Mr John Dramani Mahama is the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the December 7 polls.
He also served as the President of Ghana from July 2012 to January 6, 2017 and was late President John Evans Atta Mills’ Vice President from 2009-2012.
As a Presidential Candidate in 2020 general election, Mr Mahama says: “Our mission will not be complete until poverty is eradicated in our country, Ghana, until every child has access to quality and free education, until Ghanaian girls and women are genuinely empowered, until all Ghanaians are truly equal under the law, and until all of us live a meaningful life within an inclusive community.”
Who is John Dramani Mahama?
John Dramani Mahama was born on the 29th of November 1958 in Damongo, the then capital of the West Gonja District of the Northern Region.
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.
John Mahama spent the first years of his life with his mother, Abiba Nnaba, in Damongo, before moving to Accra to live with his father, who imbued him with a strong passion for education.
He received his basic education at Achimota Basic School, where he began defending other children from bullies, and later moved to the Ghana Secondary School in Tamale.
He will later gain admission into the country’s premier university, the University of Ghana, 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.
However, the political and economic situation in Ghana forced him to flee to Nigeria, where he rejoined his father who was in exile.
In 1983, he came back, with a strong desire to build bridges between people through communication, so he enrolled in a post-graduate programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana.
He graduated in 1986 and then went to Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, to the Institute of Social Sciences, where he received a post-graduate degree in Social Psychology in 1988.
While in Moscow, he noted the imperfections of the Socialist System and came to the realization that each nation had to find it’s own transformative way, away from ideological dogmas.
His book, ‘My First Coup d’État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa’, published in July 2012, has won international praise for describing a world of love, fear, faith, despair, loss, longing, and hope despite all else.
He recalls in its first chapter the day in 1966 when he learned of the ousting of Ghana’s founding president, Kwame Nkrumah, in a military coup: “When I look back on my life it’s clear to me that this moment marked the awakening of my consciousness. It changed my life and influenced all the moments that followed.”
He has also written essays, which have been published in the “Ebony”, “Huffington Post”, “the New York Times” and “The Root.”
The political path
1996 marked the year John Dramani Mahama entered Ghanaian politics. He joined the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and, being an eloquent champion of the underprivileged, he was elected to the Parliament of Ghana to represent the Bole- Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term. He was re-elected in the elections of 2000 and 2004.
During this time, he was appointed a Deputy Minister for Communications in 1997, became Minister for Communications from 1998 until 2001, Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications from 2001 until 2005, and Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Foreign Affairs from 2005 until 2008.
While serving as Minister of Communications, John Mahama was also the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, and played a key role in the stabilization and transformation of Ghana’s telecom sector.
Mr Mahama was nominated as running mate to Professor John Evans Atta Mills in 2008, becoming Vice President of Ghana in 2009.
In July 2012, he succeeded his boss who passed away on July 24, 2012 and elected in December 2012 as President of Ghana for his first four-year term.
He thus made political history by becoming the first Ghanaian head of state to have been born after Ghana’s declaration of independence on 6th March, 1957.
During his entire life and throughout his political career, Mr John Mahama has been a champion of the underprivileged, a unifier, moving above tribal politics: a strong supporter of public education for all: and a visionary, seeking to transform Ghana in fundamental ways.
During his Presidency, Ghana witnessed important transformations, the most important of which was the building of a more vibrant democracy.
In 2012, Ghana’s score in the Democracy Index was 6.02, being ranked 78th in the world. In 2016, when he left office, Ghana’s score was 6.75, placing it as 54th in the world – and making it the 5th most democratic country in Africa.
Equally important, under President Mahama, Ghana’s ranking when it comes to the freedom of the press rose from 41st in 2012 to 26th in 2016, turning Ghana into a world champion of the free press.
Also under his Presidency, Ghana’s ranking regarding the equality between men and women rose from 71st in the world in 2012 to 59th in the world in 2016.
Unemployment fell from 3.6 per cent in 2012, to 23 per cent in 2016.
The coefficient of human inequality decreased from 31.9 in 2012, to 28.8 in 2016.
Inequality in education fell from 40.9 per cent in 2012, to 34.9 per cent in 2016.
All in all, John Mahama’s Presidency was a truly transformational one, with huge strides in infrastructural development.
The personal pillars
My Heroes: “First, I must mention Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Then, I admire Mahatma Ghandi for his calm disposition and his non-violence struggle. Mandela naturally is one of my heroes and President Rawlings for midwifing our 4th Republican democracy and giving me the opportunity to serve the people of Ghana, and then Professor Atta Mills. He is not only my hero but was my mentor.” -John Dramani Mahama.
Mr John Mahama, or JM, as he is popularly called, is a Christian, born and raised a Presbyterian but now a member of the Assemblies of God Church. He is a member of a multi-faith family consisting of both Christians and Muslims.
He is married to Lordina Mahama (née Effah, born on 6th March 1963).
JM loves afrobeat music, he is a passionate reader and a consummate writer, and has vivid interest in farming, information and communication technology, and environmental issues.
Mahama administration’s major achievements (2012-2016)
Former President Mahama’s achievements between 2012 and 2016 cuts across all regions of the country.
His administration executed 36 major projects within the Greater Accra Region. These include: Telecom and Broadcasting Regulations Tower for National Communications Authority, Airport City, Accra; the Ridge Hospital – Greater Accra Regional Hospital; the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange at Circle Accra; the Bukom Boxing Arena, Accra and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Headquarters Office Complex, Accra.
Others are; the Borteyman Housing Project Near Tema; the Sakumono Housing Project In Accra; the Awoshie-Anyaa-Pokuase Road And Community Development Projects; the Burma Camp – Airport Hills Road; the First Gold Refinery In Ghana, Accra; the Tetteh Quarshie – Adenta Road In Accra; the New InterCity STC Buses; the 360 MW Asogli Power Plant, Tema; the Aayalolo Bus Service, Accra; the Naval Headquarters Office Complex, Burma Camp, Accra; the New Academy Hall At The Ghana Military Academy And Training School, Tema; the 76 Km Asphaltic Overlay Of Accra Central Roads; the Dome Kwabenya Community Senior High School; the National Emergency Command Centre, Accra; the New Cargo Section Of Kotoka International Airport, Accra and the Millennium City School In Mamprobi, Accra.
The rest are; the Lavender Hill Faecal And Mudor Waste Water Treatment Plants, James Town, Accra; the Accra Digital Centre; the Dansoman School Complex in Accra; the New Court Complex For The Judiciary, Accra; the Job 600 Office Complex For Parliament, Accra; the New Office Complex For Ghana Academy Of Arts And Sciences, Kanda, Accra; the Frafraha Community Day Senior High School At Adenta, Accra; the Ghana Civil Aviation Training Academy In Accra; the Terminal 3, Kotoka International Airport, Accra; the 120-Bed Shai Osudoku District Hospital In Dodowa; the Saglemi Affordable Housing Projects At Prampram; the Teshie Nungua Water Desalination Project; the University Of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC Hospital); the Bank Of Ghana Hospital In Cantonments, Accra; abd the 130-Bed Maritime Hospital, Tema.
Thirteen projects were executed by the Mahama administration in the Eastern Region, namely New Ferry And Water Taxi For Afram Plains – Kpando Crossing; Abirem Market – With 279 Sheds; Osiem Saviour Senior High School; Maternity Block For Donkokrom Presbyterian Hospital In The Affram Plains South; Suhum Road; Kwahu Water Project At Kotoso; Township Water Supply System At Kyebi and Kwahu Fodoa Senior High School in the Nkawnkaw Constituency.
The rest are Kwaobaah-Nyanoa Community Senior High School; Takrowase Community Day Senior High School, Akwatia Constituency; University Of Environment And Sustainable Development, Somanya Campus; New Engineering Faculty Block For Koforidua Technical University and the Kpong Water Sypply Expansion Project.
In the Ashanti Region, the Mahama administration executed 13 major projects. These include Agric Nzema Community Day SHS In Kumasi Metropolis; Parkuso Community SHS Senior High School In Ashanti Region; Breman U.G.C Roads In Suame Constituency in the Kumasi Metropolis;
Centre For Renewable Energy and Entrepreneurship Village for Kumasi Polytechnic; Ofoase Road; Adugyama Community Senior High School and New Girls Dormitory for Bekwai SDA Senior High School.
Others are New Water Treatment Plant at Asante Mampong; Fomena District Hospital; New Lecture Halls for the Faculty if Pharmacy in KNUST, Kumasi; New Lecture Hall for the Faculty of Agriculture in KNUST, Kumasi; Kejetia Market in Kumasi; and the Rattray Park In Kumasi – a Recreational Facility.
For the Central Region, the Mahama administration completed 10 projects.
These are; the New Komenda Sugar Factory; the Kotokoraba Market in Cape Coast; the Cape Coast Sports Stadium; the Elmina Fish Processing Plant; the Kyekyewere Community SHS in the Upper Denkyira East District; Atta Mills Senior High School at Otuam; Agona Abodom Community Senior High School; John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library in Cape Coast; Denkyira Abuakwa Community Senior High School; and Moree Senior High Technical School.
For the Western Region, the Mahama Government implemented 12 projects. These are TEN Field Oil – The Country’s Second FPSO; Agona Junction-Elubo Road Construction; Atuabo Gas Processing Plant In Nzemaland; Sekondi-Takoradi Railway Line And Ultra Modern Train Stations at Kojokrom, Sekondi and Takoradi; Western Diamond Cement Ltd, Egyam-Bokro Near Takoradi; Bokro near Takoradi; Abuesi Sea Defence Project in the Western Region; Secondi Sea Defence Project; Aboadze Sea Defence; 20 Km Sekondi-Takoradi Roads; Asankragwa – Enchi Road; Asankragwa-Enchi; Tarkwa-Bogoso Road; and 251-Room Hostel For University Of Mines And Technology at Tarkwa.
The Mahama administration in four years did execute 17 projects in the Volta/Oti Regions. These include five Communities Water Project at Adidome; 60-Bed Ketu North District Hospital at Weta; Eastern Corridor Fiber Optic Backbone; 12-Unit School Block at Adaklu Waya SHS; Volo Community Day Senior High School; Kpando, Dambai, Asukawkaw And Worawora Roads; Kwamekrom Community Senior High School; and 54 Km Dodo Pepesu-Nkwanta Road Section of the Eastern Corridor Road Completed.
The rest are; inauguration Of Tongor Senior High Technical School; Nkwanta Community Senior High School; Kpando Water Supply Project; Ultra-Modern Teaching And Learning System Laboratory and Faculty of Engineering for Ho Technical University; Atorkor-Dzita-Anyanui Sea Defence And Road Project at Keta; Awudome SHS Girls’ Dormitory; Ho-Fume Road Through Dzolokpuita, Vane and Avatime; University Of Health And Allied Sciences (UHAS); and Nchumuruman Community Senior High School.
The Mahama administration also finished five major projects in the Northern/Savannah Regions. These are 147.5 Km Fufulso-Sawla Road and Community Development Projects inaugurated; Savanna Diamond Cement Factory at Buipe, Aboabo Market In Tamale – Phase 1; New Engineering Laboratory In Tamale Technical University; and upgrade and Expansion Of Tamale Airport – Phase 1.
In the Brong Ahafo Region, it implemented 11 major projects. These are Yeji Senior High School; The New Yeji Midwifery Training School; Abeaseman Community Senior High School; Berekum Water Project; New Classroom Complex For Techiman Senior High School; Small Town Water System at Fetentaa; New Water Supply System at Kajeji; New Longoro Community Day SHS; Derma Community Day Senior High School; New Lecture Block For Hospitality Department, Sunyani Technical University; and University Of Energy and Natural Resources.
In the Upper East Region, the Mahama administration did accomplish four major projects. These are Upper East Regional Hospital at Bolgatanga; 250-Bed Dormitory For Fumbisi SHS, Builsa South District; A New Bridge at Nakpadi; and Bawku Water Project.
For the Upper West Region, the Mahama administration did accomplish four major projects with four years. These include 160 Bed Upper West Regional Hospital at Wa; 12 Unit Classroom Block For Wa Prisons Basic School Complex; the Wa Water Supply Project; and the Upper West Regional Library in Wa.
Some projects achieved by the Mahama administration across regions include Equipment for Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) – Local Government and Rural Development and handing over Of 500 vehicles to educational institutions across the country.
The rest are; buses and salon cars for Ghana Private Roads and Transport Union (GPRTU) through the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) and 107 Beneficiaries Received YES Package – The Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana).
Mr Mahama in his bid for a second term announced a $10 billion accelerated infrastructural plan, dubbed the “Big Push”, which he said would drive jobs and entrepreneurial agenda when elected on December 07.
“We are looking at what I call the BIG PUSH, injecting some $10 billion to dualise our roads, complete the remainder of the 200 Community Day Senior High Schools, finish all the hospital projects that have been left abandoned, and construct bridges to open up the country.”
Mr Mahama indicated that the main objective of his second coming was to create jobs for the youth of the country.
“I run for President because I want to leave a legacy: a solid infrastructure, with 100 per cent access for all. With this legacy, we will build a truly developed Ghana, on a par with the advanced nations,” Mr Mahama said.
“I know how to do it, part of it I’ve already accomplished, and since I know how to do it and the current government doesn’t, I feel I have the moral duty to ask for a second term. This is not about me, it’s about Ghana and Ghanaians.”
All in all, John Mahama’s Presidency during his first term was transformational and he hopes to use the big push project to accelerate Ghana’s socioeconomic development and to create more jobs for the youth.
When that bid is successful, he will become the first President to come back to power after serving a-four-year first term.