In his well articulated speech, he also revealed that the APC would have no problem in his government as in his words “when I become president even APC members will be encouraged.”
Well, those were what our former party chairman, inter alia, told his audience in Segbwema, his birth place on the occasion of his declaration. Among the other eligibility criteria he banked on include his entrepreneurship, his past services and positions held in the SLPP as well as national contribution in governance under the SLPP.
However, the focus of this piece is on the ALLIANCE that JOB, as he is fondly called, is using to bring himself to the fore front of the flag bearer race. The ALLIANCE itself has a sinister purpose and as I posted a week or so earlier, it “smacks of villainy.”
The denotative meaning of ALLIANCE is “coming together for a common purpose.” But worthy of note is that an alliance cannot be formed within a political party that already has common interest to protect; and with a task to fight a common cause-the fight to State House.
Logically therefore, there is no common cause rather than coming together entirely as a party to regain that State House; and hence, the common enemy in that fight is not found within the SLPP membership but rather without, in the governance system of the APC.
According to Mr Benjamin, the ALLIANCE is composed of eleven other party stalwarts who also have intention to bid for the flag bearer position of the party. They have been having series of meetings at the Kona Lodge, in the west end of Freetown.
Though he fell short of disclosing that the ALLIANCE is against the candidacy of somebody, the marked absence of the leading flag bearer aspirant, Rtd, Brig. Julius Maada Bio, who also contested the 2012 presidential elections against incumbent Ernest Bai Koroma from the ALLIANCE confirms that Mr. Johm Oponjo Benjamin and others are treading on a faux pas, with no genuine claim to the `unity and discipline to be restored in the party` the ALLIANCE is feigning. To put it plain, except for the myopia, it is an ANTI-BIO ALLIANCE.
Mr. John Benjamin served two terms as SLPP`s National Chairman and Leader (2009-2013). During his tenure, he craftily caused to be inserted into the party Constitution the additional title of LEADER. His superficial reason was that as CHAIRMAN AND LEADER, he was automatically the `whole` at the helm.
By this, he made it to be endorsed by the party`s National Executive Council (NEC) that any National Officer of the party who had intention to vie for the position of flag bearer of the party in 2011 should resign his or her position six months ahead.
This brought about the resignation of Dr. Kadi Sesay, the then Deputy Chairman and Leader; Hon Alpha Osman Timbo as Deputy National Secretary General and Dr. Alpha Wurie, Chairman North, among others who all lost to Maada Bio.
But soon, just after that flag bearer election, Chairman and Leader downplayed the magnanimity of his responsibility as the `father` of the party. He allowed to be haunted by the pre-election accusation that he was personally favouring a particular candidate in that race instead of remaining neutral as per his position.
The rumour that he was favouring Mr. Usman Boie Kamara but could not protect him on the D-day either, became one of the reasons for the latter`s disaffection that led to his defection to the APC.
To deepen the suspicion that he did not favour the candidacy of Maada Bio, the Chairman and Leader, who was supposed to be very active in the national campaign to ensure winning for the SLPP in 2012, had a lacklustre approach to campaign trails.
In fact one could sense from those close to him (through their actions, comments and utterances) that Maada was certainly a bad choice to them. Even his handling of the 2012 elections petition matter was another testament. The beefing is said to have been born in their days in the NPRC and nurtured over the years.
So ironically for JOB and his flock, not caring whether Maada won the 2012 elections was probably a way to get back at him. (a simple unsuspected vendetta)?
So the most audacious is to see Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, who had `become father` of the party and who is now supposed to serve as one of its advisers, circumventing to enter the race.
Another suspicious action of the then Chairman and Leader was his failure to ensure that the flagbearer chose the appropriate running mate. Even though the 1995 Constitution of the SLPP gives authority to the flag bearer-elect to choose a running mate, it is clear that he must do it in consultation with the National Executive to which John Benjamin was Chairman and Leader!
It is therefore betraying to have heard from the former chairman and leader in some of his recent campaign utterances that `Maada did not make a good choice in Dr. Kadi Sesay.`
He said Kadi Sesay is not a politician and commands no constituency. Why was the flag bearer not sufficiently guided by the leadership in choosing a running mate if it was not failure for Maada that JOB wanted? Also Maada Bio made few other leadership blunders against which he should have been guided if the leadership did not want failure for him. (more on that later)
Hence to conclude this piece, it is no mistaking that the formation of the SLPP ALLIANCE is a vendetta spree orchestrated by JOB. There is nothing Eastern about his campaign, only his personal vendetta pursuit. We the easterners have not clamoured for a `paopa` eastern leader for the SLPP.
John Benjamin and his cousin (Dr. John Karimu) have held senior positions in their lives but their fabulous earnings and enviable positions have never positively impacted on the people of the east. They cannot now use the east as a cloak to conceal their game plan.
As far as am concerned, it is winning for the SLPP that matters. It evaded us in 2012 because of the actions or inactions of the then party leadership.
There are many more decent people in the race in addition to Maada so what is important is galvanizing behind whoever God chooses to lead the party in the next elections. Collective resource mobilisation: moral, financial, material and logistical are all what the SLPP needs to win elections; especially when the very ALLIANCE is divisive within.