March 21, 2018 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Dr. Habiss Ibrahim Ugbada, has urged Sierra Leoneans to maintain peace in the country during the presidential run-off elections scheduled for March 27.
The post-conflict country has experienced sporadic political violence following the announcement of the final results of the March 7 presidential election which saw the candidate for the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, Rtired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio leading his nearest challenger, the ruling All Peoples Congress aspirant, Dr. Samura Kamara by over 14,000 votes.
While reading a press release in his office at the Nigeria High Commission’s Chancery Building in Freetown, Dr. Ugbada called on the government and the good people of Sierra Leone to embrace the path of peace, especially in this historic period when the country would be going into the run-off election on March 27.
The Nigeria envoy said Sierra Leoneans must not forget in a hurry the destruction caused by eleven years of civil conflict, which was largely premised on political intolerance and tribal sentiments, an-ill wind that blew no good in the life of the nation.
He noted that the country has passed through many challenges within its short life span, and that people must not also forget the Ebola virus pandemic and the recent mudslide disaster of August 14 2017 that caused loss of lives and properties.
He observed that the people of Sierra Leone were known for their tenacity and dexterity in overcoming situations and making the best out of tough times, and that despite all the numerous challenges the government and people of Sierra Leone have demonstrated great will to put behind them the past and forge ahead with the task of nation building.
“The assertion is evident and chronicled in the March 7 2018 presidential, parliamentary, Chairperson/ Mayor and councilor elections, where it is widely judged by the international community as free, fair, transparent and credible. An election conducted in a peaceful and calm atmosphere, I may therefore, seize this opportunity on behalf of the government to salute the courage, strong will of the good people of this great nation Sierra Leone,” he said.
Dr. Ugbada said that it was against that backdrop that he urged all to desist from any act that would result to violence and avoid the use of hate speech, adding that election should not be a do-or-die affair and that Sierra Leone is greater than any individual or group of persons.
He noted that the run-off election, scheduled for March 27, would be another opportunity for the citizens of Sierra Leone to write their name in gold by voting peacefully the candidate of their choice and accepting the eventual winner.
The Nigerian High Commissioner concluded that if for any reason(s) one political party does not agree with the outcome of the result, that party should seek legal redress and not to take the law into their hands, adding that he has no doubt in his mind that the people of Sierra Leone will make Africa and the world at large proud come March 27.