John Dramani Mahama pronunciation (help·info) (/məˈhɑːmə/; born 29 November 1958) is a Ghanaian politician who served as President of Ghana from 24 July 2012 to 7 January 2017. He previously served as Vice President of Ghana from 2009 to 2012, and took office as President on 24 July 2012 following the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills. A communication expert, historian, and writer, Mahama was a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2009 and Minister of Communications from 1998 to 2001. He is a member of the National Democratic Congress.
Mahama is the first vice president to have ascended to the presidency due to the death of his predecessor, John Atta Mills, all on the back of rave conspiracy theories. He was elected to serve a full term as President in the December 2012 election. He ran for re-election to a second full term in the 2016 election, but was defeated in the first round by New Patriotic Party candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, whom he had defeated four years prior. This makes him the first president in the history of Ghana to not have won a second term.
A member of the Gonja ethnic group, he hails from Bole in the Northern region. Mahama was born in Damongo in the Damango-Daboya constituency of Northern region into a political tradition dating back to the country's First Republic. His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, a wealthy rice farmer and teacher, was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during the First Republic under Ghana's first president, Kwame Nkrumah. Mahama's father also served as a senior presidential advisor during Ghana's Third Republic under Hilla Limann.
Mahama had his early education at Achimota School and then proceeded to Ghana Secondary School (Tamale, Northern region) and the University of Ghana, Legon, receiving a bachelor's degree in history in 1981 and a postgraduate diploma in communication studies in 1986. As a student, he was a member of Commonwealth Hall (Legon). He also studied at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscowin the Soviet Union, specializing in social psychology; he obtained a postgraduate degree in 1988.