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As SLPP Standard Bearer Election Postponed…

JOB Defends Action ‘to put an end to dictatorship’

 September 14, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai

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John Oponjo Benjamin says his motive is to put an end to dictatorship

Standard bearer aspirant for the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB), has told Concord Times that his decision to lodge a complaint against the party at the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) was “to put an end to dictatorship.”

JOB, as he is affectionately known to his supporters, had threatened to go to court if the current national officers went ahead with conducting election for the party’s standard bearer in the March 2018 presidential election.

He was speaking in a telephone interview with our reporter yesterday.

The SLPP were far gone with preparations to hold their national delegates’ conference in Kenema on 15, 16 and 17 September 2017, but Mr. Benjamin had argued that the tenure of the current national officers of the party expired two years ago, thus making them ineligible to oversee the process of electing a standard bearer of the party.

“The national executives have no authority to conduct an election for the flag-bearer of the party. Now that the PPRC has taken such decision, we would now go to Kenema and elect national officers, after which, they would have the mandate to oversee the election of a flagbearer of the party,” said the erstwhile chairman of the opposition party.

JOB had earlier refused to register to participate in the standard bearer race against the deadline of 5th September, 2017, but he yesterday told Concord Times that he now felt satisfied and willing to pay the stipulated Le120 million as candidature fee ahead of election, slated for October 6th and 7th, 2017.

“SLPP is our party and we only wanted to do things correctly and properly. We had also wanted people to realise that this is not their private party. They shouldn’t do things like they wanted but to go through the stipulated procedures,” he said, apparently referring to his bitter rival, Julius Maada Bio.

He emphasised that the party’s national officers should work in accordance with rules and regulations and not the whims of certain persons.