Parliament on Wednesday paid glowing tribute to late Hon. Lee Tandoh Ocran, a member of parliament for Jomoro in the Western Region, who passed away on Thursday 21st February 2019, describing his demise as a “very great loss” to the country.
The lawmakers praised Ocran, who until his death was a peacemaker among his people in Ashanti and the country.
The Members of Parliament (MPs) were contributing to a tribute read on the floor of Parliament by Hon Emmanuel Kofi Armah Buah, the current MP for Ellembelle.
Hon Buah described late Ocran as, a Peace loving person and a hard working who drive for development in the Constituency, “I have personally lost a mentor, a friend and an icon for the development of the western region and indeed Ghana.”
“My Speaker, the late Lee Ocran’s association with the governance of this country dates back to the Third Republic when he was the deputy Minister for the Western Region and later as the deputy minister of trade. On return from exile in the mid 80’s he became the CEO of PEPSI COLA and served as the longest CEO of PEPSI COLA Ghana,” he stated.
Late Lee Ocran served as Ambassador to South Africa and later Minister of Education under late John Evans Atta Mills administration.
He will be buried on Saturday April 13, at his home town at Jomoro,,in the Western Region.
STATEMENT BY HON. E ARMAH-KOFI BUAH IN MEMORY OF HON LEE OCRAN
Mr Speaker, It is with a heavy heart that I rise to pay tribute to the late Hon. Lee Tandoh Ocran whose sudden death occurred on Thursday 21st February 2019
The late Hon. Lee Ocran was a former Member of Parliament and a former Minister of State.
I have personally lost a mentor, a friend and an icon for the development of the western region and indeed Ghana.
My Speaker, the late Lee Ocran’s association with the governance of this country dates back to the Third Republic when he was the deputy Minister for the Western Region and later as the deputy minister of trade. On return from exile in the mid 80’s he became the CEO of PEPSI COLA and served as the longest CEO of PEPSI COLA Ghana.
When Ghana returned to civilian rule he joined the NDC and became a very active player of the party rising at a later stage to be the party’s vice chairman. He was the deputy science and environment minister during the Rawlings civilian administration. Under The Late Mills he was made Ghana’s High Commissioner to South Africa and later as Ghana’s Education Minister. Under President John Mahama he was appointed as the Board Chairman of VRA, I recall how nervous I was in announcing his appointment. The reason was simple- How do I supervise this Giant who in fact became a deputy minister when I was still in the elementary school?
Mr Speaker I am happy to note that he was so dedicated and so professional that he made it so easy to work with him and his achievements at VRA speaks volumes. His dedication and hard work was on display in all the positions he held.
As the Vice Chairman of the NDC he is credited for his steadfast commitment to the ideals of social democracy and his role in ensuring that those ideals reflected in the NDC’s manifesto and governance.
The Late Hon Lee Ocran, a native of Nawule in the Jomoro District of the Western Region became associated with the Parliament of Ghana on the 7th of January, 2005, having won the elections on 7th December, 2004 to represent the good people of Jomoro. Although a one term Member of Parliament, he dutifully served the good people of Jomoro and the nation till his tenure ended on the 6th of January, 2008.
In Parliament, he served on the Business Committee, the Committee on Roads and Transport and the Committee on Health where he served as the Ranking Member. As a Member of Parliament, Hon Lee Ocran was very active both at Committee and at Plenary, and always emphasised national unity as a necessary ingredient for building strong democracy.
Contributing to a Statement on International Women’s day he said and with permission I quote:
“… In the former Eastern Europe during the Soviet era, 8th March was a public holiday in all socialist countries. It was a day when women were honoured, women were appreciated, presents and flowers were given to women by the menfolk. We in Ghana today do not give any prominence to this day. I wonder how many ordinary women even know of this day. I wish to call on our women leaders to try to propagate the day so that we the men would be encouraged on this day to honour our women… for the support that they give us at home” [vol.55, no.21] [page 1083]
Still on issues affecting women, in Ghana in particular, Hon. Lee Ocran condemned female genital mutilation as a very cruel, degrading and dehumanising practice. Addressing the issue of female genital mutilation in his contribution to a Statement on the subject matter on the Floor he stated:
“As for female genital mutilation, I do not think there are many men who would support the act because it is not only cruel to women but it also deprives a certain group of people from the few pleasures that they get.”[Page 1083]
As an indigene, he was very passionate whenever he had the opportunity to speak on developmental challenges confronting the nation and the Western Region in particular. He, like other colleagues from the Western Region had always impressed upon government to implement measures to address the infrastructural gaps in the Western Region. Thus, being motivated by some development initiatives in the harbour and in the rail sectors of the Region, as alluded to by the then Minister for Harbours and Railways, Lee Ocran had this to say:
“Mr Speaker, I have been motivated to rise and speak to the Statement made by the Honourable Minister for Harbours and Railways. I am motivated because as a Western Region person, railways is part of my life. In fact life in Sekondi/Takoradi revolves around the harbour and railways… With the decline of railways, economic activities in Sekondi in particular have declined tremendously and Sekondi is almost a ghost town. Therefore, I am happy to hear that great efforts are being made to revamp the railways” [page 1152-1153 vol.55, no.22]
He was a true State functionary who was not just concerned about socio-economic and infrastructural development of Ghana. He also related to issues on global threats to the development of the country including environmental pollution, desertification, climate change and global warming.
Contributing to debate on climate change in the House, he observed as follows:
“ … Global warming is a topical issue of our times… Global warming goes far. About 10 years or 15 years ago the Inter-Governmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) was formed to look at the issue of greenhouse emission and global warming… If you look at the arctic area the snow is melting and with the snow melting those of us living along the coastline are really in danger because it can lead to flooding”. [Page 815 vol.56, no.16]
Hon Lee Ocran continued to deepen ties with Parliament when he later served as a Minister of State responsible for Education. His prompt attendance upon The House and its Committees and the very friendly manner in which he related to both colleague MP’s and staff of the Parliamentary Service could still be recalled with some nostalgia. The courtesies he extended to Parliamentary delegations to South Africa where he later had the opportunity to serve the nation’s High Commissioner provided yet another opportunity for him to continue with his warm relationships with his colleague MPs in his previous life as a Member of Parliament.
He was indeed a very jovial and affable character, which attributes enabled him to endear himself to all persons who came into close contact with him. He was a man who spoke bluntly what he believed was right or represented the truth. He was a reasonable combination of tradition and flexibility. His mind spanned issues with ease. Admittedly, he was a very simple personality with unique sense of humour and very approachable.
As I mourn his sudden departure to glory, I on behalf of Parliament extend a heartfelt condolence to the widow, children and the bereaved family.
May the soul of the late Hon. Lee Ocran and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Lord. Amen.