‘Approval was unanimous’ – Prof. Naana Opoku Agyeman is Mahama’s running mate
The approval was “unanimous”, the NDC National Communications Officer Sammy Gyamfi emerged from the party’s headquarters to confirm news that has been running since morning.
Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman will be running mate to John Dramani Mahama for the 2020 presidential elections.
Sammy Gyamfi’s announcement was after a long meeting among the NDC elders and party figures to discuss Mahama’s choice.
She becomes the first female running of the NDC, which for months has been under pressure to name its Vice-Presidential candidate.
Other close contenders in the race were Dr Nii Moi Thompson, an economist and a former Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).
Dr Kwabena Dufuor, former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning during the Mills administration; and Alex Segbefia, a former Minister of Health in the Mahama administration were also in the hat.
The choice of Prof Opoku-Agyeman means the NDC is sticking its faith with the Central Region where it has picked most of its running mates since 1992— Ekow Nkensen Arkaah (1992); J.E.A Mills (1996) and Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur (2012 & 2016).
The university don has scored many first already—she is the first Ghanaian woman to be appointed a Vice-Chancellor in 2008.
She would, however, become the seventh woman to run on the ticket of a political party in Ghana.
Other female running mates of the past
In 1992, Naa Afarley Sackeyfio became the first woman to be selected as a Vice-Presidential candidate in Ghana, joining the Presidential bid of the National Independent Party’s (NIP), Kwabena Darko.
The Peoples National Convention (PNC) followed suit 16 years later with Petra Amegashie as Dr Edward Mahama’s running mate.
In 2012, Cherita Frimpomaa Kumankuma ran with Forster Abu Sakara on the ticket of the CPP.
The PNC’s Hassan Ayariga also partnered Helen Senorita Dzatugbe Matervi in the 2012 polls, while the PPP’s Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom found competence in Eva Lokko(now late) as a running mate also in the same year.
In 2016, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom made another female choice for a running mate by choosing Brigitte Dzogbenuku.
However, the first woman to contest as a Presidential candidate was Former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings.
With just five months to the December 7 elections, the NDC needs to meet the constitutional requirements of naming a running mate before the Electoral Commission opens nominations.
Ahead of the elections, there are indications that fighting corruption would be a central message and Prof Opoku-Agyeman, does not appear carry any ‘dirty’ political laundry.
But many in the NDC are wary about her ability to counter Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who has become a torn in the NDC’s flesh.
Although she lacks the economic acumen of Dr Bawumia, her grips on academia where she was milled would be importance as the NDC seeks to counter President Akufo-Addo’s flagship free senior high school policy.
She also ticks the gender and feminists box.
Outside the NDC, the soft-spoken former Education Minister was heavily criticised for signing a petition for the release of the ‘Montie 3’—a group of NDC supporters and sympathisers who spewed unprintable words about the Supreme Court and threatened to rape the then Chief Justice, Justice Georgina Wood.
Under her watch, the NDC also cancelled the teacher trainee allowance, a move that their opponent in the New Patriotic Party made political capital out of in 2016.
Speaking on the dynamics of a selection of a running-mate, a political analyst, Dr Alidu Seidu, said apart from being able to work with the running mate, factors including ethnicity, regionalism, gender, experience and the ability to raise funds as key considerations.
“The running mate should be able to work with the President. There should be an element of compatibility. The person should have a governance skill.You should have the skills to manage the country in the absence of the president. It should not just be someone to partner the candidate but someone who can lead in the absence of the President.
Dr Seidu also noted that the candidate must also have a constituency in the party.
The attack has just started.
You can easily say someone is not taking the country serious but COVID 19 really show which people are not serious in this country, and you can tell… evening with all the resources on their side you see their own dying.
I can never trust them