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2024: Why Prof Naana Opoku-Agyemang ticks all the right boxes to be NDC running mate

Prof Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang And John Dramani Mahama.png The moment John Mahama introduced Prof Naana as his 2020 running mate

Thu, 1 Jun 2023 Source: Henry Osei Akoto, Contributor

It was during a visit by John Dramani Mahama, flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and former president of Ghana, and Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, the 2020 running mate of the party, to Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, in 2020, that these words were spoken of her: your integrity earned you running mate position.

Those were the words of President JJ Rawlings, Founder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), when the two visited him. The visit was to afford John Mahama the opportunity to formally introduce the former Minister of Education, as well as the first- ever female Vice Chancellor of a public university in Ghana, Prof Opoku-Agyemang, as his 2020 running mate.

Satisfied with the choice by the former president, Rawlings remarked that “There is no doubt that it is your integrity that has earned you the position as running mate. You have come through the right door.”

And with her candidature, it was clear how much attraction and numbers she brought to the NDC in the 2020 general elections, although the eventual results did not go in the favour of the party.

The results of the 2016 elections from the Central Region of Ghana, from where Prof Naana hails from were as follows for the presidential polls: John Dramani Mahama – 405,262 total votes, representing 43.43% of all votes cast in the region, as against the 496,668 (53.22%) votes for the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo.

In the 2020 general elections, when Prof Naana was running mate, the results of the Central Region saw some significant upward trend in terms of numbers. The results for the presidential were 524,038 votes for John Dramani Mahama, representing 45.9%, while Nana Akufo-Addo garnered 602,111 votes representing 52.7% of votes.

There is clearly no empirical evidence to show that the candidature of Prof Naana Jane Odoku-Agyemang made this number difference possible, but there is no denying the fact that hailing from the Central Region, her influence played a significant role in this regard.

Her appointment as the 2020 running mate of the NDC in July 2020, as communicated by the National Communications Officer of the party, Sammy Gyamfi, to the press, also reaffirmed her candidature in the strongest words possible: “That choice has been approved unanimously by the Council.”

What polls have said

According to a poll organised by the Ghana Election Poll, powered by GhanaWeb and the Africa Consumer Panel, between August 1 and September 31, 2020, it showed that out of the 2,246 respondents, a significant 75% of Ghanaian adults believe that the choice of Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang is a good one, and for which reason they would easily vote for her.

The poll also found out that a significant 78% of Ghanaians, who consider themselves floating voters, believe that her choice as the 2020 running mate of the NDC was equally a good choice.

There is also clear evidence that the candidature of Prof Naana in 2020 continues to receive wide appeal across all groups from the ages of 20 to 59 years.

What John Mahama thinks of Prof Opoku-Agyemang

All in all, when it has mattered most, the man by whose side she stood in the 2020 general elections, and with whom they amassed several huge votes across the country, including those from many women, has always spoken highly about her abilities.

While introducing Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate in 2020, the former president said she has overwhelming impressive qualities and confidence.

“With Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, l can confidently say that we have made the best choice for Ghana. We are providing a winning, credible and most competent ticket,” he said.

In terms of her track record, he said “I was glad when one of her sterling contributions to academia and health care as my Minister for Education sequenced the genome of the virus, which causes coronavirus disease. I am referring to the establishment of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens.

“Leading the transformation of the educational sector as our Minister for Education, our Running Mate supervised the achievement of many great feats that make me proud to be working with her.

“She converted polytechnics into fully-fledged technical universities, led the negotiations that secured the World Bank funding for the flagship Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) that saw the major upgrading of facilities in Senior High Schools and the construction of 23 Community Day Senior High Schools,” he listed as some of the achievements under her watch as Minister of Education.

The lines are drawn again as the big announcement is in the offing on who will partner John Dramani Mahama as running mate of the National Democratic Congress into the 2024 crucial general elections.

There is no doubt that the Mahama-Opoku-Agyemang ticket is a winning one; one that is established and has received wide patronage and acceptance.

This is the reason John Mahama should not change his choice of the former minister. This match is surely made in Heaven and Ghanaians, as well as the NDC, will be proud of this choice.

Profile of Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang

Prof Naana Opoku-Agyemang is the President of the Forum for African Women Educationalists and Chairperson of the Africa Board. She was a Professor of Literature, School of Humanities and Legal Studies, University of Cape Coast.

She was Minister of Education, Ghana, from January 2013-2017, and was the Vice Chancellor (President) of the University of Cape Coast (2008-2012), the first woman to hold the position of Vice Chancellor in Ghana.

At the University of Cape Coast, she was Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dean of the Board of Graduate Studies and Founding Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

She was also the Academic Director of the School for International Training’s African Diaspora Program for eleven years.

Professor Opoku-Agyemang has a BA (Hons) in French and English, a Diploma in Education from the University of Cape Coast; a Diploma in Advanced Studies in French from the University of Dakar; an MA and PhD in Literature from York University, Toronto, Canada.

She is the recipient of many inter/national awards, including Officer of the Order of the Volta, which is the highest award Ghana bestows on her citizens (for Academic Distinction); Ghana Women of Excellence Award (Category: Education); Doctor of Letters (DLitt) University of Cape Coast (Honoris Causa HC); Doctor of Humane Letters (DLitt) [HC], Grand Valley State University, Michigan, USA (HC); Doctor of Humane Letters, (DLitt) [HC], Winston Salem State University, North Carolina, USA (HC); Doctor of Laws (LLD) University of the West Indies (HC); Global Leadership Award, University of South Florida, USA; and twice recognized for Outstanding Performance in Advancing International Education, School for International Training, Vermont, USA.

She has been member of many inter/national boards and committees including the College of Physicians and Surgeons as an Eminent Citizen; the Centre for Democratic Governance, (CDD-Ghana) the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Editorial Board, The Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora (Africa World Press Inc. USA); Africa Initiative, Canada; Adam Matthew Digital, UK. She has many publications on Women in Literature, Oral Literature in Africa (the narrative) and Issues in the African Diaspora.

Professor Opoku-Agyemang has twice been a Fulbright scholar and is currently a member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning.

She has three children and two adorable grandchildren.

The writer was the 2020 NDC parliamentary candidate for the Oforikrom constituency general elections.

Source: Henry Osei Akoto, Contributor
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