Naana Jane Craves For ‘Round 2’ With Mahama
…But Party Gurus Reject Proposal, Prefer Ashanti, Volta, G/A As Veep
Former vice-presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, appears not backing out anytime soon, as far as the party’s 2024 running-mate slot is concerned.
The one-time vice chancellor of the University of the Cape Coast is praying for an opportunity to once more partner the party’s flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, for the next general elections.
This is coming despite stiff opposition from a powerful bloc within the party hierarchy that wants Mr. Mahama to replace her with a suitable person from either Ashanti, Volta, Greater Accra or the Western Region.
Leading the charge for Ashanti Region are former Deputy Chief of Staff, Johnny Osei Kofi, and the Asantehene’s Ahenenananomhene, Nana Kwame Mensah-Bonsu, who particularly is predicting a massive win for the NDC should the party pick an Ashanti running-mate.
The traditional ruler, who is the elder brother of Kojo Bonsu, the former mayor of Kumasi, is pleading with the NDC flagbearer to choose Akwasi Oppong Ofosu, a former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
This is coming in the wake of reports that the former president, John Mahama, is on the political market, shopping for a new candidate to fill the vacant seat.
It is even becoming more interesting, because the opposition party, which has typically chosen its vice-presidential candidate from the Central Region, has mostly or never repeated a vice presidential candidate after it loses an election.
But it appears the 71-year-old educationist wants to change the narrative this time, going into the 2024 elections.
It also coming on the back of views that, the former lecturer brought not much to the Mahama-Jane ticket in 2020.
In a subtle attempt to remind everyone, especially her former boss, that she is still available for the top job, she took to social media to write that she is praying for success as second-time contender.
The former education minister, in a post to congratulate the first-ever female Students Representative Council (SRC) president of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), said she is taking inspiration from the young lady’s feat.
Ms. Yvonne Osei Adobe last week emerged as the new SRC president-elect, beating other contenders to represent the students for the next one year, after she lost in her bid last year.
According to the Professor of Literature, she takes joy, pride and inspiration from the young lady’s resilience, especially so because it was not the first time she was contesting for the position.
“I warmly congratulate Miss Yvonne Osei Adobea, President-elect of the KNUST SRC, on your resounding victory.
“I take joy, pride and inspiration in your achievement as the University’s first ever female SRC President; more so, in your resilience and tenacity towards this goal, as a second-time contender against difficult odds. I wish you the very best in your administration. Continue to be an example for all of us,” she posted on her social media page.
But there is some opposition to the first-ever female vice chancellor of the University of Cape Coast.
Even before she came out last Friday, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s Ahenenananomhene had been in the news calling on the NDC flagbearer to pick someone from the Ashanti Region.
Nana Kwame Mensah-Bonsu argued that it will serve the former president, Ashanti and Ghana well if someone from the region is chosen to partner him for victory in 2024.
In a video that has gone viral, the Ashanti sub-chief, not minding beinga traditional leader, campaigned for a former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kwasi Oppong Ofosu, as the best bet.
Oppong Ofosu, a former Member of Parliament (MP) for the Amenfi East constituency in the Western Region, from 2013 to 2016, is maternally from Trede in the Atwima-Kwanwoma district in the Ashanti Region.
“If God willing that former President is going to choose a new vice president, I suggest that he picks someone from the Ashanti Region. If he is going to choose from the Ashanti land, I recommend to him my brother, Oppong Akwasi Ofosu,” he said in the long audio.
Ex-Deputy Chief of Staff
Meanwhile, a former Deputy Chief of Staff, Johnny Osei Kofi, has also joined voices advocating that Mr. Mahama considers selecting a running-mate from the Ashanti Region.
According to him, if John Mahama chooses someone from the region, it would be easier for the party to increase its votes in, a stronghold of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“We have a lot to gain if we choose an Asante as the battleground and induce indigenous people to lead the charge, that is what I am saying and that is what other people are saying.
“Those other people are not people who live in the Ashanti Region or even Ashantis. I want to clarify that it is not an ethnic issue, it’s a strategic issue,” he said.
Speaking on the Pulse on JoyNews, he explained that there are many young people in that region who have lost confidence in the governing party and, therefore, Mahama selecting a running-mate from their region would be ideal and strategic.
“There are a lot of young people in this region who on daily basis are wishing to vote for the NDC in the next election, but who is to ginger them, who is to encourage them, who is to lead the charge to gather all of them?” he quizzed.
He stressed, “that is why I think we have to make Ashanti Region the second headquarters of the NDC and work towards the 2024 election.”
But in a rebuttal on the same show, a political scientist, Dr. Kwame Asah-Asante, said Mr. Mahama has brushed aside the assertion of the former deputy chief of staff.
He argued that it was not only someone from the region that can motive the people to vote massively for the NDC.
“My question is, in case John Mahama decides that he will not pick anybody from the Ashanti Region, there is nobody to ginger them? I mean that is not the case,” he said.
Dr.Asah-Asante added that whoever is appointed as a representative of the party will take up the responsibility to “ginger” people in all regions to amass votes for the party.
He stressed that the most important thing was a running-mate “who will bring a lot on the table to support the process and to make sure that the choice that you have reflects the dreams and aspirations of the people … that is it, but not necessarily someone from the region,” he maintained.
Interestingly, other names have also been bandied around as possible running-mate aspirants.
Chief among them are the former boss of the Tema Oil Refinery, Kwame Awuah Darko, and a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Sylvester Mensah.
Others are Alex Mould, a former boss of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Professor Joshua Alabi, a former rector of the University for Professional Studies-Accra (UPS-A), and Kojo Bonsu, a former Mayor of Kumasi.