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FeaturesBridget Otoo writes: Why Prof. Jane Naana Opoku remains the perfect “Pick”...

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Bridget Otoo writes: Why Prof. Jane Naana Opoku remains the perfect “Pick” for John Mahama

Sometimes, one wonders what lens people are looking through when Vice Presidential hopeful nominees are being named and no one remembers to bring up the woman who single-handedly changed the face of the NDC in 2020 after their humiliating election results in 2016.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by presidential candidate President John Mahama and late Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur as Vice, lost the 2016 election by a margin of almost one million votes, the biggest ever recorded in the country’s electoral history.

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But following that, apart from the abysmal performance of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Muhammadu Bawumia’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) led Government, what could have led to the strong come back John Mahama made in 2020?

In 2020, Ghanaians were presented with the same NDC they had just voted out a term ago with John Mahama once more as flag-bearer. The campaign messages remained largely unchanged, the only difference this time was Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman and the fresh air of patriotism she breathed into the toxic political landscape, making John Mahama’s ticket more attractive to women and others who otherwise would have never given the NDC the time of day, at least in 2021.

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The conversation, therefore about who becomes John Mahama’s running mate in the 2024 elections has since been quite inconsiderate when we take into account the complete “ghosting” of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku, and how she isn’t even considered as someone who should be in the race.

In her stead, several names from the global business magnate have been floated, from Sir Sam Jonah, who has refuted it and outrightly stated he is not interested should he even be offered the slot, to the Former Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo, Former Chief of staff Julius Debrah and now RTD Commissioner of Police Kofi Boakye.

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Personal preferences aside, it is objectively distasteful that we as a people would ignore the impact of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku in the 2020 general elections.

Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang

One of the events that made significant impact on women voters was “In conversation with Prof. Jane Naana Opoku”. The event assembled apolitical women in business, education, health, etc to meet prof. and to be convinced as to why NDC should be their party of choice in the 2020 elections.

Women groups who would not ordinarily associate with any political party much less the NDC showed up to listen and actively engage and in the end promised to campaign to get John Mahama elected, again.

As a result, women actively campaigned for the NDC off the strength of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku. They were proud to have a woman as running mate to John Mahama who himself has been a big advovate of women’s rights in Ghana. These efforts were evident in the 2020 elections results.

For reference, The 2016 election results for the NDC with John Mahama and Amissah Arthur were 4,771,188 representing 44.53% of the voting populace, while the NPP with Nana Akufo Addo and Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia saw 5,755,758 votes, representing 53.72%.
This, at the time, was an outright rejection of the NDC by Ghanaians. But when In 2020, the NDC re-presented the same Presidential candidate and campaign with the only clear difference being their candidate for Vice in Prof. Jane Naana Opoku, the results were staggering. More than just an improvement, the margin was considerably thinner, and a clear indication to all that the NDC was very much still alive.

There were some who were convinced that the 2020 results would be worse than 2016, and yet when the time came, the NDC pulled in 6,213,182 votes compared to NPP’s 6,730,587. For context While the NPP’s votes may have gone up by 974,829 votes from the previous elections, the NDC’s support had increased by 1,441,994 which is no small feat.

The NPP’s lead of over 900,000 was however, quickly squandered. They would soon throw the country into chaos passing a widely unpopular E-levy bill, tanking the economy & scrambling for an IMF bailout to support an even more unpopular Domestic Debt Exchange programme.

John Mahama and Jane Naana

Now, in the heart of a real crisis, the people need the experience of John Mahama to salvage what is left of the economy and the country.

So, if Prof. Jane Naana Opoku’s partnership has yielded this much benefit to the NDC so far, why would any rational person want anyone else at reins?

In these tumultuous times, VAT is up by 2.5%, there’s a 10% tax on bet winnings, a further threat to add ECG and emissions taxes. The Cedi keeps plummeting against the dollar, and unemployment rate at an all time high, 2024 calls for real change; A change in government and not a change in who partners John Mahama.
Back in 2020, Prof. proved her mettle then, just as John Mahama has done so often in the past so as to become indispensable to the party today. She is a thoroughly educated, scandal-free woman who represents the best of what Ghana has to offer.

An examination of criticisms against her finds them to be mostly laced with childish sentiments like “she’s not ‘out there” and “she’s not mounting platforms to scream and perhaps insult everyone in the way we’re used to” and “she needs to match Veep Bawumia”. But those sentiments, if followed will only yield more of the same. Because at the end of the day, are we really in the market for “another Bawumia”? Or are we trying to to do something different this time? Something better, something useful.

This is our country, these are our lives. We can’t continue to squander it 4 years at a time on articulate con artists, and so called economic gurus whose only legacy is to have taken our exchange rate from 3.8 to 13 cedi to a dollar in record time and launching unnecessary apps and platforms that are not only already available on Google but also useless when the basic infrastructure to support them isn’t even functional.

A woman who has taught thousands of people in academia will not be mounting political platforms to insult opponents in the name of appeasing a base. She stands tall and unblemished, bringing an aura to John Mahama and elevating his image which has until 2020 been badly battered by an avalanche of Propaganda by the NPP.

Changing Prof. now would simply mean the NDC lied to Ghanaians in 2020 when they said they believed in women, when they said they wanted an elevated aura around the presidency.

The NDC going with any other candidate will be a betrayal of Ghanaian women. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku is exactly what the country needs at this time.

A cool head, a voice that can calm nerves; she speaks from her heart, and most importantly, tells Ghanaians the TRUTH.

At a time when Ghana is reeling under the economic crisis brought on by the insatiable greed of the Nana Addo & Bawumia Cartel, so corrupt that even corruption crusaders have given up on them. The last thing we need is another Bawumia, a man who a cursory internet search reveals as one of the most prolific liars of modern politics.

It would be a grave mistake to change Professor Jane at this time. She is a proven partner for John Mahama, one who is not in competition with him and is efficient at playing her position and supporting him as needed to get the best results.

She is the perfect embodiment of the Ghanaian old adage ‘awene pa 3nkasa’. We need more Jane Naana Opoku’s, not fewer.

Writer: Bridget Otoo

DISCLAIMER: TIGPost.co will not be liable for any inaccuracies contained in this article. The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author’s, and do not reflect those of The Independent Ghana.

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