Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: 'Results Reflect Will of the People'

After casting his vote amidst a jubilant and chaotic atmosphere at Femi Turner Drive, Goderich in the west-end of Freetown, incumbent president Ernest Bai Koroma told a curious crew of both national and international journalists, local and international observers and thousands of anxious party supporters that the elections results would reflect the will of Sierra Leoneans.

"I am happy that the elections are peaceful all over the country and that has brought credit to the country and the people as a whole. The election is a referendum and the result would reflect the will of the people," he said with confidence.

President Koroma was nearly mobbed by ecstatic party supporters who chanted, 'world best, world best', while approaching the polling booth.

"You have brought development to our country, so we need you to accomplish the work you have started," chanted the crowd of supporters.

Sounding a note of caution, President Koroma called on supporters to remain calm and return to their different homes after casting their votes.

Dressed in a white flowing gown designed with the country's green, white and blue flag at the front, President Koroma waved to his supporters beaming with smile as he entered his jeep and left the scene.

Throughout his five-year term, President Koroma - through his 'Agenda for Change' - has recorded some successes in various sectors including infrastructure, agriculture, energy and health.

As Freetown was classed as one of the darkest cities on the continent, his first priority after assuming power in 2007 was electricity. Though energy supply is still not consistent in the city and other parts of the country, the service has boosted Koroma's support particularly in the Western Area.

Thousands of women and children across the country also benefited from his free health care scheme, which some health monitors believe has helped save the lives of many infants, lactating mothers and pregnant women.

"I voted President Koroma because I now enjoy free health care under his regime. I underwent a caesarean operation without paying a single cent. Therefore it would be ungrateful on my part to have voted against him," remarked a young mother after casting her ballot on Saturday in the same center the president voted.

According to preliminary provisional results from Saturday's polls, President Koroma seems to be heading for a second term though some political analysts believe it is too early to suggest the polls will not go to a runoff.

According to the APC campaign team, indications they are getting from polling stations across the country are that President Koroma is having a commanding lead over his challenger, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, and that the likelihood of a runoff does not exist.

However, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) - which is constitutionally mandated to officially announce the results of the November 17 elections - said they are still in the process of collating the results and will come out with the final outcome within 10 days after the close of polls.

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