Former President John Mahama has said when it comes to promoting and pushing women into the limelight, the National Democratic Congress’ records are unbeatable.
Inaugurating his running mate Prof Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang in Accra on Monday, 27 July 2020, the flag bearer of the NDC said: “The choice of Professor Opoku-Agyemang is over and above affirmative action because she is more than qualified to serve as Vice-President”.
“She is a woman who has contributed to shattering the many glass ceilings that have held women down for generations, by becoming the first female to lead and manage a public university in Ghana”, Mr Mahama said, adding: “As I described her in my statement following the announcement, she is ‘God-fearing, a distinguished scholar, a conscientious public servant and a role model’.”
The NDC, Mr Mahama noted, “has a lot to show when it comes to putting women at the forefront of leadership”.
Females, he noted, “constitute about 50% of Ghana’s population and women form the majority of Ghana’s human resource. They must lead to advance our nation’s progress”.
“And we have been vindicated at every turn by the sterling output of these highfliers: It was the NDC that presented Ghana’s first female Speaker of Parliament, the first female Foreign Minister, the first female Attorney General, the first female Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, the first female Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education and the first female Chairperson of the Council of State”.
“There are a host of other key positions where our women distinguished themselves and elevated the name and image of Ghana with their first-rate performance.
“Unlike the NPP, we in the NDC, recognise and appreciate the knowledge, industry, passion, creativity and problem-solving skills of our women”, Mr Mahama contrasted.
He said: “With Professor Opoku-Agyemang, the NDC has, once again, stayed with our true course, and advanced a step further in our established philosophy of inclusivity by boldly presenting one of our best in intellect and character, as our party’s running mate”.
“Together with Naana Jane, we will work with you, each and every Ghanaian, to place our country back on the track of progress, opportunities for all and shared prosperity.
“This, we will build on the foundation of social justice, self-belief, unity, integrity, transparency and accountability.
“Working together with Naana Jane, a brilliant and accomplished woman, I have no doubt that God’s grace will shine on us in the elections of December 2020.
“I am convinced that with her zeal for service and her unquestionable integrity, she will greatly impact the developmental focus of our activities as a party and government”, he said.
The former President said his running mate has already begun her policy briefing sessions as “incoming Vice-President, ready and willing to work hard for Ghanaians”.
Mr Mahama extolled Ghana’s first-ever female Vice-Chancellor of a public university, as the right choice for Ghana.
“Naana’s impeccable record is endless and her reach across various sectors is overwhelmingly impressive.
“For example, I was glad when one of her sterling contributions to academia and health care as my Minister for Education sequenced the genome of the virus, which causes Coronavirus disease. I am referring to the establishment of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens.
“Leading the transformation of the educational sector as our Minister for Education, our Running Mate supervised the achievement of many great feats that make me proud to be working with her.
“She converted Polytechnics into fully-fledged Technical Universities, supervised the upgrading of the Colleges of Education into tertiary institutions and led the negotiations that secured the World Bank funding for the flagship Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) that saw the major upgrading of facilities in Senior High Schools and the construction of 23 Community Day Senior High Schools.
“Furthermore, facilities in 50 less endowed Senior High Schools and 75 under-performing Senior High Schools were upgraded.
“Working with the educational unions and traditional authorities, teacher absenteeism was reduced during her tenure from 27% to 7%. Naana Jane also improved the quality of basic education which resulted in Ghana’s all-time best BECE performance, introduced the private BECE, and recruited 2,400 mathematics and science teachers as a special intervention to improve teaching and learning at the Senior Secondary level.
“She also achieved Ghana’s overall best performing WASSCE nation award by WAEC for four consecutive years when she served as Minister.
“During the period of her tenure, the Ministry of Education engaged more than 40,000 newly-recruited teachers.
“As you will all recall, we abolished the quota system at the Colleges of Education, leading to an increase in enrolment from 9,000 to 15,400, creating more teaching opportunities for our youth.
“It was under Professor Opoku-Agyemang that teachers were automatically posted without National Service and Licensure Examinations.
“My brothers and sisters, having worked closely with Naana, what I salute about her, and the world acknowledges and equally celebrates as true, is the fact that she is an achiever of unquestionable integrity, a resourceful and results-driven leader.
“It is regrettable that following my announcement of her as my running mate, several key leaders of the NPP Administration and party launched a barrage of misogynistic attacks at her just on the basis of her gender. These attacks are unacceptable and most unfortunate. This is not what the severely distressed people of Ghana deserve at this time.
“We surely can do better. Our politics has devolved into one of insults, intimidation and unfortunately in many cases has become increasingly violent. This is an anathema to the sustainability of the health and wealth of our Republic, fought for and won through the blood and toils of our forebears.
“Today, we are witnessing a course of action never before seen in our history. So there is hope for them.
“Indeed, the selection of Professor Opoku-Agyemang as our Running Mate is a demonstration of the many bold and progressive changes the next NDC Administration, that I will lead, will embark upon.
“The involvement of women in the decision-making process will not end at the level of Vice President. We will work towards the attainment of a minimum of 30% of all appointments going to women.
“We have an opportunity in this election, as Ghanaians, to fully give meaning to gender equality and also to have a highly educated and disciplined woman placed in a critical position to influence policy and shape the nation’s destiny.
“We will implement a set of robust health policies and plans aimed at aggressively tackling and reducing maternal mortality by half from the current 319 per 100,000 live births.
“We shall ensure female socio-economic empowerment, enact the Spousal Rights Law, establish exclusive and secured shelters for abused women and children, and provide opportunities for all.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as a Social Democratic Party, we seek to harness the best qualities in all our people to transform the destiny of our nation”, Mr Mahama said.