The glorious badge she was expected to wear to bring a variation to Ghana’s political narrative is under stampede, not for the wrong reasons but towards the great glittering goal. She was the Education Minister in the Mahama administration between 2013 and 2017. That role went without as much ambiance as the deeper waters that her new badge appears to send her. She has no option but to jostle with the sharks in the bowels of the sea as the NDC makes the final calculations to choose a running mate for the Mahama 2024 ticket.
Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyeman was thrust into mainstream politics after she retired as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, UCC, becoming the Education Minister and later, as the Running Mate to John Dramani Mahama. The name of the latter is being floated around in some quarters for a comeback as the Leader of Ghana.
The friendly fire spewed on her is the result of the party’s failed bid at snatching the presidency from the NPP in 2020. Her proponents say with her inclusion, the NDC halved the one million vote gap the NPP secured to win the 2016 elections. This has triggered severe in-fighting in the NDC. Others are swarming in and she is being crowded out as the race for the veep slot of Mahama heats up.
Those showing up for the job have grounds that may be crystallized into four. Going into 2024, the dynamics stipulate that the NDC needs a consummate politician, a debater who will devise his own ways to strike down the other party, a centripetal force who draws more votes, and one whose presence would send the ruling party panicking.
Slices of these qualities were depicted by the Professor who is in the reckoning to become Ghana’s first female Vice-President, initially with the delivery of a fiery speech in support of Mahama and an attack on official duty-bearers as having muddied the national status quo.
Mentioned for the job of running mate include, a former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, the former CEO of Tema Oil Refinery, Kwame Awua-Darko, a former CEO of the Ghana National Health Authority, Sylvester Mensah, an IT Entrepreneur, Leslie Tamakloe, a former Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, a former Trade and Industry Minister, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, a Leading Cadre of the Rawlings-led Revolution, Goosie Tanoh, former Rector of the University of Professional Studies and Minister of State, Prof. Joshua Alabi, and a former CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Authority, Alex Mould,.
Others are the Founder and Chief Executive of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah, the Chairman of Jospong Group of Companies with Zoomlion as its subsidiary, Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, and a former Deputy Chief of Staff, Valerie Sawyerr.
Flagbearer John Mahama must be scratching his head due to the galaxy of stalwarts under his umbrella and the fact that he needs to win 2024 if he can nurse any hope of assuming the presidency again. Some decisions induce internal jamborees but are quickly followed by self-implosion and others may cause eerie feelings within but with an opposite effect on the larger plane. However, Mahama might not be at wits-end on this matter as the selection of a running mate is subject to approval by party structures.
Will he choose the easy way out or undergo the stressful procedure of choosing anew? Either way, the important overriding factor ought to be the one whose partnership with Mahama will influence voters the most, according to analysts. One thing is clear, the stakes have gone notches higher.