and you thought that in that type of meeting, there would not be a middle way. But anytime P.V. was summarising the issues, you would always find a middle way on the contesting parties.
There is not much more that we can say, the good Lord has called him home. This country has lost a political icon, the NDC has lost one of their greatest comrades, and I guess that society is the worse for it. We can only pray that the good Lord gives him a peaceful resting place and grants the family all the courage to accept this loss.
May his soul rest peace.