Mr. Speaker, I will follow your advice and ignore the statement.
Mr. Speaker, hon. Hawa Yakubu was such an astute politician; she represented Bawku Central constituency twice, first as an Independent Member of Parliament and then later as the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament.
Everybody in Bawku, at least, will agree with me on one issue; that she was a very nice person -- very generous, very sympathetic -- and I think that all of us in the constituency will remember her for those values. In terms of generosity, et cetera, she set very high standards and many of us have had to strive very hard to meet some of the standards that she set as a Member of Parliament.
We certainly will miss her and as my hon. Colleague said earlier on, there were some indications that she was going up in terms of national politics. I can say definitely, as an NDC member, that whilst I would have been happy to have her on the ticket of the NPP so that I would at least boast that a constituent of mine is contesting a presidential election either as a candidate or a flag-bearer, I am definitely convinced that she would have ended up only as a presidential candidate.
But at least, we in the constituency were looking forward to hon. Hawa Yakubu as the first female aspirant either as candidate or running mate contesting on the ticket of the NPP so that we could just boast with that. Beyond that, we are certainly aware that Prof. Evans John Atta Mills will be the next President -- [Hear! Hear!] -- and unfortunately, that would
not have permitted hon. Hawa Yakubu to advance beyond being a candidate.
But let me indicate that the people of Bawku Central want to thank the entire country for the way everybody mourned with us, especially to the State for granting her State burial. We also want to thank the entire country, especially all those who travelled to Pusiga to mourn with the family and the constituency and to assist us to bury the late hon. Hawa Yakubu.
We are very grateful. Let me assure
you that the people of Bawku Central will continue to remember hon. Hawa Yakubu and to remember you all for the support and encouragement that you gave us as a constituency during this very sad period.
In terms of the international exposure that she has given our constituency, we are very grateful. Indeed at a certain point in the politics of this country, Bawku Central became a household term largely because of the politics of hon. Hawa Yakubu. Of course, it is still a household term also because of my own politics. We the youth have been inspired a lot by her politics and the women have been supported and we will continue to remember this great person who lifted very high the name of our constituency.
Capt. N. Effah-Dartey (retd) (NPP -- Berekum): Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement made by the hon. Member for Tarkwa Nsuaem (Mrs. Gifty Kusi).
Mr. Speaker, I was practising as a lawyer when I heard the name of Hawa Yakubu for the first time as an independent Member of Parliament for Bawku Central. I used to follow the proceedings of the House and she struck me as a very powerful contributer in Parliament.
Mr. Speaker, when by God's grace
I had the opportunity of coming to this House, I invited her in her capacity as the Minister for Tourism to visit Berekum, my constituency, and I was amazed at the way she readily accepted the invitation.
I remember the day that she and I travelled in her official car from her residence at Ridge at the time, all the way, at dawn, to Berekum; and she spent the whole day in Berekum, visiting the palace, visiting the training college, visiting various areas and interacting with the people. She commissioned the water project in Berekum and my people would never forget the constant smile on her face.
I do recall that when hon. Hawa Yakubu returned to the House from the Berekum trip, anytime she met me in this Chamber, she would always ask, “Captain, how is Berekum?” I was touched by the love she displayed for my constituency. Mr. Speaker, I was really disturbed when I heard of her demise.
Mr. Speaker, one thing I admired about hon. Hawa Yakubu was her resilient, fighting spirit. I remember when the NPP held our Congress at University of Ghana, Legon, I was there when I saw her all over the place campaigning seriously, even to the very dying minutes; and especially when she was called upon to say a few words before the voting took place, I noticed how she related with the audience.
Mr. Speaker, in losing hon. Hawa Yakubu, Ghana has really lost a gem. She was a Ghanaian through and through and she did not allow anything to be an impediment in her way. In fact, I believe many Ghanaians, especially women, have a lot to learn from the life of hon. Hawa Yakubu.
Mr. Speaker, I was also amazed at
the fact that given her age, over 50, she took the trouble to go to GIMPA to get a Master's degree in Governance and Leadership. For me what that meant was that education has no barrier in age and that no matter one's present age, one can aspire to higher levels in education. And so Mr. Speaker, I would urge fellow Ghanaians, especially women, to take a cue from the life of hon. Hawa Yakubu.
I join my colleagues in paying tribute
I travelled all the way to Pusiga to see her final resting place and as I was leaving Pusiga, especially after going to her house which she built herself, where she was laid in state for the wake-keeping, I was inspired. I wish her a perfect, everlasting resting place in the arms of the Lord.
Mr. Edward Kojo Salia (NDC -
Jirapa): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add a few words to the tribute so ably made by the hon. Member for Tarkwa-Nsuaem (Mrs. Gifty E. Kusi).
Mr. Speaker, I have not interacted with Madam Hawa Yakubu in New Patriotic Party (NPP) circles; I have known Madam Hawa Yakubu since the 1970s when she was the very capable Domestic Bursar of Navrongo Secondary School. Even in those days, her fighting spirit was legendary. She always talked for all schools.
In those days, I was the Managing Director of the Regional Development Corporation that handled essential commodities, and she always made a case for special treatment for the schools in view of the fact that those schools fed a lot of young people that needed most of the then essential commodities that were
in very short supply.
She was always a fighter but above everything, she was a human being. She was kind, selfless and I must say that she was somebody you could not afford to refuse anything she wanted because of her persistence and the way she made her request. It is unfortunate that we have had to lose her even at such a time that everybody was expecting her to go up the political ladder.
The controversy surrounding her death, particularly the causes, I must say, was regrettable. I am sorry that even though there were suspicions of poisoning and foul play, even if they were far-fetched or maybe were not substantiated, it is very typical in our country when people pass on that all sorts of allegations or suspicions are made about the causes of their death. All I can say is that if it were not the wish of the Almighty, Madam Hawa Yakubu would still have been with us. So we console ourselves in her life.
She actually laid a foundation particularly for women in politics. She was not the first Northern woman to enter politics but definitely she worked beyond the achievement of the past women politicians like Madam Lydia Kambadipo and Madam Ramatu in the early days of our country's political emancipation.
I am also certain that maybe if she had continued, she might have even gone beyond the achievements of Madam Susana Alhassan who reached the status of a Member of the Council of State. I do not see any reason why Madam Hawa could not have won the presidential nomination of the NPP because she both had the capacity, the connection and she had the drive to be nominated as the NPP presidential candidate.
Whose knows? Maybe, only maybe, she might have had the fighting chance for the presidency. It is unfortunate it did not happen but let us hope that those she inspired, the foundation she laid would encourage other capable and competent women to rise up to the occasion. All we can do at this point is to wish her a peaceful repose in the bosom of the Lord.
For those of us who managed to get to Pusiga, the over-pouring of grief was evident. I had expected to see a lot more people than I saw there but maybe as it is typical, excuses might have been made for the distance. But I think that she really deserved bigger attendance by some of our Colleagues to see her at her final resting place. This did not happen. Let us hope that there would be no more opportunity for us to make excuses in the future.
Minister for Women and Children's
Affairs (Hajia Alima Mahama): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Statement which is a tribute to the late Madam Hawa Yakubu.
Mr. Speaker, no individual, no party
could have found an antidote to Hawa's resilience, strength and commitment. We all know that Hawa had the bouncing spirit and she always bounced back at any point in time. It was only the icy hands of death that could stop that resilience, that strength and that energy.
Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians were shocked and shattered at the announcement of the demise of Madam Hawa Yakubu. People who were at the airport to receive her body all broke down in tears. I was amazed to see the number of men and women, boys and girls who were there at the airport to receive Hawa, and then followed up to the forecourt of the Parliament House.
People from all walks of life thronged the forecourt of Parliament House to mourn Hawa Yakubu. Contrary to what
my hon. Colleague has said, I was in Pusiga and the number of people that came to Pusiga was quite impressive. People from all over the regions of this country were in Pusiga to say farewell to Hawa Yakubu.
For many of us, Hawa was a big sister. For many men and women in Ghana, she would refer to you as “my brother” or “my sister” Personally, she was a sister to me and as many women in the country would testify, she encouraged many of us to join politics and actually stand for elections to become Members of Parliament. I know there are a number of women here who would all testify to the role Hawa played in encouraging us contest elections.
Not only did she encourage us, she stormed our constituencies to help us in our campaigns to make sure that we actually won and came to Parliament. I have no doubt that if Hawa had lived beyond 2008, the number of women in Ghana's Parliament would have increased because she would have continued to encourage and support women to run for elections.
Her generosity and her selflessness have been mentioned. Hawa was committed to supporting the poor and the vulnerable. She paid school fees for so many children across the country. She was from the northern part of Ghana but we can all testify that she had children all over the ten regions of Ghana. She supported women and children and young men all over the regions of the country.
She stood for the poor and the vulnerable and her commitment to see to the development not only of her constituency but the whole of northern Ghana should also be acknowledged, and I do acknowledge that.
Hawa Yakubu provided skills training
and empowerment for a number of women as well. Even from her own resources she would support women with capital to start their businesses. She believed in gender equality and women's empowerment. As a tribute to Hawa Yakubu, I would like to call on all Ghanaians, men and women who believe in the principle of gender equality and women's empowerment to work assiduously to ensure that that dream is brought into reality. This would be a testimony to her.
Indeed, on the day of Hawa's funeral at the forecourt of Parliament, we were all here mourning and crying, when a friend of mine asked me if I was going to the office and I said no, I was not going to office today; I was going home to rest because I just wanted to be alone. Someone gave me a lift because I just wanted to go and lie in bed and be by myself.