The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President John Dramani Mahama, is expected to officially unveil his running mate for the 2020 presidential elections today [July 6, 2020].
The NDC NEC members arrived for the meeting for Mahama to present his running mate.
Unanimous approval. I can tell you that the running mate of his ex-John Dramani Mahama is professor Nana Opoku Agyeman
The approval was “unanimous”, the NDC National Communications Officer Sammy Gyamfi emerged from the party’s headquarters to confirm the news that has been running since morning.
Prof. Jane Nana Opoku-Agyeman will be running mate to John Dramani Mahama for the 2020 presidential elections.
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 are Dr Nii Moi Thompson, an economist and a former Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC).
Others thought to be in the race are 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.
If Prof Opoku-Agyeman is confirmed, it meant 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).
— JoyNews (@JoyNewsOnTV) July 6, 2020
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 third woman to run on the ticket of a political party in Ghana—Cherita Sarpong Kumakuma for the Convention Peoples Party (2012) and Brigitte Dzogbenuku of the Progressive Peoples Party (2016).
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 the leading contenders, particularly Prof Opoku-Agyeman, who does not appear to 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 important 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 has been under the political surgeon’s knife 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.
As the speculations mill run for months, Dr Nii Moi Thompson was nowhere in the list. But as the race and the list narrow to the finish line, the self-confessed Convention Peoples Party (CPP) member has popped up as a hot candidate.
Dr Thompson before his return to Gnana in 1997 has seen a senior economist at the New York State Bureau of Fiscal and Economic Analysis in New York City.
He would go on to work for himself and a number of local and international organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme, for which he served as a senior economic advisor in South Africa, before returning home again to join the government of Ghana in 2013.
Among his highs is also the fact that there is no link to political tag on his neck and he remains vocal and is a respected voice on the economy in Ghana.
Dr Kwabena Dufuor, the embattled owner of the collapsed uniBank is also in the race. While many sees his current cases before the courts as an albatross for the NDC if he is chosen, the respected businessman is seen as a gain for the NDC given his economic background.
During his tenure as Minister of Finance, the Mills administration achieved single-digit inflation and also recorded the country’s highest growth in 2011.
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.
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