John Dramani Mahama was born on November 29, 1958, in Damongo, the capital of the West Gonja District of the Northern Region at the time. His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, a prominent rice farmer was a Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region under Ghana’s first leader, President Kwame Nkrumah.
He received his basic education at Achimota Basic School and later moved to the Ghana Secondary School in Tamale. He gained admission into the country’s premier university, the University of Ghana, in Legon, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1981. After his BA degree, John Mahama moved back to Tamale, where he taught history at Ghana Secondary School.
He previously served as Vice President of Ghana from January 2009 to July 2012, and took office as president on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills. Mahama is a communication expert, historian, and writer.
He was a Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001. He is a member of the NDC (National Democratic Congress). He was elected after the December 2012 election to serve as full-time President.
He contested re-election for a second term in the 2016 election, but lost to the New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, in 2016.
In February 2019, Mahama was confirmed as the candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress to contest in the 2020 elections.