Former President, Goodluck Jonathan arrived Freetown on yesterday as leader of a team of observers to Sierra Leone’s presidential run-off polls scheduled to take place on 27th March, 2018.
Jonathan who is leading the Election Observation Mission of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) is carrying out the assignment in support of the effort for a peaceful and transparent election in Sierra Leone.
A statement by the ex-President’s spokesman Mr. Ikechukwu Eze said Jonathan also led EISA to the first round of the elections on March 7, 2018, where none of the candidates polled 55% of votes required to win a first round ballot.
It will be recalled that after observing the first round of the elections, Jonathan-led EISA had declared the process peaceful and credible, adding that they were “conducted substantially in line with sub-regional, continental and international standards.” In its interim report presented to the media on 9th March, EISA 2018 also observed that voter turnout was impressive while the conduct of polling personnel was professional. Jonathan who presented the report also appealed to the people of Sierra Leone and all stakeholders to remain calm until the final electoral processes were concluded.
The report said: “The EISA Election Observation Mission commends the people of Sierra Leone for turning out in large numbers to register their will on 7 March 2018. In the absence of an incumbent in the presidential race, the presidential election seems to be one of the most keenly contested in the post-civil war period.
“The EISA EOM notes the efforts of the different institutions to guarantee the integrity of the elections. On election day, voter turnout was impressive and the conduct of polling personnel was professional. There were technical glitches that necessitated the postponement of elections in 18 polling stations. Election day proceeded in a largely peaceful manner albeit with isolated incidents that were immediately addressed.
“The EISA EOM is of the view that the process up until the end of the first day of tallying has so far been conducted substantially in line with sub-regional, continental and international standards although there is room for improvement especially in the legal framework to further level the playing field.
Other observer groups which returned similar verdicts in their earlier presentations included Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Union (AU), The Commonwealth, Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA), European Union (EU), and The Carter Center (TCC).
In the run-off election slated for March 27, Samura Kamara, the candidate of the party of the outgoing President Ernest Bai Koroma’s, All People’s Congress (APC) will face off against Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s party (SLPP), who lost to Koroma in 2012.
Bio clinched 43.3 per cent of votes to Kamara’s 42.7 per cent in the first round of voting in an election contested by 16 Presidential candidates.