It was supposed to be a battle of wit and strategy, on a night when two experienced legislators, one a former boss of the other, were expected to go toe-to-toe in what promised to be a tight race for speakership in Ghana’s 8th parliament.
Both the NDC and NPP had claimed to be in the majority, even before the dissolution of the 7th parliament, giving an indication of the drama to expect at the birth of the 8th.
The progress of the night’s business however rested on the shoulders of one man, Cyril Kwabena Oteng Nsia.
The Clerk of Parliament who assumed the role in 2019, had to face the toughest test of any of his predecessors in the fourth republic.
A section of the public has attributed Thursday’s debacle partly to his inability to keep a leach on the MPs who were clearly divided on who their Speaker was going to be.
First, there was a fiery query about whether or not his office has been served the order of the Cape Coast High Court barring the Assin North MP-elect, James Quayson from being sworn into office.
This generated debate over his attempt to deny Mr Quayson the opportunity to vote, lasting for hours.
The pressure on him to make a pronouncement was telling. It was not lost on the Directory of Parliament’s Public affairs, Kate Addo who even reached out to rub his back in a bid to calm him down.
But that was not enough to save him from the night which was only to get more chaotic and grueling.
From vandalizing ballot screens to snatching a ballot box, and then some ballot papers, the MPs disregarded all signals of his gavel. Even amid the brief presence of the military.
He was accused of not being firm enough and blamed for everything that happened on the night by the same MPs who failed to yield to his authority.
In the end, the job was done and history made. Under his supervision, Parliament elected its first member of the opposition to the high office of Speaker, Alban Bagbin.