African leaders have congratulated opposition candidate and former military junta leader Julius Maada Bio who was sworn in as Sierra Leone’s new president late on Wednesday.
The elections commission had announced his victory in a tight run-off poll just hours earlier. He had himself declared victory, even before the official announcement. The presidential election run-off took place on March 31.
Congratulatory messages began to poor in on Wednesday and Thursday. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari congratulated him and commended the people of Sierra Leone “on the successful conduct of the presidential election run-off as well as the parliamentary and local council elections held on March 7, 2018”.
President Buhari urged all stakeholders in Sierra Leone to work together for the peace, security and development of the country, according to a statement.
He enjoined all those with grievances over the outcome of the elections to seek constitutional means of resolving them, stressing that nothing should be done to endanger the peace and stability of the country in particular and the sub-region in general.
The Nigerian leader saluted the resilient spirit of Sierra Leoneans, who have clearly demonstrated their ability to manage their own affairs and consolidate on the country’s progress after a post-conflict era. Other African leaders sent similar messages.
According to Reuters, Bio “now faces the difficult task of rebuilding the impoverished West African nation’s economy that was dragged down by the world’s deadliest Ebola epidemic and a global slump in commodity prices”.
Under the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Maada Bio won 51.81 percent of votes cast in the March 31 poll, according to results announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on Wednesday. The former foreign affairs minister and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara, garnered 48.19 percent of the votes cast.