All roads lead this weekend to the Eastern Province headquarter city of Kenema where the majority of 642 certified delegates of the Sierra Leone People’s Party will in all certainly vote for Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio to once more lead the party into the 2018 national elections as he did in 2012.
The endorsement of Maada Bio as the SLPP standard bearer is made more certain by the refusal of two heavyweights – Engineer Andrew Keili and Lawyer Alpha Timbo - who would have posed the biggest challenge to Maada Bio’s hegemony bowing out of the race.
Engineer Keili who came third in the 2012 flag bearer race and lawyer Alpha Timbo have exempted themselves from the race because they feel dissatisfied that thorny issues affecting the unity and progress of the party that they have repeatedly pointed to have not been addressed by the national officers before taking the party into this weekend’s national delegates conference.
Dr Kandeh Yumkella who would have given Maada Bio a run for his money if he had stayed in the race also pulled out in early July sensing that there was no way he could unseat Maada Bio. With all his main challengers now out of the race, it is one hundred percent certain that Maada Bio who commands nationwide grassroots support in the party will return from the convention as the SLPP 2018 presidential flag bearer.
Meanwhile, reports intimate that Lawyer Alpha Timbo bowed out of the race in order to be named as Maada Bio’s running mate. It is further intimated that he will nominate Maada Bio at the convention.
However, divergent report reaching the Satellite press indicates that the conference may possibly not hold this weekend as one of party’s flagbearer aspirants, John Benjamin, dubbed as “ last man standing” is bracing up to institute court action against the party, seeking an injunction to put a stay on the convention if PPRC fails to adequately address his grievances. On the other hand, if PPRC rules in favor of JOB, the convention will automatically be postponed until the right thing is done prior to the convention, since JOB is not ready to toy with these issues. This action, according to JOB, is to ensure the right thing is done and the prescribed rules and regulations are followed to the letter before the delegation is held. It could be recalled that, JOB had earlier on challenged the legality of the present executive and the rules and regulations set out by this same executive for the conduct of such elections that forced a candidature of Le120M on the flagbearer elections.