NDC flagbearership: John Mahama in pole position
IN what appears to be a return to the presidential campaign for the third consecutive time, political experts and election watchers have touted John Dramani Mahama as being in a pole position for the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) presidential candidate slot.
He will battle it out with former Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor and a former chief executive of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, Kojo Bonsu in a contest slated for May 13.
Mr Mahama was the 4th President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana.
He was popularly elected for a four-year term (January 07, 2013 – January 06, 2017) on December 07, 2012.
The former President had previously served as Vice-President of the country under the late President John Evans Atta Mills.
He took over the reins of government on the passing of President Atta Mills on July 24, 2012, and assumed the role of Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
Ghana, under former President Mahama witnessed a massive infrastructure development drive that has solidly positioned the country for its next phase of development as a Lower Middle Income Country.
At the end of his term in office, he guided the country through a peaceful transition that demonstrated the strength and robustness of Ghana as a democratic example.
Birth and education
Former President Mahama was born in Damongo, in the Savannah Region on November 29, 1958. His father was the late Emmanuel Adama Mahama who was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency, and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region under President Kwame Nkrumah.
The young John Dramani Mahama attended primary school at the Achimota School in Accra, and on completion moved to the Northern Region to attend the Ghana Secondary School in Tamale where he studied for his Ordinary and Advanced level GCE certificates.
Thereafter, he attended the University of Ghana, where he read history, and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1981.
He furthered his education by embarking on Postgraduate Studies in Communication also at the University of Ghana, in the School of Communication Studies, which he completed in 1986.
His thirst for knowledge took him to Moscow, Russia for a Postgraduate Diploma in Social Psychology from the Institute of Social Sciences.
Mr Mahama is an avid reader, author and historian.
Over the course of his career, he has written for some newspapers and authored a number of publications.
Few years ago, he published his first book, a memoir entitled, ‘My First Coup D'etat and other true stories from the lost decades of Africa’.
Mr Mahama considers the combination of the study of history, communication and social psychology as having had a profound impact on shaping his views, thoughts and understanding of the human condition and have contributed significantly to making him the person he is today.
After he completed his postgraduate diploma studies in Moscow, Mr Mahama returned to Ghana and in 1991 became the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra.
The President credits this period of his life for having inculcated in him the Japanese work ethic, which was underscored by resolute conscientiousness.
Although the former President had always embraced hard work, the experience reinforced in his mind the importance of focus and commitment.
These qualities reflect in his actions and the dynamism that he brought to bear as President.
After working at the Embassy of Japan for a few years, he moved on to become the International Relations, Sponsorship, Communication and Grants Manager at the Ghana Office of PLAN International, an International Development Charity, that has committed itself to alleviating child poverty and improving the lives of children all over the world.
The former President first contested to serve as a Member of Parliament for the Bole-Bamboi Constituency in 1996, and won on the ticket of the NDC.
He was re-elected to Parliament two more times in the year 2000, and 2004 prior to becoming the Vice-Presidential Candidate for the party in 2008.
During his first term in office as MP, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications, and subsequently appointed substantive Minister.
He was the first Chairman of the National Communications Authority and in that capacity played a key role in shaping Ghana's telecommunication's sector after the deregulation exercise.
During the NDC administration of 1996-2000, he was also a member of the economic management team, and played a key role in the publicity committee for the re-introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT).
When the NDC government left office in January 2001, he served as the Minority Spokesman for Communications in Parliament from 2001 to 2004, the Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2008, and as a Member of the Pan African Parliament.
He was also the Director of Communications of the NDC and played a key role in giving a voice to the party's positions on matters of governance and social significance when the party was in opposition.
Family life and interests
Former President Mahama has been married for over 20 years to Mrs Lordina Dramani Mahama. He is a Christian but comes from a multi-faith family with both Christian and Muslim brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles.
When he is not working, he loves to spend time in the company of his family.
Apart from his love of reading and acquiring knowledge, former President Mahama also has a keen interest in technology and being a farmer himself, in agriculture.
He is particularly interested in finding the most effective ways to improve agricultural productivity and works to encourage more young people to see farming as a viable business and not a subsistence activity.
His passion for Agriculture led to the birth of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (which is referred to by the acronym SADA) to create new opportunities for people living in the Savanna areas of the country, which includes the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions, and the northern parts of the then Brong Ahafo, now Bono East and Volta regions.
Even on official assignments outside of the country, Mr Mahama liked to take advantage of opportunities to visit agricultural establishments and update himself on current trends and developments.
He also takes keen interest in the opportunities for simplifying and making tasks easier with the use of Information and Communications Technology, and considers the ICT industry one of the sectors that can play a significant role in economic transformation and job creation.
He is also a keen football enthusiast and when he has the time, loves to watch soccer in the company of his family and friends.
Former President Mahama is a man of many talents and accomplishments who has committed himself to fulfilling the vision of creating a better Ghana by focusing on jobs, stability and development.