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Brigadier Julius Maada Bio (rtd), Sierra Leone’s president-elect.
By Emmanuel Oloniruha
Sierra Leone’s opposition party’s candidate, Rtd Brig. Julius Maada Bio, has won the tense presidential run-off election.
Bio of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) defeated the Mr. Samura Wilson Kamara of the ruling All Peoples Congress.
According to the result announced by the Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday in Freetown, Bio received 1,319,406 votes representing 51.81 per cent of the total valid votes cast, 2,546,577, to defeat the candidate of the ruling party.
Kamara polled 1,227,171 votes, representing 48.19 per cent of the valid votes cast.
The Chairman of NEC, Mr. Mohamed Conteh, who announced the result, said that the national turn out in the election was 2,578,271 representing 81.11 registered voters, while 31,694 invalid votes were recorded.
“Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred on me as National Returning Officer by sections 52(2) and 94(4) of the Public Elections Act, 2012 (Act No 4 of 20l2), I hereby certify that Bio Julius Manda having polled 1,319,406 of the valid votes cast in the March 31 Presidential election run-off has been duly elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
“Any citizen of Sierra Leone who has lawfully voted in this election may challenge the validity of the said election of the President by petition to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, within seven days after the declaration of Presidential result pursuant to section 55(1) of the Public Elections Act, 2012 (Act No. 4 of 2012),” Conteh said.
Bio is to take office as Sierra Leone’s 5th President having won the run-off election with more than 92,000 vote margin against his APC counterpart.
Bio would replace President Ernest Bai Koroma of APC, who has completed his two terms of five years each.
Under Sierra Leone’s constitution, a winning candidate is sworn in once the Chief Electoral Officer certifies the results of the election, followed by official inauguration later.
Fourteen political parties participated in the first ballot which was conducted on March 7, where no candidate secured the mandatory 55 per cent of the total valid votes cast.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bio led the final result of the first ballot with 1,097, 482 votes, making 43.3 per cent of the 2, 537,122 valid votes cast in the polls.
Kamara of APC at the first ballot came a close second with 1,082, 748 votes, representing 42.7 per cent of the total votes cast.
The run-off election became necessary since none of the candidates was able to get 51 per cent of the total votes cast, as provided by the country’s constitution (NAN)