John Mahama and Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang
John Mahama and Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

On Saturday 13th of May, 2023 the National Democratic Congress (NDC) unequivocally voted for John Dramani Mahama (JDM) as their flag bearer and president hopeful with 297, 603 votes representing 98.9% of the valid ballots cast by delegates of the party.

According to Article 43 of the NDC constitution, the party’s presidential candidate shall nominate a running mate in consultation with the Council of Elders and the National Executive Committee (NEC). This piece contends that Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemng (JNOA) is the best candidate to partner with JDM to bring victory to the NDC come 7th January 2025.

Ghana’s democracy is the envy of most countries in West Africa, we are touted as a trailblazer and a pioneer in democracy. The country’s shining example of democracy led Prof SKB Asante to describe Ghana as the “Mecca of Democracy and good governance”.

Having passed Samuel P Huntington’s turnover test in 2008, we are gradually on our way to consolidating our democracy. After 8 parliamentary and presidential elections, you will agree with such assertions, however, our democracy is fraught with a litany of challenges, one of such is the low-level participation of women in Ghana’s body politic at all levels in the country.

Like several other African countries, Ghana has never had a female President or Vice President in her democratic dispensation of the fourth republic. The legislature and the judiciary, the two other organs of government have had women as the Speaker of Parliament and Chief Justice respectively. Rt. Hon Justice Joyce Adeline Bamford-Addo was the first female speaker of the parliament of Ghana. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood was the first female Chief Justice and she was succeeded by another female Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo. The current Chief Justice nominee is a woman in the person of Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkonoo. But this feat is yet to happen in the executive arm of government.”

Currently, in the 8th parliament of the fourth republic, there are just 40 female Members of Parliament (MP) out of 275. It must be noted that this is the highest number of female representatives in parliament in the history of the fourth republic of Ghana. 20 MPs from the NDC side and 20 from the New Patriotic Party (NPP). This is just 14.5% of the total population of MPs. The first-time women were introduced into the parliament of Ghana, Mr Victor Owusu described the female parliamentarians as “a sprinkling of ‘lip-sticked’ and ‘pan-caked’ faces of doubtful utility to the deliberations of the House”. In the words of Allah-Mensah “The state of Ghana is still inherently masculine and continues to grow in that tandem at the expense of women”.

I contend that Prof. JNAO is the best candidate to partner with JDM in the run of 2024 elections for the following reasons below. The comatose of Ghana’s economy puts the NDC and JDM in pole position to win the 2024 elections. This has been corroborated by local researchers such as Global Info Analytics and also by international researchers such as the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as it asserts in its 2023 country report on Ghana “We expect a transfer of power to the NDC at the 2024 election…..”.

In the eventuality that the NDC wins the 2024 elections, Prof. JNOA automatically becomes the first female Vice President in the history of Ghana. This will be groundbreaking and a shattering of the glass ceiling which women have been subjected to in the Politics of Ghana. The NDC has the opportunity to be the one to set this great record in the history of Ghana and it must not be taken likely.

In 2016, JDM polled 4,800,737 votes representing 44.6% of valid votes cast and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (NADAA) polled 5,773,299 votes representing 53.85 of the valid votes cast.

In 2020, JDM polled 6,170,492 representing 47.2% of the valid votes cast. NADAA also polled 6,692,630 representing 51.2% of the valid votes cast.

Comparative analysis of the valid votes cast for JDM in 2016 and 2020 reveals that there was an increment in the voter turnout, notwithstanding that there was close marking from JDM who was defeated by NADAA by 522,138 votes.

That was a substantive closure of the gap between JDM and NADAA by 972,562 votes in 2020 as against 522,138 in 2016.

There was an increment in the percentage of the total valid votes cast as JDM increased his votes from 2016 to +2.7% in 2020 whiles NADAA’s percentage was reduced by -2.4% in 2020  I wouldn’t want to go into the hung parliament where the NPP lost 32 seats to be at par with the NDC at 137 seats each.

One of the factors for the significant increment in the votes for JDM was the nomination of Prof JNOA as his running mate without a doubt.

Statistics from the 2021 Population Housing Census (PHC) of Ghana reveal that there are more females than there are males in Ghana.

A female Vice President will definitely have a bearing on policy direction and strategy in Ghana. There are 400,000 more females in Ghana than there are males. Women constitute 15.6 million, representing 50.7 of the population of Ghana and men consist of 15.2 million, representing 49.3%. Again the 2021 PHC reveals that the Volta region which is the stronghold of the NDC has the highest number of females relative to males.

This is an opportunity for the NDC to end female voter apathy and utilize Prof. JNOA as their trump card to win female votes. It is imperative to also note that females outnumber males in 10 out of the 16 regions of Ghana. The gender dynamics give a new twist to elections in Ghana and the NDC has such a great opportunity to benefit from this.

It will be unfair to finish this piece without recognizing the qualification and competence of Prof JNAO. In the words of JDM when she nominated her as running mate in 2019, he said ‘The choice of Professor Nana Opoku Agyemang is over and above affirmative action because she is more than qualified to serve as Vice President. She is a woman who has contributed to shattering the many glass ceilings that have held women down for generations by becoming the first female Vice Chancellor of a public university (University of Cape Coast) in Ghana, She served as the Minister for Education of Ghana between 2013 and 2017. During her time the country became the overall best-performing WASSCE nation for four consecutive years. She led the conversion of polytechnics into full fledge universities as well as the upgrading of Colleges of Education into tertiary institutions awarding degrees. She established the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious pathogens which was useful to the country during the outbreak of COVID-19. During her time as Minister for Education teacher absenteeism was reduced to the barest minimum from 27% to 7%.

The NDC has a track record of breaking these glass ceilings, it has the enviable record of presenting the first female Speaker of parliament, the first female Attorney General, the first female Foreign Minister, the first female Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the first female chairperson of the Electoral Commission and finally the first female Chairperson of the Council of State.

This is a great opportunity for the NDC and JDM to make history again and change the trajectory and the patriarchal nature of politics in Ghana. It has the golden chance to add to its enviable track record of appointing the first females in public service. The party is in a bit of a fix, because they want to consider the future of the NDC post-JDM.

Some stalwarts of the Rawlings era are being proposed to partner with JDM instead of Prof JNAO.  The NDC is a vibrant party that will survive the post-JDM era, the uncertainties of the future should not becloud the greater opportunities that awaits the party with such a groundbreaking decision by choosing Prof JNOA as the running mate of JDM.

Agnes Santaclaus.



Prof. Jane Opoku-Agyemang’s response when asked if she will be Mahama’s running mate [Listen]

Mahama settles on Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as running mate