Abuja — Sierra Leonean President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma made history recently when he unveiled his prospective replacement and the flag-bearer of the governing All Peoples Congress (APC) in Abuja, Nigeria.
President Koroma said that he resolved to unveil the APC candidate to Nigerians in order to demonstrate his unalloyed respect and love, adding that the bilateral relations between the two countries are unprecedented.
The Chairman of the ruling APC declared Samura Kamara as the party's Presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. His running mate is parliamentarian Mohamed Chernor Bah.
Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara was born on the 30th of April 1951 in Kamalo, Bombali District. He is a development economist with background in diplomacy, macroeconomics, public finance, central banking and financial sector policy analysis and reforms.
He holds a Masters Degree (1980) and PhD (1986) from the University College of North Wales, Bangor. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone (1972).
Dr Samura worked in the Economic Affairs Department of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, first, as Senior Economics Officer in 1991-1994; and second, as Chief Programme Officer in 1998-2001. He was Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in 1994-1997, and 2001-2006 respectively.
In 2006-2007, he served as Alternate Executive Director for Africa Group I Constituency in the International Monetary Fund.
In 2008-2009, Dr. Kamara was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Sierra Leone and then became Sierra Leone's Minister of Finance and Economic Development in 2009-2012.
But in 2012, he was redeployed from the finance Ministry to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Sierra Leone as Minister - a job he holds till this day.
Dr Kamara played a key role in helping President Koroma to formulate his Agenda for Change in 2008, with the help and support of British Prime Minister - Tony Blair, and went on to become a good friend of Tony Blair.
It is believed that Dr. Samura Kamara will be an enigma to Sierra Leone's opposition during the electioneering campaign for the March 7, 2018 elections as they will have nothing to fault him with, because after serving three different governments and international institutions and organizations, Dr. Kamara has a record that is as clean as a whistle. He has never been named before nor has he ever been involved in any public misconduct or corruption. In fact, it was under him as Minister of Finance that Sierra Leone became the country with the second highest growing economy in the world.
Koroma came to power in 2007 under the aegis of the All People's Congress (APC), he won a second term in November 2012. The two main candidates aiming for Bai Koroma's seat are a minister and former junta leader turned politician.
The ruling APC has subsequently chosen the current Foreign Minister, Dr Samura Camara, as its candidate for the March 2018 polls. Koroma is on record to have said he is the man to win the elections for the APC in March.
Speaking to journalists during his unveiling in Abuja, the standard-bearer of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), Dr. Samura Kamara expressed confidence that the party would harp on its achievements to win the election.
Although there were some aggrieved members after the party's convention but It has been disclosed that other presidential aspirants have agreed to cooperate and work for the success of the party's during campaign and election.
In similar development, President Koroma said that the choice of Kamara was to ensure continuity, stability and progress, urging the party members on the need to support Kamara for successful conclusion and enhancement of the administration's agenda for change.
The President urged that the interest of APC must be the primary focus, saying, "It is not advisable for the ruling party to let go the growth efforts the country has pursued in the last decade, by allowing the opposition to take over power."
Insisting that an APC victory is victory for all, President Koroma said the choice of the party's standard-bearer would take the APC to victory and is also one that is generally accepted, saying Kamara's choice would ensure a continuation of the legacy of his (Koroma) administration.
Kamara is a respectable figure nationally and globally. He has successfully built a rich pedigree we are today proud of. His rise to becoming flag-bearer for the governing APC comes in with huge expectations but above all, with a promising future, firstly, for growth of the country and secondly, a strengthened party.
Another development that could better the ruling party's chances of retaining power in 2018 election, the opposition SLPP party, the oldest political entity in the country has recently been embroiled in a nasty battle that has seen some rival supporters killed and some attacked viciously and wounded.
According to media report, it's not surprising as this is always reminiscent of the SLPP, a party made up mostly of hoodlums and undemocratic officials who believe the only way to assume power is by violence and not by the ballot box.
And it seems the SLPP has not learned its lessons after being thrashed in the 2012 elections by the APC party of the current President Ernest Bai Koroma. The rivalry though has taken a new twist at the helm of the SLPP party as you now have more credible candidates vying for the flagbearership, but the backdrop of violence may potentially deprive them of any chance to clinch power in the coming elections.
Pundits have opined that the fact that the notorious coup plotter and former Junta leader, Julius Maada Bio's name is once more listed as a potential flagbearer, spells disaster for a party whose name has become synonymous with failure, corruption, and violence.
However, analysts have warned that the SLPP's lack of cohesiveness should not be taken for granted this time by the ruling APC.