The facts are coming out: Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang was not one of the people former President Mahama was considering as his running mate.
Her Central Region origin and Fante extraction made her candidature a more distanced choice.
Naana’s Vice Presidential candidacy could possibly be the one for the future; but certainly not as immediate as December 7, 2020 when the NDC would have presented her as one of the two persons on the presidential ballot paper. The other on the ticket would be the NDC’s presidential candidate, former President John Dramani Mahama. Based on the complexities of Ghana’s geo-political consideration, the former President was perhaps right in looking to all other regions but the Central Region, when he was considering his partner for the 2020 presidential election.
The fact is from 1996 to 2016, the Fante group in the Central Region have occupied one of the first two topmost positions in the NDC. First former President, John Evans Atta Mills was the Vice President to former President Rawlings; later, he (Vice President Mills) became the NDC presidential candidate in 2000 and 2004 elections, but lost on all occasions to NPP’s John Agyekum Kufuor. President Mills is from the Fante tribe and traces his origin from Otuam in the Central Region.
Then came Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, another Fante native from Moree, a fishing town in the Central Region. Amissah-Arthur became a Vice President after the unfortunate passing of then sitting President, Prof. John Mills on 24th, July 2012. He continued to serve in same capacity from 2013 to the end of the term of President John Dramani Mahama on January 6th, 2017. The issue then becomes how politically correct it would be to pick another Fante as the running mate of former President Mahama in this year’s election?
To many an analyst that decision does not only make political sense; but also would have been an indictment on indigenes from other parts of the country. Of course, with the NDC presidential candidate hailing from Northern Ghana, a partner from the Northern territory was also not a consideration at all in 2020; just as a candidate from the Central Region and particularly, one from the Fante extraction. The former President himself was aware of the intricacies in picking a presidential running mate from Northern and the Central parts of the country.
He therefore narrowed his selection to potential candidates from the Volta and the Ashanti Regions. In fact, he initially had a poll of candidates from the two Regions: three from Ashanti and four from the Volta Region. From Ashanti Region, Kwame Awuah Darko, a former MD of BOST; Dr. Kwabena Duffour, a former Finance Minister & former Governor of the Bank of Ghana and former Ashanti Regional Minister, Samuel Sarpong made the cut.
Hon Doe Adjaho, the immediate past Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament; a former Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia; Mrs. Mawuena Trebarh, a Communication Specialist and Ms. Ezenator Agyemang-Rawlings, a Medical Doctor and the first born daughter of former President Rawlings were the names or people considered from the Volta Region. It’s instructive to note however that the John Mahama wish-list in the weeks preceding the selection of Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang had whittled down to Dr. Kwabena Duffour (Asante) and Mawuena (Ewe) Volta Region.
What went against Dr. Kwabena Duffour and Mawuena Trebarh?
It was indeed hard choices to make from the list of the seven distinguished individuals. Hon. It was disclosed in NDC circuit that Hon. Doe Adjaho do not have good working relations with former President Mahama. How then do you put two “enemies” in one ship? Alex Segbefia had and still have excellent relationship with the former President. But how does he figure out in the eyes of others outside of the NDC. Was it not possible that he has a baggage that NDC’s opponents, especially the NPP were likely to exploits to discredit a Segbefi;a candidature? That was the fear of the Mahama and NDC’s selection committee; and that resulted in the death of the Segbefia candidature.
The abortive candidature of Ezenator Rawlings was straight forward. She is young and inexperienced to occupy the position where in the absence of the President, she will automatically cut out as the President of the Republic. It was also the belief of some NDC chiefs that the young lady will serve as a foil to her father and mother. It was therefore likely that the two will influence the decisions of a Mahama-Ezenator presidency. So the only person left standing from the Volta Region remained Mawuena Trebarh.
She also carried a political neophyte tag just as Ezenator; yet the party chiefs were prepared to gamble on her candidature. Mawuena is little known politically and to her advocates, that will add on to polish the Mahama candidature which opposition had managed to demonize as corrupt, albeit from a jaundiced political standpoint.
From the Ashanti Region, all three candidates suffered some form of political baggage, including the highly qualified Dr. Kwabena Duffour. That notwithstanding, President Mahama thought Dr Duffour was the best choice and streets ahead of Mawuena because of his wealth of experience within the political space. It’s also believed he has the resources to back and help fund the political campaign of the NDC and that of John Mahama; and the fact that many disillusioned Asantes, who feel marginalized by the Akufo-Addo administration were likely to be attracted to the NDC, because of Kwabena, Duffour, a native of Kumawu in the Ashanti Region. On that score, the candidature of Mawuena also suffered a still birth.
Kwabena Duffour eventually became the Mahama choice, only waiting to be introduced to the party Founder, Jerry John Rawlings; the Functional and the National Executive Committees of the NDC. Then came the bombshell about how the Duffour candidacy was likely to be torpedoed by the long standing NDC chief party strategists. They include Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi, Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi, Mr. Kofi Totobi Quakyi, Captain Kojo Tsikata among others. They were the same people who staged the “Mills coup” that brought the little known former Law Lecturer to be the running mate of then President Jerry Rawlings in 1996.
How the Chief Strategists discarded the Duffour Candidature!
These NDC old guards were also doing their background checks on the candidates whose names had come up as possible John Mahama partners. Indeed, like many NDC big-wigs alluded to, there were issues with majority of the candidates whose names had came up for consideration; and that constituted a major fear that the NPP in particular, was likely to capitalize on the not-too-good political records of the potential candidates to enhance their (NPP) chances in the December polls.
There was however the explicit view among NDC chiefs, including the strategists group, that all things being equal, Dr Kwabena Duffour was the best candidate for the Mahama ticket at a time that the NPP had falsely made Ghanaians to believe that the vice presidential slot should be a position for someone with economic background. If Kwanbena Duffuor was the best outsider, the NDC strategists thought the best in-house candidate was easily Prof Kwesi Botchwey, who has an enviable record as Ghana’s longest serving Finance Minister. His candidacy was however shelved on health grounds.
Aside Kwesi Botchwey, these gentlemen agreed in principle that the next on the selection log should Dr. Duffour, who they believed would have also be a perfect match for John Mahama. The biggest issue though was how to present Dr. Duffuor without pulling off a fierce fight to sustain his candidature. The issue then became why should the NDC box itself in such a tight corner in an election which is just some five months away? The fact is through the so-called financial sector clean up, the NPP has succeeded to destroy not only the Duffuor persona, but also his empire and tainted his image to an all-time low that it would that years to redeem. Could the NDC have redeemed the destroyed Duffour image within a matter of three months or even four? Certainly Not!
So then who could be the best option under the circumstance? The NDC chief strategists had faced a similar dilemma in the pursuit of a running mate for Jerry Rawlings in the run-up to the 1996 general elections. They went out of the party to bring in Prof. Mills, a relatively neophyte in the political arena but with solid credentials in his chosen profession to partner Jerry Rawlings- as his running mate and that worked magic for the NDC in that year’s elections.
They Ahwoi group therefore settled on Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang not as a Fante; but someone who possess the wherewithal to stop any venom that the NPP was preparing to pour on the usual suspects like Duffour, Segbefia and others, in order to kill the Mahama candidacy. Unlike Prof Mills who didn’t have any record in mainstream NDC politics, Naana once served as a Cabinet Minister of Education in the Mahama administration and so had been exposed to the rank and file and other stakeholders of the NDC.
The Prof. Ahwoi’s team therefore presented to the former President their alternative choice to all the others that the NDC selection machinery was considering and presto John Mahama saw the wisdom in the pluses in the Naana candidature without objecting to any of the factors raised to back Prof. Jane Opoku Agyemang’s candidature.
Source; opera news