The NDC’s John & Jane Ticket and the NPP’s Diabolical Communication Agenda 

Genesis 2:22-23 reads:

“And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

Surah 38 Verse 71 and Surah 3 Verse 59 read:

“God created him from dust, then said to him: “Be.” And he was.
Allah also created Hawa (Eve) by His Hands from the same nature of Adam.”

Thus the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) explains: “Treat women kindly. Woman has been created from a rib and the most bent part of the rib is the uppermost. If you try to turn it straight, you will break it. And if you leave it alone, it will remain bent as it is. So treat women kindly” (Bukhari and Muslim).

When one looks at the Christian and Islamic religion both recognize the importance of women and therefore urges all to accord the woman with all the dignity, and the respect they deserve particularly when, on their own accord, they strive to climb and break the glass ceiling. It is in the light of these biblical sayings that I am encouraged to share my views on the unfortunate vitriolic attacks on the chosen running mate of the NDC and also share what can lower the shameless pride and bloated ego of some political players and watchers.

When we accept that God created man, Adam, from dust. But created Eve from the rib of the man, then it suggested the woman was naturally created to partner the man in all endeavor to help complement one another whether from the top or bottom. This, probably, explains why a good family system remains the pillar of society within which quality life revolves. The creation of the man and woman also explains why when a man and woman decide to work together to better the lots of mankind, society becomes the bigger beneficiary.

Having said this, last week, HE John Dramani Mahama, the Former President and current Presidential candidate and leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) decisively and historically presented the Former Education Minister and a first female Vice Chancellor of a University in Ghana, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang as his running mate going into the December 7, 2020 presidential election. The choice of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang brought a high level of excitement in the NDC and a sense of great relief to teeming women and girls who have being yearning for such rare opportunity to prove that women when given the opportunity can prove their worth.

Therefore, the Choice of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman to the government-in-waiting, the NDC, therefore provoked excitement but also invoked and provoked some fear and tension in others, particularly the ruling government and its party the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The reasons for the fear and tension in the NPP is not far-fetched. The Professor has less baggage for the opponents to run political riot, and the candidature of the good Professor also comes into the ticket with little or no politriks.

Indeed, the persona and profile of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman is undeniably one of the best because she an accomplished academic and intellectual, level-headed, inspirational, sincere, down-to-earth and incorruptible. The choice of the Professor is also described as the best for the NDC in particular and Ghana as a whole because this is the first time in the annals of the country that a renowned woman of substance and value, on the ticket of a major political party, has risen to the level of being just a step away from becoming a Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.

Despite the NDC’s best choice, there are still a few anti-feminist people who either see the candidature of the female Professor as a wrong choice for the NDC or a serious threat. Largely among these cynics are the NPP’s General Secretary, John Boadu, the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs who doubles as the Majority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu and the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Chairman Wontume. These personalities have given their views, verdicts and descriptions of the candidature of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman. Among their concerns are:

  1. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman is not a Presidential material that can easily step in when the President is not around;
  2. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman does not exude the qualities of the likes of Hon. Betty Mould Iddrisu, Hon. Hannah Tetteh and probably Hon. Ursula Owusu that inspire confidence in women;
  3. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman’s academic, intellectual and political track records are woeful and abysmal.

Though some NDC communicators has verbally and aptly disputed these claims leveled against Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman, my write-up seeks to look at these concerns deeply from a professional Communication standpoint. My write-up looks at how the Party, NDC can take advantage of the negativities the opponents are churning out and turn these view points into something that may shame the accusers and better the lot of the Professor.

Before I proceed to proffer any propositions, let me hasten to say that:

  1. The NPP who are spearheading these negativities, are the NDC main contender for the 2020 presidential election and have every right to aim at the running mate of the NDC even if that will cost them votes. The fact is, every mud they have thrown at HE John Mahama has not stuck. So, their only option is to try his running mate. Certainly, the NDC does not expect the NPP to start singing beautiful hymns of the opponent they are gearing up to compete with in the next five (5) months.
  2. In practical terms, the NPP represents about half of Ghana’s voting population. The question is, do their followers share in the views and concerns the NPP executives are espousing? Do floating voters and the millennials also share in these views and concerns the NPP is putting out in the public domain?

The fact is, even if the floating voters and the millennials do not share in the NPP’s views about the NDC running mate, the Party has successfully set the agenda, the stage and the parameters on which people will henceforth discuss, measure and judge Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman. In fact, anytime Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman steps out, the electorate will be looking out for these measures the NPP has set, and for the rest of the 2020 campaign season, the NDC shall be battling how Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman walks, stands, sits, waves, speaks, and how she interacts, and not what she may say that will better the lots of the Ghanaian people.

The NPP has as usual, and diabolically, succeeded in setting the agenda and the NDC has falling into it beautifully. Already some NDC Executives have made pronouncements that has defended the good Professor. It is left with how she will fit into what we say she is that the NPP say she is not, the practical.

As a political party poised to win the December 7, 2020 elections and take over power on January 7, 2021, the NDC should not be seen or even heard verbally reacting to or defending anything the losing NPP say or put out. We should rather, in the spirit of readiness, listen more, take the concerns and expression of the ordinary Ghanaians including those the NPP are bringing up and address these issues with data, pictures and videos. For instance:

  1. When the NPP say it is only kayayies that will wave at or applaud Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman when she appears in public, we should not be quick to react and condemn such an utterance. What the Party should do is to research into what will make even kayayies to wave at and applaud our running mate so we can replicate this for other sections of society. We can also research into what will make the middle class react positively to a public figure. When we get these findings, we can then use them to brand the running mate.
  2. When they say Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman does not have the looks of Hon. Betty, Hon. Hannah and the like, that inspire confidence. Again we don’t react with anger and play into the NPP game of equalization. As a social democratic party, the NDC believe that looks do not matter much but bread and butter issues do. That does not also mean some people generally do not look out for looks of personalities. So what the NDC must do is to take the qualities that makes the Betties, Hannahs and the likes stand out and inspire others and super-impose them on the character traits of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman who already has her own personality strength.
  3. When the NPP again say our running mate does not look presidential, and cannot sit in for her Boss when he is not around, all the NDC has to do is go out, dig into what makes someone presidential and use those characteristics to couch the running mate and the outcome is what will answer the critics and not what we say. For instance, when you take HE John Dramani Mahama, when he steps out, mount the podium and speak the aura is infectious. This did not come on a silver platter. Professionals like my Boss, Mr. Stan Dogbe contributed to the branding of what we have in HE John Dramani Mahama.
  4. When they talk about her career records, again let us bring the evidence and allow the evidence to speak for her and the NDC.

You see, the NPP are talkers and there is no way the NDC can outmaneuver them in the art of talking or lying. Therefore the NDC does not have to play into their comfort zone. When they took on HE John Mahama on what he did when he was the President of Ghana between 2012 to 2016, the evidence in the Green Book silenced them outrightly. This is what makes the NPP cave in and this is what we must take to the NPP.

Let me repeat that the NPP has set the stage by preparing the questions and amplified them for the public to mark the good Professor. From now on every move she makes, every step she takes and every word she say, she will be assessed by the parameter the NPP has set. For emphasis, let me restate these parameters:

  1. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman is not a Presidential material that can easily step in when the President is not around;
  2. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman does not exude the qualities of the likes of Hon. Betty Mould Iddrisu, Hon. Hannah Tetteh and probably Hon. Ursula Owusu that inspire confidence in women;
  3. Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman’s academic, intellectual and political track records are woeful and abysmal.

Let the NDC therefore be up and doing from today and start prepping our mother, the running mate of the NDC and our treasure, so the NPP will be shamed. This is the Communication I speak and not the reactionary type of communication.

Thank you

By George Kofi Azirigo

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