The long-awaited running mate of former President John Dramani Mahama has finally been unveiled, according to unofficial reports. Since the late hours of 5th July 2020, a section of the Ghanaian media space has widely reported that John Dramani Mahama has settled on Professor Jane Naana Opoku as his running mate into election 2020. A very interesting development in our contemporary politics.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku is an astute academician by all standards, and she comes from a wealthy background. If she is approved by the high ranking decision making bodies of the party, she will become the first female in Ghana to rise to that position in both the two leading political parties in the Fourth Republic. On record, she is the first female Vice-Chancellor of a public University in Ghana. She served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast. Very respectable woman in the technocratic sphere in Ghana. From 2008-2012 she was the University’s Vice-Chancellor.


In March 2007, she was one of five scholars selected to deliver presentations during the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

In October 2009, she was elected Ghana’s representative to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Between February 2013 and January 2017, she served as the Education Minister of Ghana.


On 26 October 2018, she became the Chancellor of the Women’s University in Africa located in Zimbabwe. She has served on many local and international boards and committees such as the Centre for Democratic Governance, (CDD-Ghana), the Editorial Board of The Harriet Tubman Series on the African Diaspora (Africa World Press Inc. USA), the Africa Initiative in Canada, and the College of Physicians and Surgeons as Eminent Citizen.

Political Influence

From all indications and per available history, Ghanaians are not interested in a candidate’s profile that much. More so, Ghanaians are not objective voters. They are more concerned about bread and butter issues, and the women and gender issues are not of significant concern to the ordinary Ghanaian voter.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku has no political experience and would take her a very long time to build the same in the Ghanaian context. Her opponents and mostly the Vice Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, H.E. Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia would have no mercy on her. John Dramani Mahama, who has enormous political experience, has over the years been at the mercy of him.


Politics, just like any other context, is about capitalizing on the weakness of your opponent. The New Patriotic Party will not take any chances reminding her of the cancellation of the trainees’ allowance and shortage of chalks during her reign as the Education Minister.

Her views and position on the flagship program of the New Patriotic Party, Free Senior High School, can unmake or unmake the chances of the opposition National Democratic Congress. As for corruption, she would stand clean with no skeletons in her cupboard.

The average Ghanaian does not even know that gender inequality is a problem that needs to be solved. If she comes at the back of gender, I am afraid it would not make any impact for the party. There have been several reports of females rising against females in Ghana. It is unlikely women will support her candidature just because she is a woman and not her other competence. The Ghanaian woman is not known for that. She was also part of the petitioners who signed for the release of the Montie trio when they attacked the former Chief Justice who is a female. That puts her gender activism in question.

She may struggle to either withstand or match Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia boot for boot as promised by John Dramani Mahama. I do not also know how exactly she can help to boost the shrinking votes of the party in the Volta Region, their stronghold. These are some of the critical issues she has to look out for and tackle as a matter of urgency.

Agenda 2024 too is under siege. The party needed someone they could groom to take over from John Dramani Mahama as they always do. From the look of things, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku may not have the tough skin to endure political torture to that stage.

Let’s see how it rolls.


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