Members of the Council of Elders of our great party,
The National Chairman, General Secretary and all members of the National Executive Committee
The Campaign Manager and Members of the National Campaign Team
Professor Naana Jane Opoku- Agyemang,
The good people of Ghana
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for making the time to join us, from all over our beautiful country, and across the world.
Today, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is taking our country, Ghana, on yet another positive and progressive journey.
Two weeks ago, in compliance with the constitution of the NDC, I announced to the Council of Elders and the National Executive Committee, my choice of Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang as Running Matefor the December 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.
With Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, I can say confidently that we have made the best choice for Ghana.
I have – partnering with me, by the Grace of God, a Vice Presidential aspirant who complements and will ensure that we present to the people of Ghana, a winning, credible and an experienced ticket.
Today’s momentous occasion is not only for our great party, theNDC.It isalso for every single Ghanaian who cares about Ghana andis interested inseeing our nation reach the optimal level of progress, shared opportunities and prosperity that we are capable of attaining.
ProfessorOpoku-Agyemangisthe first female to be selected by one of the two major political parties that have won all elections in ourcountry since the start of the 4th Republicin 1992.
Indeed, the NDC remains the most successful political party in the history of Ghana. We have won four out of the seven Presidential elections sincethe days of President Jerry John Rawlings in1992.
With the support of the Ghanaian people and by the grace of God,we will win our 5th election in December 2020to bring development to all our citizensin every corner of Ghana to advance social justice.
The choice of Professor Opoku-Agyemang is over and above affirmative action because she is more than qualified to serve as Vice President.
She is a woman who has contributed to shattering the many glass ceilings that have held women down for generations, by becoming the first female to lead and manage a public university in Ghana.
As I described her in my statement following the announcement, she is “God-fearing, a distinguished scholar, a conscientious public servant and a role model.”
The NDC has a lot to showwhen it comes to putting women at the forefront of leadership. Females constitute about 50% of Ghana’s population and women formthe majority of Ghana’s human resource. They mustlead to advance our nation’s progress.
And we have been vindicated at every turn by the sterling output of these highfliers.
It was the NDC that presented Ghana’s first female Speaker of Parliament, the first female Foreign Minister, the first female Attorney General, the first female Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, the first female Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education and the first female Chairperson of the Council of State.
There are ahost of other key positions where our women distinguished themselves and elevated the name and image of Ghana with their first-rate performance.
Unlikethe NPP,we in the NDC,recognise and appreciate the knowledge, industry,passion, creativity and problem-solving skills of our women.
With Professor Opoku-Agyemang, the NDC has once again stayed with our true course, and advanced a step further in our established philosophy of inclusivity by boldly presenting one of our bestin intellect and character,as our party’s Running Mate.
Together with Naana Jane, we will work with you,each and every Ghanaian, to place our countryback on the trackofprogress, opportunities for alland shared prosperity.
This,we will build on the foundationofsocial justice,self-belief, unity, integrity, transparency and accountability.
Working together withNaana Jane, abrilliant and accomplished woman, I have no doubt thatGod’s grace will shine on us in the elections ofDecember 2020.
I am convinced that with her zeal for service and her unquestionable integrity, she will greatly impact the developmental focus of our activities as a Party and Government.
She has already begun her policy briefing sessions as incoming Vice President, ready and willing to work hard for Ghanaians.
Naana’s impeccable record is endless and her reach across various sectors is overwhelmingly impressive.
For example, I was gladwhenone of her sterling contributions to academia and health care as my Minister for Education sequenced the genome of the virus,which causes Coronavirus disease.I am referring tothe establishment of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens.
Leading the transformation of the educational sector as our Minister for Education, our Running Mate supervised the achievement of many great feats that make me proud to be working with her.
She convertedPolytechnics into fully-fledged Technical Universities, supervised the upgrading of the Colleges of Education into tertiary institutions and led the negotiations that secured the World Bank funding for the flagship Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) that saw the major upgrading of facilities in Senior High Schools and the construction of 23 Community Day Senior High Schools.
Furthermore,facilities in 50 less endowed Senior High Schools and 75 under-performing Senior High Schools were upgraded.
Working withthe educational unionsand traditional authorities,teacher absenteeism was reduced during her tenure from 27% to 7%. Naana Jane also improved the quality of basic education which resulted in Ghana’s all-time best BECE performance, introduced the private BECE, and recruited 2,400 mathematics and science teachers as a special intervention to improve teaching and learning at the Senior Secondary level.
Shealso achieved Ghana’s overall best-performing WASSCE nation award by WAEC for four consecutive years when she served as Minister.
During the period of her tenure, the Ministry of Education engaged more than 40,000 newly recruited teachers.
As you will all recall, we abolished the quota system at the Colleges of Education, leading to an increase inenrolment from 9,000 to 15,400,creating more teaching opportunities for our youth.
It was under Professor Opoku-Agyemang that teachers were automatically posted without National Service and Licensure Examinations.
My brothers and sisters, having worked closely with Naana, what Isaluteabout her,andthe world acknowledges and equally celebrates as true, is the fact thatshe is an achiever of unquestionable integrity, a resourceful and results-driven leader.
It is regrettable thatfollowing my announcement of her as my running mate, several key leaders of the NPP Administration and party launched a barrage of misogynistic attacks at her just on the basis of her gender. These attacks are unacceptable and most unfortunate. This is not what the severelydistressed people of Ghana deserveat this time.
We surely cando better.
Our politics has devolved into one of insults, intimidation and unfortunately in many cases has become increasingly violent.
This is an anathema to the sustainability of the health and wealth of our Republic, fought for and won through the blood and toilsof our forebears.
As servant-leaders,we pledge to abide by the ethics ofa clean campaign devoid of insults.We shall present our message to the people of Ghana in a clear and succinct manner.
Wealso pledgethat our promises would bea sacred social contract that will be honoured and not betrayed. This pledge is to all, including our compatriots,who have lost interest, faith and hope in our politics.
We will change the face of our politics so that noone will be considered less Ghanaian or more Ghanaian than the other on the basis of ownership of a political party card.
Let’s face it! There are many Ghanaians who do not belong to the NPP, the NDC or any recognisable political party. They detest the persistent acrimony associated with our politics. They do not have a party card and yet they contributesignificantly to build our country.
Today, we are witnessinga course of action neverbeforeseen in our history.So there is hope for them.
Indeed, the selection of Professor Opoku-Agyemang as our Running Mate is a demonstration of the many bold and progressive changes the next NDCAdministration, that I will lead, will embark upon.
The involvement of women in the decision-making process will not end at thelevel of Vice President.We will work towards the attainmentofa minimum of 30% of all appointments going to women.
We have an opportunity in this election, as Ghanaians, to fully give meaning to gender equality and also to have a highly educated and disciplined woman placed in a critical position to influence policy and shape the nation’s destiny.
We will implement a set of robust health policies and plans aimed at aggressively tackling and reducing maternal mortality by half from the current 319 per 100,000 live births.
We shall ensure female socio-economic empowerment, enact the Spousal Rights Law, establish exclusive and secured shelters for abused women and children, and provide opportunities for all.
Ladies and gentlemen, as a Social Democratic Party, weseek to harness the best qualitiesinall our people to transform the destiny ofournation.
In that direction, and as the fulcrum around which our Health Policy will evolve, we will before the end of 2021, introduce and begin the implementation of a Free Primary Health Care Plan.
This will make the provision of primary health care to all Ghanaians, young andelderly, FREE.Our free health care plan will guarantee a healthy people andprovide the healthy workforce needed to accelerate our development.
My brothers and sisters, the 2020 election will be a referendum on the four years of Nana Akufo-Addo’s presidency–four years of nepotism, corruption, stagnation, deliberate abandoning of badly needed social infrastructure, dehumanisation, disenfranchising Ghanaians, stripping Ghanaians of their citizenship, deliberate collapse of indigenous Ghanaian businesses,massive job lossesandthe attendant socio-economic hardship.
This will be a referendum on the term of a president who has no real solutions for Ghana, a president, hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to stay in power– including, against sound advice, replacing the very voter register, which brought him into office.
My heart goes out to the many who have been affected by this Government’s unjustifiable collapse of Ghanaian-owned financial institutions.
It is heart-wrenching to hear Government officials justify the huge amounts it is spending to manage the impact of the collapse, now put at 21 billion Ghana Cedis.
I weep for the many who have lost their jobs, the many who have lost their businesses, the many who have lost their livelihood among others.
I pledge on behalf of the NDC that we shall pay within one year all who have funds locked up with the collapsed financial institutions.Within one year. I promise!
We shall not put up any long-term payment plans that will further worsen the living conditions of the victims.
As has been introduced in other economies, the next NDC Administration will establish a Financial Services Authority that will be responsible for ensuring thatconsumer financial markets work for consumers, providers and the economy as a whole.”
The Authority willoversee all financial products and services that are offered to consumers, and will effectively and efficiently prevent and stop the challenges that have confronted customers of Menzgold, DKM among others.
We will restore Ghanaian indigenous investment in the banking and financial sector through a tiered banking structure in order to restore viable credit sources for Ghanaian SMEs. We will make amends for those whose businesses were collapsed due to political victimization.
We will send all contractors with valid contracts who have been sitting at home for 4 yearswithout being paid for legitimate work done for the government back to site.
We will make immediate arrangements to pay them their hard-earned monies deliberately withheld by the Nana Addo administration due to politics.
Ladies and gentlemen, weak infrastructure does not propel growthand improvements in the quality oflives ofapeople.
This is precisely why, during my Presidency, I took aggressive steps to develop and consolidate our healthcare infrastructure, our educational infrastructure, our transport infrastructure and our digital infrastructure.
This is how to build a resilient nation.
Without creating and consolidating a developed infrastructure, no nation can resist global shocks.Just imagine for a second, how Ghana would have been without the University of Ghana Medical Centre and the Ga East District Hospitalas the number of COVID-19 cases keeprising.
The speed of building and consolidating our infrastructure has slowed down because the current government is largely ignoring the infrastructural buffers that build resilience in the face of misfortune.
The NDC believes in Ghana’s future andwill address the issues that affect you, each and everyone of us.
We will build a peaceful, secure and strong economy that provides sustainable jobs through a transformed, industrialised and digital economy.
We will reinforce the independence of state institutionssuch asthe Electoral Commission, Auditor General’s Department, EOCO and CHRAJ.
Singlesourced procurement – sole sourcing – will be an exception, not the rule.
In pursuance of social justice, Iwillvigorouslypush through a constitutional review that creates a fairer and just emoluments system and removes the distortions between Article 71 Office-holders and other public sector employees.
We will as part of an Integrity for Development action plan, launch “Operation Sting.” Operation Sting isan anti-corruption crusade,whichunder my watchwill involve massive, far-reaching and practical governmental reforms. It will be ruthlessagainst all corrupt political appointees and public sector workers.
It will be a requirement for all who serve in my Government to publish their assets declaration and have same audited by the Auditor General.
Of course, the elephantine-size governmentof 125 ministerswe have been burdened with for four yearswill be reduced drastically.The savings made from emoluments ofreduced number of ministers and the privileges they enjoy will be channelled towards paying Assembly Members to perform the function of collecting accurate births and deaths information in their various electoral areas.
My brothers and sisters,tonightisformy Running Mate.I will leave the rest for my Policy Dialogue Sessions,and the launch of our Manifesto in August,during which we will discuss and debate the NDC’s solutions and plansfor our country.
Our plansinclude an aggressive job and entrepreneurial programmein the public and private sector;that will delivera minimum 250,000 jobs every year.A total of 1,000,000 jobs across the countryby the end of my term in office in 2024.We will put Ghanaians to work to earn a decent living.
CongratulationsProfessorNaana Jane Opoku-Agyemang– the first female Vice-Chancellor of a Public University in Ghana –on yourselectionand acceptance as our party’s Running Mate.Together, we have made the best choice for Ghana!
Youhave myfullestsupport,the supportof the NDC and the support of millions of Ghanaians, including youngpeople whom you have either directly trained in your long career as an educationist of repute or those you have inspired by your stellar achievements.
We cannot fail them!
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you,Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang. By the Grace of God, and the will of the Ghanaian people,the next Vice President of the Republic of Ghana.