The running mates of the two leading political parties are being put on a scale. There is a progressing debate about whether or not Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang can match the reigning vice president, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia or not. The discussion is in order because politics is about comparison, whether political or personal. People who have failed in their private lives must not be elevated into political office and the vice versa.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang is a distinguished woman who has achieved a lot in her personal capacity. Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang was born on 22 November 1951 in Cape Coast, Ghana. She completed B.Ed. (Hons) in English and French at the University of Cape Coast in 1977, and obtained her Masters and Doctorate degrees from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1980 and 1986 respectively.
She served as a lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC). She has held various academic positions including Head of the Department of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Warden of Adehye Hall, Valco Trust Fund Post-Graduate Hostel, and Dean of School of Graduate Studies and Research.
From 2008-2012 she was the University’s Vice-Chancellor, making her the first female vice-chancellor of a public University in Ghana.
On the other hand is her opponent, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, is a celebrated economist with working experience across the globe. He obtained a First Class Honours Degree in Economics from Buckingham University in 1987. He then earned a master’s degree in Economics at Lincoln College, Oxford, and obtained a Ph.D. in Economics at the Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1995.
Bawumia’s areas of specialisation include Macroeconomics, International Economics, Development Economics and Monetary Policy. From 1988 to 1990, Dr. Bawumia worked as a lecturer in Monetary Economics, and International Finance at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London, England. He also served as an economist at the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, USA.
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From 1996 to 2000, he served as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Texas, USA, where he also received the Young Researcher Award in 1998. He returned to Ghana in 2000 to work as an economist at the Bank of Ghana. He rose from Senior Economist to Head of Department, and subsequently as Special Assistant to the Governor of the Bank. In June 2006, President J.A. Kufuor appointed him as a Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
Both of them have rich work experience. The interesting fact that settles the ‘Doctor Professor’ debate is that Professorship is only earned at a lecture room and not from schooling. The only reason why Dr. Mahamudu may not be a professor is that he abandoned the lecturing job early for a Bank of Ghana appointment. So it won’t be a fair intellectual analysis to say a doctor cannot be compared to a professor.
It is also a fact that getting elevated to a vice-chancellor position is a milestone covered, but serving as a Vice Governor of the Bank of Ghana too can never be underestimated.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agemang’s rise to political prominence started in 2012 when she moderated a presidential debate organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). She co-moderated it with the current Information Minister, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah. She subsequently got appointed as the Minister for Education when John Dramani Mahama won the elections. She served in that capacity till 2017 when the NPP government came to power.
During her time as the minister, she did not engage the media so much and did not set many political agendas. Even her position on the much talked about Free Senior High School remains a mystery. We heard about her again after she was nominated as the running mate of John Dramani Mahama for the 2020 elections.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia was introduced into politics by Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo when he wanted a Muslim and probably a northerner to partner him. He resigned from his position as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana to serve as the running mate for the 2008 elections. After that unsuccessful attempt, she was brought back as the running mate when Nana Addo maintained his position as the presidential Candidate.
They went into the 2012 elections that ended up in the Supreme Court. He went back and strategized himself for the 2016 general elections. He gave so many public lectures that made the NDC government unpopular among the elites. They won the 2016 election with over a million votes margin.
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is currently politically experienced than Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, but that alone does not win elections. It should be noted that Dr. Bawumia was equally appointed as a running mate when she had no political experience. Professor Jane Naana’s strength is her gender. Women are the majority in Ghana so when she is able to win their support it would be a great win for her party.
Dr. Bawumia’s strongest weapon in the 2020 elections is his wife, Samira Bawumia. It is Hajia Samira who can engage Professor Jane without raising unnecessary gender debate. Even that, people may have issues considering their age differences and life achievements.
Both are equally fit with excellent credentials. The rest lies on the thumbs of Ghanaians.
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