Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) presidential front-runner, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio's last campaign rally call that "State House is not a classroom for repeaters" may have failed to receive the endorsement of Sierra Leoneans as provisional results currently being released by the Independent Radio Network (IRN) - if anything to go by - put incumbent president, Ernest Bai Koroma in a commanding lead.
Some political analysts monitoring the results as they pour out predict a first ballot victory for Koroma, but this cannot be officially confirmed with the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
A member of the All People's Congress (APC) campaign team, speaking on condition of anonymity, yesterday told Concord Times that "it is just a matter of time for the opposition to accept that they have lost the contest". He said the APC is going to win all 21 parliamentary seats including those of council and the mayoral and chairman positions in Western Area Urban and Rural.
"I can assure you that we've already won all seats in the Western Area," he claimed as he expressed optimism that his party will poach some seats in the SLPP strongholds of Kenema and Kailahun districts. "Kono is now in our firm grips, not to talk of the North where every single seat has been won."
Efforts to get the comments of the SLPP on the APC's proclaimed victory in the polls proved abortive as none of the party's executive members could answer to our persistent calls.
However, NEC said it is the only body mandated by law to certify and pronounce the elections results. Its Chairperson Dr. Christiana Thorpe, moreover, commended IRN for announcing provisional results to the anxious public.
From our observation of the process, with the results now trickling in, it appears the two front-runners - the APC's Koroma and SLPP's Bio - have made huge gains in their respective parties' strongholds but with the former putting up an impressive showing in the latter's backyard. Kono, which fell to the SLPP in 2007, has apparently been swept by the governing party with unofficial results provided by the APC indicate it has won all eight parliamentary seats in the district.
The APC has also claimed to have won three parliamentary seats in the East - two in Kailahun and one in Kenema, and retained its seat in Moyamba.
The North has shown no mercy to the SLPP as all 39 seats - nine in Bombali, six in Kambia, six in Koinadugu, 10 in Port Loko and eight in Tonkolili districts - are reported to have been won by the APC. In all, the APC said they are confident of winning at least 71 seats but this cannot be officially verified.
On the other hand, the SLPP is reported to have won all parliamentary and local council seats in Bo, Bonthe and Pujehun districts; and winning most of the seats in Kenema, Kailahun and Moyamba districts.
On a sad note for the SLPP, its publicity secretary, Musa Tamba Samba, is reported to have lost his Constituency 03 seat in Kailahun to his APC rival. Efforts to reach Hon. Sam for his reaction also proved unsuccessful.
More details from our provincial correspondents on the outcome of the November 17 polls will be published in our subsequent editions.