Ex-President John Dramani Mahama, the presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC)Mahama has finally settled on his running mate choice in the person of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, the former Education Minister.
The NDC vice-presidential candidate was revealed at a meeting of the opposition party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) today in the Accra headquarters of the party.
The announcement ends months of speculations among political watchers and red herrings from within the Mahama campaign.
Prof. Opoku Agyemang has since officially accepted the responsibility as the NDC’s vice-presidential candidate. In a statement issued today, she accepts the role with “honour and high sense of gratitude”.
“I pldge to diligently apply myself and dedicate all the energy and intellect I can muster to ensure a resounding victory for the NDC and for our country, Ghana. So help me God,” she said in a signed statement issued this afternoon.
Ms. Opoku-Agyeman is one of the few female Vice-Presidential choices in the history of Ghana’s Fourth Republic and her choice has come as a shock to many political analysts.
Analysts say Mr. Mahama had considered several calculations in finally settling on her after consulting with the party’s founder, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings.
For instance, Mr. Mahama may have picked Prof. Jane Opoku-Agyeman because she is from the Central Region where the NDC’s fortunes were significantly battered in the 2016 elections. The NDC use to hold over 20 Parliamentary seats in the Region, but were beaten thoroughly by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and were only able to maintain three seats in the Region.
Whatsup News gathered that Mr. Mahama may be banking on the current disgruntlement of Central Region residents with the NPP to salvage the fortunes of the NDC in the Region.
Also, analysts say Mr. Mahama may have settled for Prof. Opoku-Agyeman instead of the more vibrant and younger names that came up because these people are nursing presidential ambitions and would cause problems for John Mahama if he loses the 2020 elections and decides to make a bid for the 2024 Presidential elections.
Some of the names that were bandied around as potential running mates include ex-Finance Minister, Kwesi Botchway, Kwame Awuah Darko, the former boss of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Former Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah, Kwasi Ahwoi, a former Agric and Interior Minister, Alex Mould, ex-GNPC boss, incumbent general secretary of the NDC, Asiedu Nketiah among others.
Constitutionally, President Mahama is thrust into a unique position where he has just one four-year term left after serving his first term and losing a second-term bid. In this position, he has the opportunity to run for the presidency in 2020 and if he loses, he can still run for 2024, depending on how well he weathers the potential competition within the party.
Insiders say whether Mr Mahama wins the 2020 elections or not, Prof. Jane Opoku-Agyeman, a grandma, does not nurse any further presidential or even vice-presidential ambition beyond 2024. Alternatively, if Mr. Mahama had picked any of the names above and lost the 2020 elections, his choice would have been marketed enough to challenge his potential presidential bid in 2024.
The current choice, according to NDC insiders levels the playing field for everyone if Mr. Mahama wins the 2020 elections. The alternative gives Mr. Mahama a slight advantage over any potential rival for 2024.
Prof. Opoku-Agyeman is a veteran educationist and became the first female Vice-Chancellor of a public university of Ghana when she was appointed to head University of Cape Coast (UCC) in 2008.
As the Education Minister, Prof. Opoku-Agyeman is credited with championing several reforms within the educational sector, including the conversion of polytechnics into technical universities; Upgrading Colleges of Education into tertiary institutions and supervising several infrastructural projects in the educational sector. She is the incumbent Board Chair of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), an organization she has been a member of since 2014.