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Bawumia Has A Story To Tell (1)

Jabir Ibrahim

July. 13, 2020

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia
I am a young woman in my mid-thirties. Like many other Ghanaians, I would naturally follow political discourses but not lend myself to active partisan politics.
That notwithstanding, I have admirable love for certain key personalities in the body politic of Ghana and this cuts across most of the parties, particularly NPP and NDC. I remember when John Dramani Mahama was nominated by the late Prof. John Evans Atta Mills as his running mate, I was among the few or many people at KNUST and across the country who had avid love for him because of his persona, past exploits as a Member of Parliament, among others. I have always admired the politics of people like the late Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, Haruna Iddrisu, Nana Akufo-Addo, Seth Terkper, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, Mark Assibey Yeboah, Victor Bampoe, Gladys Asmah, among others. As to why I like these people can be subjective but that is not the subject of my write-up.
I am writing this article because of the recent nomination of Prof. Jane Naana Opoku-Agyeman as the running mate to Mr. John Dramani Mahama for the 2020 presidential elections. Although it is not the first of its kind a professor has assumed the reins of the high office of the land, the nomination of the former vice-chancellor, a woman and a mother, has its uniqueness and worth celebrating. I have listened to and watched comments, and I must say that but for some little gruff exteriors in the commentary around it, the arguments for and against her nomination are welcome.
What leaves me puzzled and harrowing is the attempt by some of the commentators to suggest that by virtue of Prof. Naana’s academic accomplishments as a university don and former vice-chancellor, she is ahead of Dr. Bawumia, and by extension, better than him. Much as I believe such individuals are entitled to their opinions, I wish to surmise that their comparison may be flawed.
As far as my young life has observed the political governance of this country from 1992 to date, I am yet to come across any vice-president that has distinguished himself so much and gone the extra mile beyond what his president or the Constitution has assigned to him to perform so creditably and impacted life more than Dr. Bawumia. I believe the NPP itself has not sat down to analyze the gains their government has made from Dr. Bawumia and what he means to them going forward,  but I want to highlight a few.
At the risk of sounding very demeaning and displaying a lack of historical memories of past political regimes and the roles their veeps played from 1992, I am equally grown and educated enough to read, listen or observe for myself if there are any novel noticeable accomplishments. From the late Ekow Ackaah to the late Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, let’s take our time and analyze what significant impact, each of them, individually did that we can readily recollect. It’s a cerebral exercise; just do it yourself in a matter of two minutes and continue reading …
Yes, Bawumia is a ‘normal’ PhD holder and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana that perhaps may not be compared to the VC of a university, as some may want to suggest. But the truth of the matter is that Bawumia’s life even as a student is an inspiration to young students. He went to Buckingham University in the UK and did not just graduate with a First Class Honours in Economics but he was the best student in Economics at the school. Later, he went to the prestigious Oxford University and had a distinction for his Master’s in Economics. He obtained his PhD in Economics at the Simon Frazer University in Canada. Like Prof. Naana, he has had stints in academia having taught at the University of British Columbia, Canada and Baylor University in the USA, among others. At Baylor, he was named among America’s ‘Who Is Who’ in teaching economics and won the young researcher award. As an academic, he publishes and gives research position papers to institutes of great repute such as the Oxford University and the World Bank. This is an enviable record in and around the academia that every student/academic will aspire to.
The ‘young man’ having qualified as a banker in addition to being an economist, left academia for industry working and rising to become Director, Special Assistant to the Governor, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and even to heading the African Development Bank in Zimbabwe, all in his young age of, in and around 44.
As Head of the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Department of the BoG, he led, designed and implemented the inflation-targeting framework that continues to guide monetary policy and the workings at the monetary policy committee of the BoG. It was as a result of it that Ghana’s inflation reduced from 40.5% in 2000 (under the NDC government) to about 18.5% in 2008. As Chairman of the Capital Markets Committee, he was responsible for the strategy of Ghana’s first debut into the Eurobond market to raise US$750 million, which was four times over-subscribed. Today, from NPP to NDC going to the Eurobond market is the new normal; thanks to Bawumia. He led the introduction of e-zwich card, redenomination of the cedi, was part of the team for the negotiations on the millennium challenge compact, among others. So clearly, one could see that Bawumia uses his theoretical knowledge from academia to implement far-reaching practical solutions to everyday problems.
Now fast forward to when he was nominated and entered partisan politics and government. I am not sure any politician, individual and or civil society has scholarly criticized government policies and programmes as Bawumia has done so far. I am not sure any vice-presidential nominee and or presidential nominee has been able to speak scholarly and practically to a party or governments policies and programmes as a Bawumia does.
Ordinarily and per the Constitutional structure, the vice-president is basically at the beck and call of the president, being in the shadow yet if there has been a time that the country has witnessed a vice-president who has been trusted by his boss such that he has been given the nod to introduce and implement ‘innovative’ policies and programmes that has far-reaching benefits to the citizenry, I think it is Bawumia.
By Dr. Rhoda Naana Arthur
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