The New Patriotic Party brings warm greetings to the leadership of the opposition National Democratic Congress and uses this opportunity to congratulate the party and the flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama on the choice of Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, the former Minister for Education under the previous NDC administration as the running mate to Mr. John Mahama as the 2020 elections inch closer.

It has certainly taken a long time for the selection to be done but as the saying goes, better late than never; and we wish to congratulate the NDC and Mr Mahama for finally picking a running mate. 

We extend our congratulations to the Professor Naana Opoku Agyeman on her selection. Having congratulated her, we believe it is important to remind all of us what Professor Naana Opoku Agyemang brings to the John Mahama ticket.

In an ideal world, one of the strongest things going for the selection of the good Professor would be that she is a woman, and this would be met with a lot of enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang hardly meets the expectations of someone who has a track record of fighting for women and their welfare.

 Luckily for all of us, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang is not new to Ghana politics, and it is her performance during her period as a political appointee that we refer to. 

Need we remind anyone that it was during the tenure   of Naana Jane that training teachers’ allowances were scrapped. It was done without paying any heed to the many appeals to reconsider the decision. Indeed, it was one of the things she was proud to have done.

Teachers were the hardest hit when Naana Opoku Agyemang was at the helm of affairs at the Education Ministry. Apart from their transportation allowances not being paid, Naana Opoku Agyemang also introduced the practice of teachers working for two years without being paid and being restricted to being paid only three months back pay, no matter how long they had worked.  

This inhumane treatment meted out to Ghanaian teachers at the time was the brainchild of Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang, the then Minister for Education. The cold hearted manner in which teachers were treated by Naana Opoku Agyemang cannot easily be forgotten. 

Let it not be forgotten that Prof. Naana Opoku Agyemang had been a teacher herself before she came to the position of Minister of Education, and yet it was during her period that classroom teachers were denied common chalk to be able to write on blackboards.  We remember the infamous “We won’t give you chalk today or tomorrow” comment by Matilda Amissah-Arthur, and this was under the supervision of Naana Opoku Agyemang.

It would be unconscionable on our part not to remind ourselves of the key role played by Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang in the Montie Trio saga.

When the ‘Montie Trio’ threatened death upon some Supreme Court Justices, including the then Chief Justice Theodora Georgina Wood, this newly appointed running mate to Mahama was one of those who joined the campaign for their release.

Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang’s ardent anti-feminist posturing was too obvious to ignore when she appended her signature to the petition to have the trio who had then been incarcerated at Nsawam to be freed against sound advice from well-meaning Ghanaians.

How can a woman who hates her fellow women to the extent that she advocated the release of the jailed trio  so that they could rape and kill her fellow women be given such a responsibility?

We wonder what the message is that John Dramani Mahama is sending Ghanaians by picking  Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang as his vice presidential candidate  when her stewardship in the past brought such  heartache to teachers and trauma to her colleague women.

While we would wish the NDC well in this regard, we also wish to emphasize that we are ready to tell Ghanaians the danger she poses to our growth and development as a country.

2. She superintended over a supposed Progressively Free S.H.S where students were made to pay Gh1500 to GH1700 per student in some schools. It is on record that, monies budgeted for and approved by Parliament to be paid on behalf of students as day students were never paid till date.

When she reigned as the Minister for Education:

•             Teachers were paid three months’ arrears for three years of work, sometimes more than that and sometimes less than that.

•             Yearly incremental jump in salary scales of Teachers was wickedly cancelled.

•             Allowance for Trainee Teachers was cancelled at a time they were paying only 9000 beneficiaries claiming it was huge on government’s purse. Today, we have reintroduced the teacher training allowances and we are paying around 46,000 students.

•             Research and Book allowances of our hard working Lecturers were cancelled. Today we have reintroduced Book and research allowance and government has also put together a stand-alone bill to dedicate enough resources for the fund.

•             There were no Teaching and Learning Materials in our schools, Ghanaians were insulted even when they asked for common chalk.

•             She was by the side of Mr. John Mahama when he promised to build 200 Community Day SHSs and it turned out to be a “suuliya” promise. 

•             She was again by the side of Mr. John Mahama when they failed to deliver on their promise of building 10 Colleges of Education.

•             It was during her reign as Minister for Education that Teachers were always harassed by B.N.I. Officials.

•             She presided over the freezing of employment in the Education Sector. And the heightened corrupt practices at the N.S.S. Secretariat. Remember the Secretariat is under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education.

•             She has, recently, advised John Mahama to cancel the Licensure Examination for Teachers when, God forbid, they come to power. Any rational person wouldn’t do that because professionalism is anchored on licensing.

•             During her tenure as the Minister for Education, the funding for the Progressively Free S.H.S., School Feeding Program, Capitation Grant—-were all in arrears.

•             She presided over the near collapse of the scholarships Secretariat. Students on Foreign Scholarships were always complaining because their fees and other allowances were always in arrears. All these anomalies have since been corrected by the N.P.P.

CONCLUSION

We can only conclude that the choice of Prof Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman by Mr John Dramani Mahama is a clear indication that he does not take the Ghanaian electorate seriously. 

But then as our own Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has famously said, it does not matter who the running mate is, if the main man himself is indecisive and incompetent, we still have a problem. It is our view that after having looked so long and wide, the NDC still has a problem.