Mahama keeps Jane Opoku-Agyemang as running mate for 2024 election amidst NDC debates

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In a decisive move, former President John Dramani Mahama has opted to retain Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, as his running mate for the upcoming 2024 presidential election, according to reliable sources close to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer.

Despite concerns about succession and internal party dynamics, Mahama appears resolute in his decision.

The General Secretary of the NDC, Fifi Kwetey, yesterday announced that the Council of Elders would convene to discuss Mahama’s choice.

The rationale behind Mahama’s decision, as reported by insiders, stems from his desire to avoid unnecessary conflicts with women’s groups in the country.

The former president believes that dropping Prof. Opoku-Agyemang could be exploited by his opponents against his chances in the 2024 election.

Moreover, Mahama sees the former University of Cape Coast Vice-Chancellor’s previous electoral participation as advantageous, considering she has already been marketed to the electorates. This, he believes, lessens the party’s burden associated with introducing a new running mate.

Sources suggest that Mahama and his advisors, are confident about their prospects in the upcoming election and want to avoid internal disputes over the choice of a running mate.

Maintaining Prof. Opoku-Agyemang is, therefore, seen as a strategic move to ensure unity within the party going into 2024.

Additionally, Mr Mahama is mindful of regional dynamics, particularly in the Central Region, where Prof. Opoku-Agyemang hails from.

The delicate balance between the two dominant political parties, the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition NDC, often hinges on support from the Central Region.

The NDC’s choice of another running mate from the Central region will be in line with keeping faith with the region.

Since 1992, candidates from the region, have been on the party’s ballot namely; Kow Nkensen Arkaah, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills and Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.

While Mahama’s decision is viewed by some as a masterstroke, there is a faction within the opposition party that believes he should have considered a candidate from regions like Bono, Ahafo, Ashanti, or Eastern —someone young, vibrant, and dynamic to partner with him in 2024 and potentially take over in 2029 as with Prof Atta Mills taking over from Jerry John Rawlings and Mr Mahama, taking over from Atta Mills when he passed on.

But counter-arguments within the NDC, also touch on the age factor, as Prof. Opoku-Agyemang, at 77 years old in 2029, may not be inclined to succeed President Mahama after his second and final term.

Some NDC members argue that leaving the field open for a younger generation of leaders, particularly from the Ahwoi camp, would be beneficial in the long run.

However, opponents of this view contend that an early contest for leadership in 2025 or 2026, could be overwhelmingly detrimental for the NDC, diverting the party’s attention from governance, economics, and other critical issues affecting Ghanaians.

There is also a broader perspective suggesting that the NDC should strive for a more cosmopolitan image by moving away from the northern and central tickets, and Mr Mahama must be made to consider this in his choice of a running mate.

Embracing diversity from various regions could enhance the party’s appeal and dispel accusations of being dominated by a particular ethnic group, especially when contrasting with the NPP, which sometimes had to even look into the NDC and porch people even as running mates.

The statement yesterday said, “The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has today received a formal communication from our Presidential Candidate, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, regarding the nomination of his Running Mate by Article 45 of the NDC Constitution.”

“In response to this communication, the party is pleased to announce that a meeting of the Council of Elders will convene at 11:00 hrs on Thursday, March 07, 2024, to deliberate on this significant matter. Subsequently, the National Executive Committee will gather at 14:00 hrs on the same day to further consider the nomination,” part of the statement, which was dated February 27, 2024, reads.

It added, “The venue and logistical details for these meetings will be communicated directly to all participants in due course”.

The NDC expressed optimism that the running mate chosen by Mahama would help it win the 2024 election and also help get Ghana back on track after the party wins the 2024 polls.

“The NDC is confident that the Running Mate will bring a wealth of experience, expertise, and dedication to our campaign. The selection will undoubtedly complement the vision of our esteemed leader, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, as we collectively strive to ‘Build the Ghana We Want together’.”

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