January 29, 2018 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) last Friday completed nomination of aspirants for the March 7 elections. No fewer than sixteen presidential candidates have secured provisional certificates to go head-to-head, out of seventeen registered political parties; the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) didn’t go through the presidential nomination as a result of leadership struggle within the party.
In all, there are six female candidates in the race, two of whom are presidential candidates while four are running mates to male candidates.
At the close of the 10-day exercise, Returning Officer and Chief Electoral Commissioner N’fah Alie Conteh told newsmen at their headquarters Friday that, nomination has officially closed and political campaigning would start on February 2 after parties would have balloted for the stipulated days.
He said the commission has only given out provisional nomination certificates to candidates that would contest the March 7 elections, and that members of the public are at liberty to raise objections to the nomination of any candidate.
He said appeals on presidential objections are filed in the Supreme Court while objections against parliamentary candidates are filed in the High Court.
He reiterated NEC’s commitment to conducting free, fair and credible elections, but said they would need the cooperation of political parties, security forces, National Elections Watch, the media and everyone.
“We are committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections. But we need the support of everybody,” he said.
The presidential and parliamentary nominations were conducted simultaneously whilst the mayoral and local council’s nominations ended earlier this month.
At the nomination centre, candidates presented themselves at the reception desk where their documents are scrutinised and nomination fees paid before moving on to the scrutiny officer who double-checked the voter cards of the candidate, their nominees and witnesses before taking them to the Returning Officer, who also browsed the documents to ascertain their veracity before sending it to the data entry officer to input the information and take the candidate’s photograph that would appear on the ballot papers.
The Sierra Leone Peoples Party, National Grand Coalition, Citizens Democratic Party, Coalition for Change, Peoples Liberation Party and five others completed their nominations before Friday.
On the final day of the nomination process last Friday, six political parties, including the ruling All Peoples Party, sailed through.
The following are what each presidential candidate said: