Opoku-Agyemang “handled largest, significant sector of economy than some Veeps; it’s not about managing a desk” – Terkper

A former Minister of Finance Seth Terkper has said that Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the recently-named running mate to the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), has played a more significant role in building the economy of Ghana than some other persons who have occupied the office of the vice-president.

Rebutting arguments that Prof Opoku-Agyemang lacks understanding of the economy and, so, cannot occupy the vice-presidential role should the NDC win the 2020 elections, Mr Terkper said the potential of the former Education Minister, is being underestimated.  

Mr Terkper told Blessed Sogah on Class91.3FM’s State of the Nation programme on Wednesday, 22 July 2020 that Ghana’s first-ever female Vice-Chancellor of a public university, “has handled a significant sector of the economy, probably more significant than other vice-presidents if you look at her responsibility”.

“The fact that, excuse me to say, you may have occupied a macroeconomic position as a director in a ministry of finance, right, a desk, or as deputy general manager or something, you are managing, maybe, an office not a sector of an economy. But this is somebody who has managed arguably the largest sector of the economy, not to talk about the number of teachers”, Mr Terkper argued.

“If she had run a law firm, we would have seen her, probably as what: more competent than somebody who run the largest sector of the economy?”, he wondered.

“That’s the point I’m making”, he stressed.

Days after former President John Mahama named Prof Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the flag bearer of the NDC should have settled on either former Foreign Affairs Minister Hanna Tetteh or former Attorney General Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong if he wanted to complete the ticket of the biggest opposition party.

“If he [John Mahama] wanted a woman, when they were mentioning some women who have demonstrable competence who have risen through this House to establish themselves firmly in the feminist [sphere], one such person could have been Hanna Tetteh”, he told the parliamentary press corps on Tuesday, 7 July 2020.

“She has been an MP before”, he said, adding: “She has been a Minister of Foreign Affairs. So, she has learned the rules. So, she could have complemented President Mahama”.

“The former Attorney General is also there – Marietta Brew. She is also a solid lady. But you ask yourself: ‘What value is this woman [Prof Opoku-Agyemang] bringing to that ticket?’ And that’s where I find it extremely difficult”, the Suame MP wondered.

“I mean, the woman is a calm woman, a woman of poise and speaks good English, but is it good enough to satisfy the ticket to ensure quality improvement in the governance?

“And let’s not forget, perish him that, If John Mahama becomes the president and the next day he is no longer, is this woman capable of being described as the president?”, he asked.

“This has nothing to do with her personally but we are talking about quality in governance.”

As far as the males are concerned, the Majority leader said Mr Mahama should have gone for either an economist or a lawyer.

“For a ticket, John Mahama is a communicator, so, you want a person who is a lawmaker or a lawyer, who will add value to the governance architecture”, he argued.

“He himself has been a Member of Parliament before, so, to be fair, one could say that he has acquired that experience from Parliament. But in terms of the economy, how are you going to impact the economy? Which is why, maybe, you need a mate who is an economist to be with you.

He said since Mr Mahama falls short in economics, he should have gone for an economist to fill that void “because that ticket is to play the role of a generalist to exhibit versatility in a manner that when it comes to legal matters, you have some control and economic matters you have some control on it.

“So, when I first heard, I thought they were going to decide on Dr Duffuor or Nii Moi Thompson because they are economists and finance experts with considerable standing to complement the ticket. Either of them could have done it.”

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