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Opinions of Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Columnist: Reindorf Agyemang Boateng

John and Jane tickets: The double gamble

John Dramani Mahama, with Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang John Dramani Mahama, with Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang

I never believed my ears the first time I heard the former President H. E. John Dramani Mahama announced his coming back to lead the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a flag bearer into the 2020 general elections.

After this announcement many of the party’s faithful especially active members of his administration come out to declare their full support for their former boss. Party executives like Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the General Secretary, said on national television that the decision by the former President was the best thing that had happened to the party especially when ‘no one’ had boldly come out to lead the party after they had lost woefully in the December, 2016 general elections.

In my attempt to reconcile with what many of the NDC described as good, this Akan adage flashed through my mind; “De3 onimto> na y3de no gyina twonono ano” (Literally means, He who know how to perform an act is made to so when the need arise).

As though two people were arguing in my mind, quickly did another voice respond rhetorically that “are you saying there’s none in the NDC that could do better than what Ex-President Mahama did as a president”? Then I had no option than to withdraw that thought. I later reasoned with those who supported JM’s idea basis that maybe, it was him(JM) who had in his credit a four year term in office as a president and so the NDC could match or compare his achievements with that of Nana Addo during the 2020, December general elections.

This sounded more convincing, or? Secondly, among all the members who had presidential ambitions, JM stood tall in terms of experience and most especially the financial strength to enable them campaign better. After all no one was ready to ‘gamble’ with the little he had gathered when the party was in power. This might also be a ‘reasonable’ argument. But the Akans say; “s3 y3b3si wo so a nka yehy33 wo ma.” Which means if you would be served for the second time, then the calabash used to serve you would have been full in the first place. If Ghanaians wanted Ex- President Mahama they would have given him the nod to continue for his second term. Clearly, Ghanaians were not ready for him again.

Many people including myself had suggested before that the NDC would swiftly elect another person and market him during 2020 elections, which could put the fellow ahead of any candidate the NPP would elect as a presidential candidate for the 2024 general election.

Contrary, as it were, Mr. Mahama’s bid to come again was just a ‘big joke’. I called it ‘The Gambling Candidature.’

As if that was not enough, I woke up one morning in the recent days to read news headlines online only to see Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang being announced as the running mate of flag bearer John Dramani Mahama. Then I shouted, Again! A running mate must be an outstanding individual who has distinguished himself or herself well either in the private or public space or both. Like the former Vice President H.E. Amisah Arthur, may his departed soul rest in peace.

Though not known too well in politics was a renowned Economist who was perfect to complimenting JM’s candidature for the 2012 general elections. He did his bit in as the leader of the Economic Management team and a Vice President to that broad extent. Mr. Amisah Arthur was considered on many accounts including his contribution to the growth of the Ghanaian economy during his days as the Governor of the Bank of Ghana. Though that couldn’t convince some of us to vote for his boss but they won the elections anyway.

What I cannot come to terms with as far as Prof. Jane Naana’s selection is concerned is the fact that one, she’s a woman. We all know that many of the ‘Die hard Supporters of the NDC are Muslims and are from the Northern part of our dear nation. Whether it is for religious reasons, cultural or tribal, the above mentioned people don’t whole heartedly do not subscribe to women leadership.

So why would the JM who to me should have known better decide to name a woman as his running mate. Two, in her term of office as the Education minister, Prof. Jane Naana did not register herself well in the sight of many Ghanaians especially teachers. I remember those days when teachers complained about inadequacy in the supply of basic materials like text books, chalks and other stationeries needed in the schools especially at the basic level.

Which even led to the famous “We won’t give you chalk today nor tomorrow” said, the then second lady, Mrs. Amisah Arthur who was not heard or seen for a longer time before this incident. After a head teacher had humbly requested for chalks when the second lady visited her school. The scrapping of Teacher and Nursing trainees allowances, though was a government policy, was described as the brain child of the then Education Minister Prof, Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang.

As a trained teacher I could understand the extent of damage this policy could cause in the lives of many people. How it was going to deny those who had passion for the teaching job but could not afford the cost. Even, some teachers believe that the introduction of the three month back pay policy was also Prof. Jane Naana’s initiative, it’s not entirely true though but how do I explain this to every one of them? So is the NDC trying to make us believe that they don’t have anyone capable of complimenting candidate John Dramani Mahama?

This is not anything that another gambling. The DOUBLE GAMBLE.

As we all lie in wait to see what would happen in the up - coming election, I keep asking myself that what exactly compelled the major opposition party, the NDC to select somebody like Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as the running mate for JM if they really want to wrestle power from the ruling New Patriotic Party? And what exactly is she bringing to the table that could make them overlook all the ‘scars’ on her back? Hmmmm! The least said the better!