By Titus Boye-Thompson :
In politics as in every sphere of life there should come a time when wiser heads should prevail and the good of mankind be allowed to rise above the aggrandizement of an individual. When the erstwhile Flag Bearer of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party came to the decision to abandon his wanton objections to the election results announced by the National Electoral Commissioner Christiana Thorpe, his position was marginally improved and a sigh of relief can be heard especially in the Diaspora where the goading of secession or foreboding of civil unrest were to be heard the loudest.
Retired Brigadier Maada Bio was fighting a losing battle because the preponderance of the assessment of the elections from all quarters was that this was a manifestly free, reasonably fair and guardedly transparent process that gave rise to an outright winner been declared. The verdict was overwhelming that given local conditions, the interplay between politics and society within an African setting and also having regard to the concerns raised by advantages of incumbency to which full advantage was taken by the ruling APC Party, it was unanimously agreed that under the circumstances, all parties should accept the results and work together to continue the task of building a secure and prosperous nation.
That the SLPP Party vehemently opposed the results and the call that the All Peoples Congress has emphatically won the polls was not entirely unexpected, even though their stance in articulating that position was verbose in its entirety. The Party sought to raise issues with a process to which all parties have signed a memorandum of understanding stating clearly the likely breaches that would constitute a diversion from the expected norms or otherwise require a wholesale rejection of the results. For one thing, the Government supported the NEC to restrain travel on polling day to such an extent that the usual fighting and wanton lawless that would have erupted at polling stations during and after voting did not occur. The elections therefore were conducted in an environment free from intimidation and violence.
In the event that the voting patterns clearly followed regional lines was also not an unexpected phenomenon but it is a mark of the superior campaign strategy unleashed by the APC that it managed to raise its percentages from all the Southern regions formerly considered the strongholds of the SLPP, won seats and even took the scalp of a formidable parliamentarian from one of such strongholds in Kailahun. In addition, the resilience of President Koroma in crisscrossing the Country on such breath-taking schedules that often times leaving scarred souls exasperated in awe as the World’s best in political leadership touched the hearts and minds of the people. Little wonder then that this election validated his mandate for a second term without as much as a second round.
Given such voracious display of political maturity, it is to be expected that the President will have arms extended to welcome and embrace Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio as a beaten but worthy adversary. Make no mistake, President Ernest Bai Koroma was the last person who considered that because “ampa an poang,” was being widely accepted as fact should not be translated to mean that there was no reason for a robust campaign. He drove himself to the utmost, making his promise to the people of Sierra Leone and taking the elections to the backyard of the opposition, simply because he recognizes that elections are a battle to the very end and in the event, he may be guilty of killing a fly with a sledgehammer here, but in the end, his zeal and fortitude paid off. To commit to such a campaign and to execute it on such a punishing schedule says a lot about his drive and vision to do more for this Nation and his commitment to completing the work that he had started in his first term of office.
It is for this reason that Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and his cohorts ought to succumb to the words of God fearing elders in our Nation, men and women of substance who come together as the “body of Christ” to take this Nation forwards by averting bloodshed and carnage. As a colleague of mine would be apt to say, “good reasons must of force give way to better.” The SLPP have no realistic chance of winning an appeal that would overturn the elevation of the incumbent President to a second term in office. The SLPP have no reasonable argument that would convince any assessment or otherwise pass the level of scrutiny to counter the overwhelming verdict supporting the elections as free fair and devoid of intimidation or violence as ascribed by local and international observers. The SLPP have no realistic chance to cause an upset in a court of law with legal arguments of such efficacy that the decision of the National Electoral Commissioner would be subject to approbation.
In essence, the SLPP does have a right to object to the conduct of the polls and where they have evidence of wrong doing, they should follow the established paths to redress as guaranteed by the Constitution. Having said that, the SLPP were misadvised to have taken such a militant stance in the aftermath of the announcement of the APC and President Bai Koroma’s win. It is good however, as wise heads have prevailed on them, more particularly, the leadership of the SLPP, for them to have summoned the courage to make their way to State House to pay homage to the President, accepting his tenure and success at the polls and thus confirming his legitimacy as the duly elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, mandated by the people for a further five year term in office.
As a mark of respect, we salute Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio for his fortitude, albeit spurred on by the fear of God and the decision to succumb in the interest of peace and security of Sierra Leone. This is a good sign that with the passage of time, this Country will have an opportunity to really and truly assess the man for what he is. Nonetheless, for all intents and purposes, he may turn out to have the potential of being a good chap all round but for the fact that he has so much baggage that he could not expatiate on during his campaign. In any event, Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio has demonstrated that he is ready to join the ranks of civilized Sierra Leoneans and it should not be unexpected to witness President Koroma, in his usual magnanimity, welcoming the input of the opposition SLPP in the spirit of national cohesion, as he steers the ship of state towards prosperity. Long live the Nation State of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Long live those who aim to see it prosper and Long live President Ernest Bai Koroma