General News of Saturday, 29 July 2017
He was one of the few lucky politicians in Ghana given the fact he won a parliamentary seat as an independent candidate in his first attempt.
Again, when he decided to contest on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), he secured a resounding mandate from his people. And on his second shot on the same ticket, his people gave him a massive endorsement.
His childhood dream was to be a lawyer and an MP, and both have come to pass.
Mr Osei-Owusu, known in political circles as Joe Wise, was a polling station chairman for the NPP at Bekwai, became central ward chairman and later constituency chairman for the party at Bekwai. He had earlier served as an assembly member in the area.
After an illustrious six and half years as the Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) in the Kufuor administration, Mr Osei-Owusu took a critical decision – he resigned and entered politics ‘big time’.
He first contested the primary of the NPP at Bekwai in 2007 but lost by one vote to the then incumbent MP for the area, Mr Ignatius Kofi Poku Edusei.
He then decided to contest as an independent candidate in the same constituency in the 2008 Parliamentary election when he won the election. against Mr Edusei, who was also the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and Environment at the time.
Mr Osei-Owusu told this writer that it was the chiefs and people in the area who encouraged him to go independent following the challenge thrown to him by the sitting MP that he was unbeatable in the constituency.
His other advantage was that he was a constituency executive member of the NPP for many years which had given him a formidable support base.
And when Mr Osei-Owusu went to Parliament in 2009, he lent his support to the Minority in Parliament NPP.
In fact, Mr Osei-Owusu was out-spoken in Parliament as he spoke forcefully against government policies and transactional agreements.
When Mr Osei-Owusu took another critical decision to contest the NPP primary for the 2012 election in the same constituency, the people stood by him to win to continue to represent them in Parliament.
While in Parliament, Mr Osei-Owusu served on various committees including the Appointments Committee, the Road and Transport Committee, and the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of which he was the Ranking Member.
First Deputy Speaker appointment
Having served as a legislator for three consecutive terms and contributed to the victory of the NPP in the 2016 election, Mr Osei-Owusu believed that the time was ripe for him to take up a ministerial appointment.
But that was not to be as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the party bigwigs had another plan for him; to take the chair of the First Deputy Speaker of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
But Mr Osei-Owusu’s term started with an allegation of a bribery scandal involving him as the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP), some members of the committee and the then Minister-designate for Energy, Mr Boakye-Agyarko.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mr Mahama Ayariga, had alleged that Mr Osei-Owusu had taken money from Mr Agayarko and given same to the Minority Chief Whip and the Deputy Ranking member on the ACP, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak to be given to Minority me
A committee set up to probe the allegation concluded that Mr Boakye-Agyarko had not given any money to Mr Osei-Owusu to be given to Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak for the purpose of bribing members of the ACP.
According to him the bribery allegation had taught him an important lesson in his life and had changed the way he related to people.
Mr Osei-Owusu said as a First Deputy Speaker, he believed in objectivity and fairness as a leader and that the challenge he faced when he was made the First Deputy Speaker “was to suddenly become neutral.”
He said being neutral was difficult but indicated that “being fair comes to me naturally”, and added that “I want to be remembered as a fair First Deputy Speaker.”
Mr Osei-Owusu said his character was guided by humility, excellence and focus.
His advice for Ghana was to invest in technology for the country to industrialise and add value to the country’s resources to be competitive on the global stage.
He felt that Parliament was too dependent on the Executive as it could not pass any law without the Executive and wanted a reverse of that.
Mr Osei-Owusu was born at Bekwai in the Ashanti Region on January 22, 1962. He obtained a combined degree in law and classics from the University of Ghana, Legon in 1987.
From Legon, he continued at the Ghana Law School after which he was called to the Bar in 1990.
He was engaged in private legal practice for 13 years before entering public service as the Chief Executive of the DVLA.
He also obtained an Executive Master’s degree in Governance and Leadership in 2007 while still at the DVLA.
Mr Osei-Owusu has been married to Sylvia for 24 years.
They have three children, one girl and two boys and an adopted child. Mr Osei-Owusu likes football, since it was his game in his schooldays.