The historic positioning of a Ghanaian woman in a real vantage point of a possible presidency was sealed on Monday night with the official outdooring of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as the Vice Presidential Candidate for the biggest opposition party-the NDC.
From the main auditorium of the University of Professional Studies where the outdooring took place, the accomplished academic held the whole nation spell-bound as men, and especially women, followed her acceptance speech keenly.
Professor Opoku-Agyeman will be at the frontline of fiercely patriarchal political structure of Ghana and would be challenging President Akufo-Addo recent claim on an international forum that women have not shown enough dynamism to earn a place at the decision making table.
Ghanaian women constitute 52% of the national population and leader in Ghana’s commercial sector. However, they barely form 30% of the decision-making hierarchy.
There are only 37 out of 275 Members of Parliament (14%) who are women. There are barely 30% of women in President Akufo Addo’s ministerial appointments of some 112.
At her unveiling the Professor acknowledged former President John Dramani Mahama, the 2020 flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), “Sir, you have respected women.”
“My Boss JM, by your choice, you have turned the struggles of so many women who have come before this moment into a probability…we all have a chance to finally make real our dreams of serving this country at high levels, of removing doubts and proving once again that we are capable….This is the time we have been waiting for,” she said.
“Your Excellency John Mahama, your singular decision to select me as your running mate has generated a whole web of responses and debates. But importantly, it is a new focal point for girls and women; you have respected women; the women of Ghana will not forget; the youth will remember; generations to come will commit your decision to memory and make it a reference point; we will partner with our men and youth, as we have always done, and work hard to achieve peace in our land, because that is the best way to respond to this high recognition,” Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said in her widely-hailed speech.
The accomplished Educationist who has already made history as the first Ghanaian woman to become the Vice Chancellor of a University however acknowledged that there was still a long way to go, as her inauguration came in the heels of the lynching of a 90-year-old woman accused of witchcraft.
“If we choose to be anywhere as a country, the destination should not include a place where a 90 year old woman, Akua Denteh, is stoned to death because someone has decided that she is a witch,” she said.
Incidentally, in the immediate aftermath of the announcement of Prof. Opoku-Agyemang’s name as Running Mate for the NDC’s 2020 Presidential ticket, she was branded as a witch by the Ashanti regional Chairman of the ruling NPP, Bernard Antwi Boasiako.
In 2019, while attending the Women Deliver Conference in Vancouver Canada, the Ghanaian President shocked many when he said, “We are not seeing enough dynamism and activism on the part of those who are seeking ..We are talking about decisions, not wishes and hopes, we are talking about decisions that are going to make the difference.”
The NDC’s unprecedented female vice presidential candidate called on all women and gender activist who wish to see change in the lots of women to convert their enthusiasm to action; register and vote in December.