Mahama’s journey to the topmost position in the country started in the mid-1990s when he won a seat in Parliament, but he is a man born into a political tradition.
His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja constituency. The Senior Mahama was also the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region in the First Republic under Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
To this end, John was always primed to take some leaves from his father’s book. And he did – with aplomb.
The Accra Newtown Experimental School (ANT1) was where Mahama had his primary education, before moving to Achimota School for his Junior High School education.
The 61-year-old then had his secondary school education at the Ghana Secondary School in Tamale, while later graduating with a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Ghana.
By 1988, a young Mahama had obtained a postgraduate degree from the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow in the Soviet Union, where he specialised in social psychology.
Mahama worked in various capacities after returning from Moscow, including serving as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan.
His first real foray into hardcore politics, however, came in 1996 when he was elected Member of Parliament for the Bole/Bamboi constituency.
A year later, under the Jerry John Rawlings administration, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. His rise in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was going faster than expected.
And by 1998, he was elevated to become the Minister of Communications. Mahama was Minister of Communications till 2001 when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) won power.
But he managed to retain his Parliamentary seat in Bole/Bamboi, extending his stay as a legislator for four more years. Fortunately, he was re-elected again in 2004 for a third term in Parliament.
During his time in Parliament, Mahama occupied several key roles both in the House and in the NDC. Between 2000 and 2004, he was the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for Communications.
He also rose to become the Director of Communications for the NDC in 2002, before being selected among a team of International Observers to monitor Zimbabwe’s Parliamentary Elections that same year.
It is also worthy to note that, in between all these, Mahama occupied other roles, becoming Chairman of the National Communications Authority, while he was also a founding member of the Ghana AIDS Commission.
The biggest role in his political career came in 2008 when he was chosen as the running mate of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills.
The NDC eventually won the 2008 elections and Mahama became Vice President of the country. However, the unfortunate demise of President Mills while in office led to Mahama being sworn in as President five months before the 2012 elections.
He was subsequently acclaimed as the NDC’s flagbearer for that year’s election and he beat the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo to substantively retain the Presidency.
In 20 years, Mahama had gone from a teacher to a communications specialist to a Member of Parliament to a President. However, his reign as President lasted for just four years, as he lost the 2016 presidential election to Akufo-Addo.
Mahama, though, is still active in politics and will be contesting the 2020 polls as the presidential candidate of the NDC.